Brittni’s story of how Jesus freed her from a decade-long career as a porn star and heroin addict manifests the awesome promise of Galatians 5:1. – “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”
“I’m full of joy and I’m full of hope and I know that whatever comes my way that I can get through it all,” she says in an interview with the Promise Keepers partner organization, This is Me TV. “I could never picture myself now making the decisions that I made a few years ago.”
In fact, anyone meeting Brittni now for the first time would be hard-pressed to picture what she was like back then and what she’s been through. Today she is married to Richard de la Mora, a pastor at Cornerstone Church of San Diego, where they co-lead the young adult ministry. “I don’t see her as a product of her past,” he says. “She is a product of grace. She’s a woman of God—praying for people, leading people, serving people. I love that about her!”
She used to be called the “world’s hottest porn star.” She used to make $30,000 a month. Now Brittni shares her testimony at porn conventions. And she’s a successful real estate agent.
The child of a broken home and feeling rejected by her family, Brittni began stripping in nightclubs when she was 16 as a way to put herself through college in Santa Barbara.
“One night,” she recalls, “there were two guys [from Los Angeles] that were tipping like excessive amounts of money. They told me they made ‘romance movies.’ I knew what they were talking about. But I just felt like, ‘I’m already taking my clothes off for money. I’m already promiscuous. So why not just take it one step further and get paid for it?’”
Within days of signing on, Brittni says she “started to go downhill.” Her first porn scene was “gross” and “really bad.” Within a month, she had contracted gonorrhea. But she kept at it for seven years, starring in 300 “adult” videos under the stage-name Jenna Presley.
For three of those years, she was in a drug-fueled relationship. “I got to the point where I hated myself. I hated my life. I hated what I was doing. I hated being an addict but I couldn’t face filming without the drugs. I was a cocaine addict and a heroin addict.”
Brittni reached out to her grandmother, who let her live at her home in San Diego. “I really began to second-guess what I was doing,” she says. “I heard that my grandpa was going to church. I asked if I could go with them. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour that day.”
Yet her downward spiral continued. Brittni started dating a motorcycle gang member. Two weeks later, he was stabbed to death in front of her.
“I was hearing voices at this point,” she says, “and these voices were like, ‘Kill yourself. If you don’t kill yourself, they’re going to kill you.’ I got really high on crystal meth. I tried to overdose. I was in the bathroom with the lights off. I was slitting my wrist, and this voice said, ‘Turn the lights on and put the scissors down.’ I had this peace come over me. I know that God saved my life that day.”
Still, Brittni’s downward spiral continued. First, her family wasn’t there for her anymore. Then she got involved with a man who said he’d take her in, but soon turned out to be a real wolf in sheep’s clothing.
“He took me to church and got me baptized,” she says.“Then he told me, ‘Now it’s time. You’re going to be a bigger star than ever before.’ I said, ‘I don’t want to go back into that industry. Plus, I know that this is not what God wants me to do.’ But he would take different Scriptures and just manipulated me into getting back into the industry, thinking that God was my biggest supporter. This guy was a pimp.”
Brittni went back to making porn videos and doing drugs. Then three years later, her downward spiral finally ended. “I remember clearly the Holy Spirit say, ‘It’s time to leave this guy.’” Which she did. But soon she was broke. Needing money, she booked a porn scene in Las Vegas.
Then the breakthrough happened. Brittni remembers during the plane ride, she was reading her Bible when she came to Revelation 2:20-23 – “I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. … I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and … I will strike her children dead.”
“In that moment,” she says, “I realized that the last three years I was not pleasing God, and I wasn’t doing what was right for me. And so on set that day, I told everybody, ‘God has spoken to me and this is going to be my last scene. You guys will never ever see me again.’ That was the last scene that I ever filmed.” That was in late 2012.
Back in San Diego, Brittni started dating a man who took her to Cornerstone Church. But he was only interested in going on Sundays. When she wanted them to check out its young adult group, he refused. So Brittni went by herself— and met Richard for the first time.
“He was preaching this message and he said, ‘I have a word just for the women here right now. I want you to know that you are a woman of God, that you are worthy of real true love, and you are worth the wait.’ In that moment, I really felt God say, ‘Break up with him. You’re where you need to be. You’re at home now.’ So I broke up with him. I also said, ‘God, I’m not going to date anyone for an entire year. I just want to get to know you and build a relationship with you and I don’t want any distractions.’ Over this year, I’m just reading my Bible daily and also this man who preached this message, I really started to like him.”
The feeling was mutual. They quickly became very good friends. Then came their first date. “It was great,” says Richard. “We talked life, talked story. It was so natural because we were already such great friends. We were just having a grand time with each other. Yeah, it was good.” Brittni remembers, “I just thought, ‘This is my moment. It’s obvious. We’re best friends, we have the same God in our lives, we’re headed in the same direction.’”
At the same time, Brittni understood that if their relationship was going to have a future, she needed to tell Richard about her past. That was hard. “There were times where I thought, ‘Lord, I really need you to give him grace right now because it could easily push someone away.’”
But the more that Brittni opened up to him, the more Richard found himself being drawn to her. Even her detractors couldn’t dissuade him—such as when someone sent him a graphic photo from her past. “What they were really doing is growing me and growing the love I had for Brittni,” he says.
My thought was if I’m going to marry this woman one day, I want to be a man that would be willing to embrace her past. If I couldn’t embrace her past, then I had no right to walk into the future with her.
Brittni and Richard were married in 2016.
“The beautiful thing about God,” Richard says, “is that when you receive a relationship with him, he wipes the slate clean. You start seeing differently, you start speaking differently, because you’re no longer a product of your past, but you’re a product of grace and God has a wonderful future in store for you.”
“Oftentimes,” Brittni adds, “when you get into a relationship and you don’t know who you are, you end up more confused than before because now you have somebody trying to tell you who you are. The advice that I would give is, know what you’re worth and don’t settle for anything less. Just wait. Do it God’s way. Trust me. You’re going to save yourself years of heartache.”
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