Mother F--ker

08.23.12

Stormy Daniels on Being a Porn-Star Mom

Just because you’re an adult-film actress doesn’t mean you can’t be a terrific mom. Stormy Daniels talks about juggling career and family with The Daily Beast’s Kristin Battista-Frazee.

Remember as a little kid, when a hug from Mom made everything better? And the fear and sadness you felt when your mother was angry or disappointed with you? Mothers are a powerful influence in our lives and responsible for raising thriving, well-adjusted human beings. We have created a romanticized image that mothers are supposed to be sexless and epitomize the perfect homemaker. So when we hear about a porn star who is a mom, it shatters our expectations, and many draw conclusions that these moms can’t be good parents.

For the past 10 years, Stormy Daniels has been one of the most sought-after actresses in the adult industry. She’s an Adult Video News award winner and contract star for Wicked Pictures, who also writes and directs her films. She’s had mainstream success, too, with small parts in The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and Finding Bliss. Daniels is beautiful, and has a successful career. But she says that to make her life complete she wanted what so many other women have: she wanted to become a mom.

At first, she and boyfriend Glendon Crain, drummer and part-time Wicked Pictures editor and adult star, didn’t think they would ever have children. But something changed for Daniels after just a couple of months of dating Crain; she realized she’d met the right guy.

Daniels and Crain carefully planned when they would become parents and didn’t conceive by accident. The 33-year-old Daniels says, “I had to work really hard and prepare a lot to have a baby because I’m not like a normal mom. I can’t work while I’m pregnant. I did two years of work in one year.” Wicked Pictures provided Daniels the extended time off for maternity leave and made it possible for her to return to work when she was ready. Daniels’s fans have been supportive of her becoming a mom: sometimes they bring her gifts at appearances, things for the baby from Toys-R-Us or Starbucks gift cards for the parents. The latter helps Daniels cope with the sleepless nights all moms with a toddler experience.

But there’s a dark side—and others have not been as kind as her fans. Daniels has had to contend with some ugly criticism. She kept her pregnancy a secret to avoid negativity, but hateful personal attacks surfaced against her and her newborn child when someone congratulated her on Twitter after the birth of her daughter, who is now 19 months old. The underlying message: Daniels was undeserving to be a mother because of her adult career.

When I asked Daniels why people would react so harshly, there was no easy answer. Daniels said, “It’s just all the negativity towards the adult industry in general, or people’s fear,” she says.

Just like the discrimination same-sex couples raising children face, moms who work in the adult industry are thought to be incapable of nurturing healthy children and imparting good values because their lifestyles and careers are perceived to be immoral. A caricature of the porn-star mom persists. People might imagine the Amber Waves character, played by Julianne Moore, in the movie Boogie Nights. Amber is a coked-out, troubled adult actress of the 1980s portrayed as an unfit mother because of her career. But in reality, just because a mom has worked or currently works in the adult industry, it doesn’t mean she can’t be a good parent.

Since their daughter’s birth, Daniels and Crain’s life has become like that of many typical families. “No one would ever know that we have this whole other existence together,” Daniels says. “We have this smart, amazing, beautiful daughter that is awesome. The three of us go to Gymboree class for music. He (Crain) is great with our daughter because he has no problems doing anything with her that I do. He will take her to the bathroom in a restaurant and change a dirty diaper.” Daniels describes a typical day at home like this: “We get up and watch Sesame Street every morning. I make her breakfast, and we hang out and are goofy for a while. Then we go out and run errands. I try to do something fun with her every day. I just consider myself to be especially blessed, and people who knock porn, well, it affords me to be with my daughter.” 

For anyone, balancing career and family is always a challenge, and Daniels says she is grateful Wicked Pictures offers her a flexible work schedule that makes spending a lot of time with her daughter possible. She works four very long days each month filming and also makes club appearances across the country. Daniels arranges her schedule around Crain’s show dates so he can care for their daughter when she’s working.

When the time is right, Daniels intends to be honest with her daughter about her career. She’s adamant about preparing her for the negative backlash she might experience from people opposed to the adult industry. “I’ll tell her Mommy has a job that some people don’t approve of, but Mommy’s proud of it and it’s for adults,” she says. Yet she also thinks it’s important to describe her career to her daughter in a filtered, age-appropriate way. Just like how police officers, bartenders, and emergency-room doctors wouldn’t share all the details of their job with their children, Daniels believes that discussing the adult industry should be no different.

“I’ll tell her Mommy has a job that some people don’t approve of, but Mommy’s proud of it and it’s for adults,” Daniels says.

Although Daniels is comfortable with her career choices, she also describes being very aware of others’ prejudices. She doesn’t readily tell other moms who are not in the adult business what she does for a living. “I keep people at a distance because I don’t want them to find out what I do and then punish my daughter for it,” she says.  

She shares a cautionary tale from a friend of hers, who used to be in porn. “When her son was 6 years old, he came home from school crying because another little boy in his class was having a birthday party,” she says. “There were 30 kids in his class and the other mom came to school and gave out 29 cupcakes and 20 invitations to his skating party, and didn’t give him a cupcake and didn’t give him an invitation to the party. When he asked why, she said, ‘We don’t want people like you and your mother around. You’re bad people.’ 

“I’m so terrified that’s gonna happen, but at the same time, my daughter will be prepared…A woman who gives out 29 cupcakes and makes a child sit there is far worse than anything that I’ve ever done on camera.”

And what if her daughter wanted to go into the adult industry when she grows up? “I wouldn’t encourage it,” Daniels says. “It’s not because I would have a problem with what she was doing. My concern would be the way people would treat her. I just don’t want that for her.  It’s a lot to shoulder when you decide to be in this business. For every fan I have, there are 10 people who really think I should be dead.”

Daniels is not an anomaly in the adult industry, and when I asked if other adult actresses have children, Daniels says at least half do but fans just don’t know it.  She says veteran adult stars typically don’t share their mom status openly for safety reasons, and newcomers to the adult business think divulging that type of information might be a “turnoff” to their fans and would hurt their careers.

Just as every porn star has had a different path to their pornography career, so, too, has every porn-star mom had a different path to motherhood. Alana Evans and “Octomom” Nadya Suleman both adult stars, have a very different story than Daniels. They are single moms who were willing to do whatever it took to care of their kids, and used porn to get out of bad personal and financial situations. Evans pointed out in a recent interview with Dr. Drew that she’s a law-abiding citizen who pays taxes and has the flexibility to be there for her children. It’s reported that Suleman’s financial situation has greatly improved since signing with Wicked Pictures when, just a short time ago, she was nearly bankrupt. These seem to be parents trying to do the right thing, but yet they are still vilified because of their chosen profession.

While moms like Evans and Suleman embarked on a career in the adult industry to make ends meet, other stars, such as Jenna Jameson earned their money in the adult industry first and then retired to start a family. Other porn-star moms like Daniels, Savanna Samson and, Jesse Jane had children, still look great, and continued their careers. Whenever motherhood began for these adult actresses, they carved out a family life tending to homework, cooking meals, and taking their kids to soccer practice, just like any other mom.

So, if a woman is a porn star, can she be a good mom? Of course! And it’s unfortunate moms who work in the adult industry are thought to be a “lesser than” type of parent. They share the same everyday challenges of raising children as the rest of us. If we listen closely, we could all learn a good lesson about parenting from their experiences: to raise good kids, dedication and love wins in the end.