Belladonna (born Michelle Anne Sinclair on May 21, 1981) is an American pornographic actress and producer.
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Michelle Anne Sinclair was born in Biloxi, Mississippi, the second of seven children. The family had German, Scottish, and Cherokee roots. She experienced her first kiss at age twelve, got her first tattoo at thirteen, and had intercourse at fourteen. Sinclair dropped out of high school and moved out of her parents’ house at the age of fifteen. She also stayed in Utah for a short period of her life, and was raised as a Mormon. Prior to her pornography career she worked for 7–11, Victoria’s Secret, Sears and Subway.
Her introduction to the adult industry came about when an agent came to Utah to see one of her friends, who introduced him to her. The next day she flew to Los Angeles. Immediately prior to starting her porn career she was dancing in a club in Utah. The pseudonym “Belladonna” came in part from a friend in Utah named Bella; later, an early agent suggested Bella Donna as it means “beautiful woman” in Italian. Her motivation to join the adult industry was mainly financial.
Belladonna got into the adult film industry after she moved to Los Angeles to become a nude model. Her career began in 2000 when she was 18. Her first film was Real Sex Magazine for Bill Whitrock; her male counterpart was Chris Cannon. As the scene involved anal sex she had to perform her first enema, and she was also required to urinate on her co-star. One of her early films featured Sinclair in a rough group sex scene with twelve men, staged in a prison. She has since appeared in over 250 adult films, including titles such as Service Animals 6 & 7, She-Male Domination Nation, Bella Loves Jenna, Back 2 Evil, Weapons of Ass Destruction, and Fashionistas Safado: The Challenge. In 2002 she featured in the multi award-winning BDSM themed Fashionistas; its director John Stagliano described her as “a woman with the most incredible sexual abilities I’ve ever seen.”
As well as Stagliano she has often been directed by Nacho Vidal, Jules Jordan and Rocco Siffredi. In 2003 she signed a contract with Sineplex, for whom she also directed.
She now owns and operates Belladonna Entertainment with her partner and husband, Aiden Kelly. She produces her own movies under the Belladonna Entertainment and Deadly Nightshade Productions labels, exclusively distributed by Evil Angel. Her directorial debut for Evil Angel was Evil Pink in 2003. She has since created and starred in series including Fetish Fanatic, Dark Meat, No Warning, Odd Jobs, Belladonna’s Butthole Whores, Foot Soldiers, Girl Train, Manhandled, Fucking Girls, Evil Pink, Cock Happy and My Ass Is Haunted. Her productions are classed as Gonzo pornography.
She has appeared several times in the reality television series Family Business, which focuses on the life of porn director Adam Glasser a.k.a. “Seymore Butts”. In 2004 she was one of a number of porn stars photographed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders for a “coffee table book” on the adult industry, XXX: 30 Porn-Star Portraits; she also appears in the HBO documentary Thinking XXX about the making of the book.
In 2011, she was named by CNBC as one of the 12 most popular stars in porn. CNBC noted that while she had stepped back from acting to pursue directing and producing, she has maintained a loyal fan base, and has been nominated for 42 AVN awards and won 10 in the course of her career.
Her career in the pornography business was followed for two years by a crew from ABC Television, culminating in a January 2003 interview with Diane Sawyer as part of a Primetime Thursday segment on pornography. At one point in the interview Belladonna broke down in tears, when Sawyer asked her, “You keep describing these awful things that happened to you. Yet, you keep smiling. Why?” Belladonna’s smile wavered and her eyes watered up. “It’s so I don’t start crying,” she said. Part of the footage for the segment was an interview with Belladonna’s sister, who had moved out to Los Angeles at Belladonna’s urging, and who had gotten a job at Red Light District Films. Belladonna’s sister revealed on-camera that despite her claims, Belladonna was actually quite depressed, and had recently been hospitalized following a suicide attempt. Another topic discussed in the interview was the fact that Belladonna had contracted the STD chlamydia. The publicity provided by the interview boosted Belladonna’s career.
The interview has since been used by a number of anti-pornography groups to support their case that pornography is exploitative of the women who appear in it; nevertheless, Sinclair remains an active performer in the industry. In later interviews, Sinclair claimed that she had never intended to make “anti-porn” statements. In one interview, when she was asked if she was happy how the interview came out, her reply was, “I am not happy about Primetime but I would love to see the whole story air one day so everyone can see how much I had to say that was FOR the porn industry. If you know me you know that I LOVED shooting!”
ABC contacted her once to do a follow-up to the interview; she refused saying, “No thank you. I don’t want to be embarrassed again.” Several figures in the porn industry objected to her comments on the program.
In August 2007, Sinclair decided to semi-retire from performing with other people over concerns of STDs, specifically herpes. She thought she had contracted herpes in 2002 and was worried the disease had spread; however it was later discovered that it was a skin rash rather than herpes. Regardless, she still decided to semi-retire.
In a 2007 interview with the Salt Lake City Weekly, Sinclair expressed some regret about aspects of her career in pornography, particularly her early notoriety for performing acts and scenes that many other performers regarded as extreme or taboo. Lamenting the lack of guidance from more experienced actresses, Sinclair described an extended period of clinical depression and heavy marijuana use. Sinclair stressed in this same interview, however, that she took responsibility for all her decisions and that she was never forced to perform.
However, according to a 2008 post on Sinclair’s blog, she has since come out of retirement, and has filmed a number of hardcore scenes. She appeared in Digital Playground’s Pirates II, the sequel to their top-selling DVD, Pirates. She has also appeared in James Gunn’s PG Porn.
In June 2010 it was announced that she would be part of the cast of the upcoming horror movie Stripped.
She was formerly engaged to fellow porn actor Nacho Vidal. On April 11, 2004, she married Aiden Kelly in Las Vegas, Nevada. She has a daughter Myla Kelly who was born on January 11, 2005.
Her interests include pilates, yoga, gardening, movies, singing, video games, aquariums, cooking, traveling and the outdoors.
The AVN Awards are sponsored and presented by the American adult video industry trade magazine AVN (Adult Video News). Belladona has been nominated for 42 AVN Awards, of which she has won 10. In 2011, she has been inducted into the AVN Hall of Fame.