The Tragic Real-Life Story Of Jenna Jameson

Adult film star, actress, and mixed media entrepreneur Jenna Jameson made headlines recently when it was announced on social media that she was diagnosed with a rare disorder, and that she was no longer able to walk, as Page Six reports. After feeling unwell for weeks, Jameson checked into the hospital after falling on her way to the bathroom, according to her partner, Lior Bitton. "I would have to pick her up and carry her to bed. And then within two days, it got really not so good, her legs started to not hold her, she wasn't able to walk," he said (via Page Six).

From humble beginnings and a difficult childhood, Jameson grew to be one of the most successful people in her industry, both on camera and behind the scenes. Nevertheless, her personal struggles have continued. Born in 1974, she's been in the public arena since 1993, with an influence spreading beyond her niche appeal to mainstream media and popular culture. The real-life story of Jenna Jameson is one of tragedy but is also one of determined perseverance. In light of this, Jenna Jameson seems likely to overcome any obstacle she faces, now and in the future.

Her mother died from skin cancer

Born in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 1974, according to Biography, Jenna Jameson's real name is Jenna Marie Massoli. She was trained as a ballerina from a very young age and was successful in the child beauty pageant circuit. Tragedy came to Jameson early in her life, however. When she was almost 2 years old, her mother died from skin cancer. Burdened with medical bills, the Massoli family downsized their living arrangements, and her father, a local sheriff, was largely absent, working long hours to support his family.

It was during this tumultuous time that Jameson began experimenting with drugs and alcohol and eventually moving in with her boyfriend at a very young age. Jameson would go on to struggle with addiction issues for years. Another anecdote from Jameson's early life, however, reflects her tenacity and survival instincts. When at first she was turned down from a job dancing in Las Vegas because of her braces, she pulled them off with pliers and reapplied, using a fake ID. This time, she was hired. It was also during this period that she opted to change her name from Massoli to Jameson after the whiskey brand, per Biography.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Sexual assault and an eating disorder

Jenna Jameson's early struggles included not just substance use disorder and a chaotic home environment. Possibly spurred by a crystal meth addiction, Jameson stopped eating during her time spent working as a dancer in Las Vegas, developing an eating disorder. She lost so much weight, a concerned friend intervened, sending her to live with her father. Jameson was so unwell at this point that she was brought to the airport in a wheelchair, and when her dad picked her up, he could not recognize her, weighing less than 100 pounds, according to Psychiatry Online. Jameson's health would eventually recover.

Jameson's young life was also punctuated with several instances of sexual assault. Per Psychiatry Online, Jameson was twice assaulted sexually in high school. In the first case, several young boys allegedly perpetrated the attack, during which she was also beaten. The next man purportedly responsible for her second assault while she was still a teenager was the uncle of her then-boyfriend. Her boyfriend's uncle has since denied those accusations, per CNN.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

She had a miscarriage

Sadly, Jenna Jameson's experience with melanoma was not limited to the untimely death of her mother. In 2004, Jameson was also diagnosed with this form of cancer. As Us Magazine reports, a dermatologist noticed an irregularly shaped mole on Jameson's back (a possible indicator of cancer) during an appointment for a different issue. The blood test to determine whether the melanoma was in fact malignant also revealed that Jameson was two months pregnant. At the time, she was married to her second husband, adult film producer and director — and sometimes performer — Jay Grdina (pictured above), per Phoenix New Times.

One bright spot in this difficult period in Jenna Jameson's life is that she is now cancer free, according to Us Magazine. Nevertheless, Jameson miscarried shortly after her cancer diagnosis, as Us Magazine reports. Grdina and Jameson separated in 2006, and shortly thereafter, the actress reportedly began dating Jane's Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Dave Navarro, according to Star Magazine. Linked with several men in romantic relationships throughout her life, Jameson has been married twice and is currently engaged to Lior Bitton with whom she has a 4-year-old daughter, Batel Lu, according to The Sun.

Legal issues

As is often the case with many who are successful in the entertainment business, and especially a person with reported addiction issues like Jenna Jameson has experienced, legal troubles have followed the star throughout her life and career. Reportedly, domestic violence also followed Jameson into her adult life when boyfriend, mixed martial artist, Tito Ortiz (pictured above, with Jameson) was arrested following an alleged altercation between the couple in 2010, via CBS News.

In 2012, Jenna Jameson was arrested following a car accident, also in California. She later pleaded guilty to a DUI with a blood alcohol level over the state legal limit. In the aftermath, Jameson was sentenced to three years probation, ordered to pay fines, and collaborate with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, per New York Daily News. Professional legal challenges also arose for Jameson when in 2005 a legal dispute with her book publisher stalled plans for a reality show on the A&E Network, according to E! News.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

A rare autoimmune disorder

After extensive testing, the health conditions Jenna Jameson is currently experiencing in a Hawaiian hospital is reportedly Guillain-Barré syndrome, as Page Six reports. Via the CDC, Guillain-Barré syndrome occurs when a body's own immune system attacks nerves in the body, causing muscle weakness and paralysis, as Jameson is experiencing. According to the Mayo Clinic, the exact cause of the syndrome is unknown, although issues can arise following respiratory or digestive tract infections.

According to Bitton, Jameson had been vomiting "for two weeks" and reportedly sought treatment at a hospital but was sent home, reports Page Six. Ultimately though, when the couple returned home, the muscles in Jameson's legs were so weak she could no longer stand or walk properly, prompting the couple to return to the hospital for additional testing. This time, doctors were able to make a diagnosis, albeit a scary one.    

Extremely rare occurrences of Guillain-Barré syndrome have been reportedly linked to the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, as the FDA reports, but Jenna Jameson confirmed on her social media that she has not received any kind of vaccination. Per the CDC, most recover from Guillain-Barré syndrome, although it is sometimes fatal and some live with permanent nerve pain. Jenna Jameson is being treated with a high dose of immunoglobulin. "She's doing physical therapy to try and stand on her legs, but at the moment she cannot stand on her legs. They're starting the treatment, so they'll see how it goes. So keep praying," according to her partner, Lior Bitton (via Page Six).