Celebrity sex tapes: Where does all that money go?

Basically, did Paris and Kim earn fortunes from their videos?

It has to be one of the most lucrative 41-minutes in bed ever. It was October 2002 and fledgling Hollywood stylist Kim Kardashian was enjoying a luxury holiday in Cabo, Mexico with her boyfriend, Ray J to celebrate her 23rd birthday.

The couple had bought a handheld camcorder with them and over the course of their trip they filmed themselves clowning around for the camera by the pool (Kardashian sporting a very on-trend Burberry bikini) - and having sex in bed.

Kim Kardashian West arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016, in New York. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Kim Kardashian West arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016, in New York. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) Chris Pizzello

Five years later, in 2007, Steve Hirsch founder of Vivid Entertainment, received a call from a mysterious third party: They had a sex tape involving Kardashian, whose friendship with Paris Hilton meant she could lay claim to a tangential sort of fame.

Hirsch wanted the tape.

Within weeks, it had been released online, almost immediately catapulting Kardashian to a new, global level of celebrity.

"Kim really didn't want the tape to be released and made public," Hirsch has told Business Insider.

"But as the tape began leaking onto the internet in small pieces, she decided to come around."


A lot has changed in the 10 years since a sex tape featuring Kim Kardashian was made public.
A lot has changed in the 10 years since a sex tape featuring Kim Kardashian was made public.

It's now been ten years since Kim Kardashian Superstar was first released and in that time, the video has netted an extraordinary $100 million. Quite how much of that Kardashian has actually pocketed is up for debate. (See below for more on this.)

Recently, the power of the celebrity sex tape was back in the headlines after former Spice Girl Melanie Brown won a court order preventing her estranged husband Stephen Belafonte from selling any of the couple's homemade videos.

According to reports, Belafonte allegedly has up to 20 videos of the couple reportedly indulging in threesomes and other sexual activity. Brown has alleged in court documents that during their marriage, Belafonte would threaten to release the explicit videos to damage her career.

Unquestionably, there are huge amounts of money at stake in the celebrity sex tape business. Even those stars much further down the Hollywood ladder can earn small fortunes. 


Paris Hilton.
Paris Hilton. Bang ShowBiz

Depending on the person, actors and reality stars can earn at least five to six figure, advances for their tapes, according to David Joseph who runs Red Light District which distributes adult material.

"Let's say the Olsen sisters had a celebrity tape," he has told E Online.

"They would get millions as an advance, the same as if Britney Spears had a tape."

In 2011, after Pippa Middleton sprang to global fame after the royal wedding, Hirsch reportedly offered the royal bridesmaid nearly $5 million for a sex tape. It goes without saying that Middleton did not take him up on it.

He says that money isn't the only motivating factor. "I've never, ever seen a case of where it hurts a celebrity's career. In fact, it helps their career."

Here's how much money is at stake in the celebrity sex tape game:


The OG of sex tapes - Kim Kardashian and Ray J

While there has been significant debate and conjecture about just how much Kardashian personally made from her sex tape, estimates of her personal earnings from the tape range from $5m to $6.6m.

There have also been unverified reports that Ray J picks up about $90,000 every three months in royalties.

Kim Kardashian
Kim Kardashian

Paris Hilton and Nick Salomon

In 2004 the heiress and her then-boyfriend Rick Salomon filmed themselves having sex. According to reports, it was Salomon's then flatmate who found the tape.

After extended legal wrangling, the video, now called One Night In Paris, was released by celebrity sex tape broker Kevin Blatt in conjunction with Red Light District. It went on to become one of the biggest selling sex tapes in history.

Blatt has alleged that Hilton earned more than $20 million for the tape and that she and Kardashian "still get cheques" for their videos.


Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee

Filmed during their honeymoon in 1995, the tape of the Baywatch star and the rocker having sex was stolen from their garage by their then electrician Rand Gauthier.

According to reports, in less than 12 months, the tape earned about $77million in legitimate sales.

There have never been any reports suggesting that Anderson or Lee personally gained anything from the video's release.

Pamela Anderson
Pamela Anderson Bang Showbiz

Dustin Diamond AKA Screech

The actor, or as we all know him, Screech from 90s teen favourite Saved By The Bell, didn't just make a sex tape - he scripted and cast the video with the notion it would make the struggling actor millions.

"My buddy and I were sitting on the couch and [the Paris Hilton] video came on the news," Diamond has told The Daily Beast.

"They said it was rumored she made $US14 million in revenue from that. So my friend said, "Damn, buddy! A Screech video's gotta be worth at least a million!" I was like, "You know, you might be right!"

The then 29-year-old cast a "stunt wang" for the shoot.

"I got a stunt person to come in. And I thought, what if this thing makes $3 million? That's nothing to scoff at. But after that people looked at me dirty, like, "He does porn." No, I don't! I faked that one at a chance for millions. I'm an opportunist, really. Needless to say it did not make millions."

Colin Farrell and Nicole Narain

The actor sued Narain, a Playboy model, after she allegedly tried to release, for money, a video of them having sex. They settled out of court.

Asked about the situation, the SWAT star told talk show host Jonathan Ross: "At the end of the deposition the man in charge said, 'I hope you've learned your lesson, Mr Farrell,' and I said, 'Absolutely, next time I'll take the tape with me.'"

Farrah Abraham and James Deen

While it was reported that the Teen Mom star had pocketed $1.25 million for her sex tape with porn star James Deen, other estimates say she would only have gotten about $12,500 upfront and then 30% of sales.

News Corp Australia

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