As we've pointed out time and time again, people have sex! And it's normal, and most of the time fun/great! And making a consensual sex tape in the privacy of one's own home is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, celebrities do it too. The difference is that theirs often get leaked, stolen, or sold without their consent, which is why there are *many* celebrity sex tapes lurking on the internet, none of which we will be linking to. But the stories of how they were released, why they were released, and how the celebs in question dealt with their release (or in some cases, lack thereof) is a fascinating chapter in pop culture.
Kim Kardashian and Ray J
Kim Kardashian is an accomplished business woman who's turned herself and her entire family into a brand. That fact exists separately from her sex tape. However, her career did jump-start from the tape she made with then-boyfriend Ray J in 2002 (which she acknowledges—we'll get to that in a minute). The video, known as Kim Kardashian, Superstar, was released by porn company Vivid Entertainment in 2007, and while Kim initially sued to stop said release, she settled for a rumored $5 million. The film itself is said to have made $100 million since debuting.
"It was a very difficult time, and ultimately we were able to come to an agreement," says Vivid's Steve Hirsch. "It was a very difficult deal to get done. Probably [the hardest deal we’ve done]. [Kim] did not want it to happen. I know people have speculated on [whether she planned the release of the tape from the beginning], but the facts are the facts. A lot of nonsense has been reported over the years."
Kim has talked openly about the tape, telling Oprah (in the clip above), "I think that's how I was definitely introduced to the world, so I like to think that I am, you know, aware, I'm not naive to that fact. That's pretty much how I was introduced to the world. It was a negative way. So I felt like I really had to work ten times harder to get people to see the real me. I felt humiliated."
Kim still gets so much sexist backlash for her tape, so let's all just take a minute to consider the circumstances here.
Colin Farrell and Nicole Narain
Colin Farrell dated Playboy model Nicole Narain in 2003, and recorded a 14-minute sex tape with her that is considered relatively infamous. The tape was released a few years after being made, and Colin sued—an ordeal that he says was horrifying: "I was deposed for four hours explaining why I didn’t want it to be released," he said. "God forbid, it’s an on-demand movie in a hotel room and my mother says, 'Oh, I haven’t seen this work of my son's,' and hits purchase."
Things got pretty complicated when Farrell accused Narain of—to quote People—"trying to distribute the tape through an intermediary," which she denied. Actually, she claimed to have lost work thanks to the tape. "I try not to let too many things get to me, but this is definitely stressful," she said in 2005, explaining that she did not consent to the tape's potential distribution. "I really would like my name to be cleared. I have nothing to do with this."
Weirdly, Farrell's lawyer Martin Singer claimed that Narain had the opportunity to "join with us in stopping the tape from being exploited…and she refused," so she was named codefendant along with David Hans Schmidt, the person attempting to sell the tape. Schmidt refused to tell People how he came to possess the tape during a 2005 interview, simply saying, "I have a written agreement that authorizes me to procure the sale and distribution of the -Nicole Narain sex video."
Farrell and Narain eventually settled their lawsuit, though the terms were confidential. In 2013, Farrell joked about the tape with Sharon Osbourne (see the video above), saying, "the worst thing about making a sex tape is you can't blame anyone for the bad dialogue."
Paris Hilton and Rick Salomon
Paris Hilton's sex tape debuted in 2003 and was not intended for release. The tape was filmed with poker player Rick Salomon, who kick-started a string of lawsuits by filing against the company that distributed the tape, as well as Paris' family, who he sued for $10 million—claiming (per EW) that they "falsely accused him of making the video without her consent."
The impact that this had on Hilton's public image cannot be overstated, and—like Kim Kardashian—she was the victim of slut-shaming as a result. "It's really hurtful, because my whole life I really looked up to Princess Diana, all these elegant, amazing women, and I feel like [Salomon] just took that all away from me," she told Marie Claire. "I could have been like that, but because of that tape, I will always be judged and thought of as whatever they say about me because of a private moment between my boyfriend and me.... I wish I had never met him. That is actually the one regret in my life. I wish that I had never met that guy. I could not leave my house for months. I was so depressed, humiliated. I didn't want to be seen in public."
Paris sued the company that distributed the tape for $30 million (this lawsuit was thrown out)—and in 2004, Salomon went ahead and made the decision to sell the tape himself to Red Light District Video, who named it One Night in Paris. The hotel heiress and reality star was reportedly given $400,000 and a percentage of profits during lawsuit settlements, which she's said to have donated to charity. Emphasis on "reportedly," because she told GQ: "I never received a dime from the video. It's just dirty money and [Salomon] should give it all to some charity for the sexually abused or something. To be honest, I don't even think about it any more."
Kanye West (and Maybe Kim Kardashian)
A Kanye West sex tape allegedly exists out there somewhere, but has not been leaked thus far. ET confirmed that an intimate video of the rapper was being shopped around in 2012—and we can't forget that in the song "Real Friends," he rapped the lyrics, "I had a cousin that stole my laptop that I was f*cking bitches on / Paid that n**** $250,000 just to get it from him."
The tape was described in depth while being shopped, and reportedly features an unknown woman stating that she is over the age of 18 at the beginning. Meanwhile, Kim Kardashian has implied that she and Kanye have made their own tape together, which sure, why not:
"My husband Kanye and I have an amazing sex life. So far as the sex tape is concerned, whether or not we’ve made another...if we have, it’s never something I want to go public. I never want to make the same mistake twice. You do these sorts of things with people you trust. When someone says to me, 'sex tape,' it’s a very private thing, not something I would ever want anyone else to see but me and Kanye.... I am married to an incredible man and let’s just say we do like to have fun. Have we made another? There’s nothing wrong with being adventurous, having fun and experimenting, but there’s definitely the right sort of person you should surround yourself with. Kanye and I have a very good sex life. What we do privately is private. I think let’s just leave it at that."
Jennifer Lopez and Ojani Noa
Jennifer Lopez allegedly made a private tape with her first husband Ojani Noa during their honeymoon. His attempt to release it has embroiled Lopez in a legal dispute that appears to be ongoing. Per The Daily Beast, Lopez and Noa's lawsuit over the tape spans years, and she initially claimed that its release would violate the confidentiality agreement he signed after their split. Apparently, J.Lo's team had a judge order that the tape be locked up in a safe-deposit box back in 2011, but the former couple were still disputing settlement terms in 2013, with Ojani's team asking for $3.75 million.
On a lighter note, Andy Cohen asked Lopez about whether or not she'd ever filmed a tape (watch above), and her face is priceless.
Carolyn Murphy and Jake Schroeder
Like so many of the women on this list, Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Carolyn Murphy had a sex tape she made with her ex-husband Jake Schroeder leak online sans consent. The tape was made in 1999, and Schroeder was accused of trying to sell it. He was reportedly arrested on extortion charges as a result—and get this: his bail was paid by Internet Commerce Group, the company working with him to market the sex tape. "Our position is that no crime has been committed," ICG lawyer David Gingras told Page Six. "You cannot commit extortion by offering to sell something you own."
Tonya Harding and Jeff Gillooly
Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding made a sex tape on her wedding night with her ex husband Jeff Gillooly, and—according to him—the pair made the decision to sell the tape together to Penthouse. They received $200,000 each as a result, plus royalties.
News of Chelsea Handler's sex tape being shopped around made headlines in 2010, but she confirmed that the tape itself was filmed as a joke, and is actually said to be cut with footage of her stand up. "The tape you have is an old tape that was done for a stand up comedy bit," she said during her talk show. "I would like to say to , thanks for ruining my surprise Christmas gift to my staff. Number two, it was made as a joke. I put it on an audition tape for a comedy club, because I'm a comedian, and I've been showing it at birthday parties for f*cking years!"
The tape didn't end up being released, and Chelsea brushed it off, saying "It was not a big deal to anyone I don't think. I mean, people were talking about it, but if they had shown it, people would see it was a joke, so I think that's why nobody actually saw it."
Eve and Stevie J
Rapper (and The Talk co-host!) Eve filmed a sex tape with her then-boyfriend Stevie J, which hit the internet in 2005. Stevie J denied leaking the tape, saying "I’m a pioneer. I made a tape and gave it to her and she took it on the road, on tour with her, and the rest was history. It wasn’t me, I didn’t leak that joint. I could’ve been leaked it. I gave it to her and one of her girlfriends leaked it, thank you very much. I don’t want my beefcake all in the street."
Meanwhile, Eve shut down rumors that the sex tape was leaked on purpose (ugh, what is up with this trend of accusing women of leaking their own sex tapes?): "When that happened, sex tapes weren't 'hot' like that, and I got the FBI involved," Eve said. "So that’s not something I wanted to happen…I respect my mother and my family and that’s not something I am okay with. And it hurt my heart that anyone who was in my circle—whether it be him [Stevie] or anybody else—it hurt my heart that that went out there. That wasn’t my thing."
Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee
Pamela Anderson and then-husband Tommy Lee's sex tape from their 1998 honeymoon ended up finding its way online during the early days of the internet after being stolen from their home by an electrician. Pamela sued the distribution company, but ended up settling, and the tape continued to be available online as a result. She's joked about the incident since, once saying during a standup set, "Did you see that Hulk Hogan got $115 million for his sex tape? That pissed me off! All I got were some stupid Mötley Crüe tickets."
Apparently, the tape made $77 million in less than 12 months—in legitimate sales alone.