Women in Music 2016

15 Musician Sex-Tape Scandals, From Tommy Lee to Usher

Kurt Iswarienko/Courtesy RCA Records
Usher photographed in 2014.

News got out Wednesday that a sex tape featuring Usher and ex-wife Tameka Raymond was stolen and being shopped around, and the singer's legal team is hot on the case

Usher Hunting Down Stolen Sex Tape

Like the rumors of an Iggy Azalea sex tape that surfaced in September, this reminds us of the longstanding legacy that sex tapes have played in popular culture over the past couple of decades, with an emphasis on musicians finding themselves in front of the camera, in the limelight and on computer screens across the world -- sometimes with permission and sometimes not. 

Iggy Azalea Sues Ex-Boyfriend for Releasing Early Music, Forging Contract

Here's a timeline of musicians caught in the act, or -- in the case of phony rumors and successful legal battles -- not quite. 

Pamela Anderson & Tommy Lee
Real? Yes.
Released? Yes.
In 1995, a sex tape of Pamela Anderson and then-husband Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee on their honeymoon was stolen from their home and sold through a company called Internet Entertainment Group in 1998 as one of the earliest celebrity sex tapes online. Anderson and Lee sued and eventually settled with IEG, which continued to sell the video.

Pamela Anderson & Bret Michaels
Real? Yes.
Released? Yes.
In 1998, following the success of the Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee sex tape, a tape featuring Anderson and Poison singer Bret Michaels that was made earlier was leaked. The tape's full release was successfully blocked by Michaels, but an abridged version appeared online.

Vince Neil
Real? Yes.
Released? Yes, but not in full.
In 1999, a video filmed with Mötley Crüe singer Vince Neil, porn star Janine Lindemulder and Penthouse Pet Brandy Ledford in 1993 was released via IEG, the same company that put out Anderson and Lee's video.

Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez (not together)
Real? No.
Released? n/a
In the early 2000s, a number of fake videos advertised as sex tapes featuring pop stars Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez circulated the Internet. In 2001, Aguilera's management spoke up denying the validity of any such footage.

R. Kelly
Real? According to the Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago, no.
Released? Yes, but only to a judge and jury.
In 2002, a video surfaced allegedly featuring R. Kelly engaging in sex with, and urinating on, an underage girl. Kelly was charged for child pornography in 2008 but found not guilty.

Fred Durst
Real? Yes.
Released? Yes.
In 2005, Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst saw a three-minute sex tape featuring him and a former girlfriend leaked online after it was allegedly stolen from his computer. In response, Durst sued 10 website operators that hosted the video for more than $70 million in damages and any profits. 

Kid Rock, Scott Stapp & four women
Real? Yes.
Released? Yes.
In 2006, two videotapes were allegedly stolen from a safe at former Creed frontman Scott Stapp's house and then released online depicting Stapp and fellow rocker Kid Rock in a sexual encounter with four women onboard a tour bus during a Florida tour stop. The two musicians successfully filed restraining orders against the company World Wide Red Light District for selling downloads of the video.

Ray J & Kim Kardashian
Real? Yes.
Released? Yes.
In 2007, a sex tape made by singer Ray J and Kim Kardashian in 2003 was leaked online, becoming one of the most famous modern-day sex tapes around. Kardashian came to terms in a lawsuit with Vivid Entertainment, settling for reportedly more than $3 million. Though she's clearly moved on, apparently Ray J has not -- the singer last year released a track dissing Kardashian and her husband Kanye West called "I Hit It First."

Mindy McCready
Real? Yes.
Released? Yes.
In 2010, a sex tape starring country singer Mindy McCready and an ex-boyfriend went on sale by Vivid Entertainment called Baseball Mistress, alluding to her alleged affair with married pitcher Roger Clemens. The former star of Dr. Drew's VH1 series Celebrity Rehab also included an interview on the video speaking about that affair. McCready died in 2013.

Rick Ross
Real? No.
Released? Yes.
In 2010, a sex tape emerged featuring a man rumored to be Rick Ross, but the rapper denied it was him in the tape on Twitter, writing, "just saw the so-called sex tape..the n***a had a louie flag in back pocket but forgot the tattoos.. #fail."

2Pac
Real? Yes.
Released? No.
In 2011, TMZ reportedly saw a five-minute sex tape showing 2Pac receiving oral sex while rapping and dancing shot in 1991. The person in possession of the tape had wanted to sell it but it was never released. TMZ did, however, post screen shots.

Usher
Real? Yes.
Released? No.
In 2011, it was reported that someone had broken into Usher's car and stole two laptops, two video cameras and approximately a million dollars worth of jewelry. Somewhere in there was a sex tape featuring Usher and ex-wife Tameka Raymond, according to TMZ. At the time, the video saw no buyers, but someone is reportedly trying to sell it again now.

Jennifer Lopez
Real? Yes.
Released? No.
In 2011, scenes from a video shot on Jennifer Lopez's honeymoon with ex-husband Ojani Noa were leaked. Lopez had sued to block the video's release in 2009, but a judge later dismissed her suit. The 15 to 20 minutes of nudity reportedly does not contain se and has still not been released. The footage is supposedly locked in a safety deposit box in Century City, Calif.

Rihanna
Real? No.
Released? No.
In 2011, porn company Hustler claimed it was in possession of a sex tape of Rihanna and J. Cole. Rihanna dismissed this on Twitter, writing, "We don't believe U, U need more people…AND ofcourse an actual sextape! #slownesday [sic]," and that was the end.

Iggy Azalea
Real? Maybe.
Released? No.
In September 2014, rumors emerged of an Iggy Azalea sex tape being shopped around. The 24-year-old rapper spoke up online saying the tape is not real and voiced disgust over the public interest in the matter. Her lawyers later stated it may be her in the video, but there's a chance she was under 18 when it was shot. Either way, its release would be dependent on her approval, which does not seem likely.