When 20-year-old Michelle saw the handsome Spaniard who would later become her fiancé, she thought it was love at first sight.
[WARNING: This article contains descriptions of sexual acts that some readers may find offensive.]
"The day we met, he said, 'You're going to be the mother of my children. I love you,'" she remembers. "You know what I mean? I never had that before. I never had a guy be so in love with me."
The couple met on the set of a porn film in a rented house in Prague in July 2001.
Michelle, the daughter of a retired Air Force captain and former bishop in the Mormon Church, was an up-and-coming starlet in the adult video world. She had had some setbacks in her first year in the business, but believed her career was turning around with the Prague trip, which would be her first starring role. Her co-star, 28-year-old Nacho Vidal, was already a well-established star.
The director had told Michelle that Vidal liked her work, and when the pair saw each other they immediately fell into each other's arms, kissing from one side of the house to the other.
"There's nothing bad about you," she told him admiringly as they prepared for the shoot. "You don't know me very well" he replied with a grin.
But when the director finally got the pair to settle down to the business at hand — filming a sex scene — the tone changed. Without any prompting, Vidal got rough during the sex, slapping Michelle's face violently from side to side, and choking her.
Afterward, she looked shaken, her face reddened and her eyes watery. But she insisted she was OK. "I look torn up — can you tell?," she asked an ABCNEWS producer who was following her progress for Primetime. Laughing and wiping her eye, she turned away and said without conviction, "I took a beating today, and it was great."
'Belladonna' Is Born
Michelle had gotten her start in the business at 18, when she came to Los Angeles from her home in Utah to look for work as a nude photograph model. When she failed to get modeling work, her agent encouraged her to try porn. She refused at first. "I always hated porn. I thought it was the most disgusting thing in the world," she told Primetime, which followed her career for more than two years.
But she finally agreed. Taking the name Belladonna, like the poisonous flower, she found herself preparing for what she thought would be a simple boy-girl sex scene. She was shocked when the director told her he wanted her to do anal sex — something she says she had never even thought about before. Worried she'd have to go through with it if she wanted to work again, she let him talk her into it. "I was kind of scared. I didn't know if I could say no," she remembers. "I didn't know any better, you know?"
After the session, she was shattered. "I wasn't ready for anal sex … It was painful. But I can hide it really well." She had just turned 18, the legal age for participation in sexually explicit films.
Michelle went on more shoots over the next few months. Then her agent sent her on a job where she would have sex with male actors in prison outfits — 12 of them. Once again, she tried to back out, telling the director it was "sick," but once again she was talked into it. She had sex — all kinds — with the 12 men. "It was really hard because I really felt like a piece of meat … in a lion's cage, 12 lions … I had to do a lot of things I can't imagine anyone wanting to do." She was paid $4,000.