Celebrity Sex Tapes: A Brief History
This morning, "Grey's Anatomy's" Eric Dane ("McSteamy") and his wife -- one-time Noxzema model Rebecca Gayheart -- became the latest to join the celebrity sex tape club. Though, to be precise, theirs is more of a nudie fest made a bit more interesting by the inclusion of former beauty queen (and "Celebrity Rehab"-ber) Kari Ann Peniche.
Even though it's banal, the footage is definitely NSFW, so here's a recap:
A nude McSteamy and sometimes costumed, sometimes nude Gayheart and Peniche loll around what appears to be a cluttered bed discussing their porn names (Dane tries out "just Peter" before going with "Cocaine Manor.") and a mutual admiration of cowboys and being "very high" (maybe they're on the top floor of a skyscraper?). Then, the action -- if it can be called that -- moves to the bathtub where Gayheart holds forth on her drug policy. ("I'm not a huge fan ... but this is kind of fun.") Things wrap up with Peniche describing how she once "drowned-ed" a couple of unlucky rubber duckies.
I guess you had to be there.
The footage is only the latest in a growing back catalog of celebrity sex tapes. Why can't celebs get freaky without a camera rolling? Have years of finding approval in front of a lens made it impossible for them to, ahem, perform without an implied audience? Are they that obsessed with the instant replay? Is it a case of simple hubris or, even more basic, stupidity? The reasons are myriad.
And, depending on where a star falls on the celebrity continuum, so are the consequences. A sex tape can be an embarrassing career setback (Rob Lowe), spawn criminal charges (R. Kelly) or boost one to stardom (Paris Hilton). Below, a brief timeline of recent celebrity sex tape releases:
1998: Pam Anderson and Tommy Lee: The grandmammy and grandpappy of sex tapers captured their honeymoon lovemaking on film. The couple won $1.5 million in damages, but were unable to stop its distribution.
2002: R. Kelly: A tape allegedly showing Kelly (no relation) having sex with an underage girl led to a child pornography trial. After six years, Kelly was eventually acquitted of all charges.
2003: Paris Hilton and Rick Salomon: "1 Night in Paris," from which Hilton now receives profits, catapulted the deceivingly dippy socialite from obscurity to the crest of the reality TV wave.
2005: Pam Anderson and Bret Michaels: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice... Apparently pre-dating the Tommy Lee Romp, this four-minute video surfaced in 2005.
2006: Dustin "Screech" Diamond: The one-time "Saved by the Bell" co-star self-released a 40-minute tape that made the "Dirty Sanchez" (don't ask) famous, but didn't do much to revive Diamond's flatlining career.
2007: Kim Kardashian and Ray-J: Although Kardashian said she was "hurt and embarrassed" by the footage, it likely contributed to E!'s continued success with reality show "Keeping Up with the Kardashians."
2008: Verne Troyer: The diminutive actor, famed for his role as Mini-Me in the "Austin Powers" movies, was able to arrive at a settlement with distributor SugarDVD after successfully having a portion of the footage removed from TMZ.com.
| August 18, 2009; 10:28 AM ET
Categories: Celebrities, Celebritology 101
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