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8 Porn Stars Who Made National News

Before Belle Knox, these adult movie actors and actresses made headlines

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It's been a busy couple of semesters for Duke University freshman/porn star Belle Knox, the subject of a new Rolling Stone profile. In January, classmate Thomas Bagley recognized Knox, 19, from her extracurricular work and allegedly spread word on campus, which quickly led to national media coverage on the adult-film newcomer. Since then, Knox has responded via open letters and high-profile television and radio appearances, both standing by her sideline gig and calling out the hypocrisy of her critics. The Spokane, Washington, native even drew the now-infamous vitriol of celebrity therapist Dr. Drew Pinsky.

Of course, Knox isn't the only XXX actor to find his or her name ripped from search-engine obscurity and splashed across sensational mainstream headlines. Here are eight other sex-industry performers whose adulterous affairs, custody battling, traumatic tell-alls, criminality and health scares made them, however briefly, household names. By Kenny Herzog

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Cameron Bay

The porn business continues to debate the use of condoms, in no small part because starlet (and one-time cast member of VH1 reality show Tool Academy) Cameron Bay announced that she had tested positive for HIV in 2013. Her boyfriend and fellow XXX performer Rod Daily also contracted the virus, and their diagnosis spread even further when rumors (which have since been denied) emerged that Anthony Weiner's online mistress, Sydney Leathers, shot a porn scene with the same co-star as Bay. Since Bay's revelation, she has become an outspoken advocate for STD prevention in adult films and for HIV and AIDS education.

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Belladonna

Michelle Sinclair, alias Belladonna, arrived on the L.A. porn scene at 18-years-old after growing up in a Mormon home in Utah. Her movies leaned toward sado-kink, and she quickly rose to prominence as a post-millenial porn star. Then, in 2004, she sat down with Diane Sawyer for an extensive ABC News Primetime interview after letting the network follow her around for two years. Belladonna broke down in front of Sawyer while relaying anecdotes of abuse and subsequent depression, which led to backlash from her peers but, ironically, assured her career ascension. She's now retired as a performer, but runs her own eponymous production company, Belladonna Entertainment.

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Bree Olson

Charlie Sheen has had innumerable porn-starlet hookups, starting with Nineties flame Ginger Lynn up through his stormy 2010 fling with Capri Anderson. But as one of Sheen's live-in "angels" during his 2011, barnstorming "tiger blood" exploits, small-town Indiana girl Bree Olson (born Rachel Oberlin) was thrown into the brightest spotlight. The former professional corn detassler got TV time with everyone from TMZ to ABC News during and after her scandalous union with Charlie. Alas, Bree left Sheen by mid-2011, ditched porn shortly thereafter and quickly used the recognition to land semi-legit Hollywood work in the upcoming horror sequel The Human Centipede III.

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John Holmes

Born in Ohio during World War II, John Holmes pursued porn after a stint in the Army. His legendary assets later inspired Mark Wahlberg's character (and iconic prosthetic-phallus shot) in 1997's Boogie Nights. Circa 1982, Holmes was also the prime suspect in a quadruple murder at a known L.A. drug den located at 8763 Wonderland Avenue. Holmes, a Wonderland regular, allegedly organized a robbery of wealthy dealer Eddie Nash's Laurel Canyon house (a scene also re-created with Alfred Molina for Nights). When Nash's thugs retaliated by breaking into the Wonderland address and bludgeoning four men to death, Nash was present and relatively unscathed (his ex-wife, Sharon Holmes, would later attest that Holmes confessed to luring the assailants there). Holmes was cleared of the murder rap in 1982, making news once more after passing away from AIDS-related complications in 1988.

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Joslyn James

Along with Devon James and Holly Sampson, XXX vet Joslyn James (real name: Veronica Siwik-Daniels) blew up back pages after coming out as Tiger Woods' alleged mistresses in 2009. But in 2010, James cemented her notoriety by releasing gratuitous text messages Woods reputedly sent her (mostly a lot of stuff about liking it rough), which led to the requisite Howard Stern Show appearance, among other media stops. The 36-year-old vixen still performs in skin flicks and recently joined up with Devon and Sampson for a gossip-spilling doc about Woods titled 3 Mistresses

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Janine Lindemulder

In 1999, Janine Lindemulder (known simply as Janine in pornography circles) gained exposure as the star of Blink-182's "What's My Age Again?" video and cover girl for its Enema of the State album. But a decade later, she became a nightly news topic while battling ex-husband Jesse James and his then-wife Sandra Bullock for custody of James and Lindemulder's daughter, Sunny (James won full custody). At the time, Lindemulder had just served six months of jail time for tax evasion, and she'd return behind bars after harassing James in 2011. Bullock and James split the following year, and Janine has since steered clear of the slammer.

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Traci Lords

In 1986, a tabloid frenzy built up around troubled 18-year-old Traci Lords (real name: Nora Kuzma). It had been revealed that all but one of the porn star's popular films was shot while she was underage, leading to a wave of arrests and prosecutions against agents and producers, in addition to clamorous news coverage by no less than the New York Times. Lords discussed her tumultuous teen years in a 2004 autobiography, but has otherwise successfully segued to mainstream work in TV (Roseanne, Melrose Place) and movies (Blade, Underworld), even poking fun at her infamy with a role as aging porn actress Bubbles in Kevin Smith's Zack and Miri Make a Porno.

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Linda Lovelace

Bronx-born Linda Boreman, aka Linda Lovelace, will forever be associated with the titular foreplay that made 1972's crossover porn comedy Deep Throat a sensation (and inspired both a theatrical documentary and fictional biopic). But she gained rival attention for crusading against the industry with her 1980 autobiography Ordeal, which alleged tales of abuse and ostensible sexual enslavement by her ex-husband/manager Chuck Traynor and others behind the scenes. Feminist leaders including Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon vocally supported Lovelace, who eventually embraced Christianity and occasionally opened up to the press about her trauma until dying in 2002 from injuries sustained in a car accident.

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