When she had to pick a name for her film career, she picked ‘Sunny’ while ‘Leone’ was picked by Bob Guccione, the former owner of the ‘Penthouse’ magazine. She posed for the ‘Penthouse’ magazine and was named ‘Penthouse Pet of the Month’ for the March 2001 issue. She also appeared in other magazines such as ‘Hustler’, ‘High Society’, and ‘AVN Online’.
She signed a three-year contract with Vivid Entertainment, after which she entered the adult film industry and starred in movies like ‘Sunny’, ‘Busty Cops 2’, ‘Sunny Loves Matt’ and ‘Its Sunny in Brazil’.
Sunny Leone launched her own studio ‘Sunlust Pictures,’ along with Daniel Weber. Her first independent production was ‘The Dark Side of the Sun’. This was followed by 'Roleplay’ and ‘Goddess’.
Leone was named by Maxim as one of the 12 best female adult film stars; she announced her retirement from the industry in 2013.
Sunny Leone made her mainstream film acting debut with a cameo role in the romantic comedy film ‘The Girl Next Door’ in 2004. The film was about a high school senior who falls in love with the girl next door, only to learn later that she is a former adult film actress. The film was an average success commercially. It received mixed reviews.
She next appeared in ‘Pirate’s Blood’ (2008) and ‘The Virginity Hit’ (2010) before she moved to Bollywood.
She made her Bollywood debut with the 2012 film, ‘Jism 2’ in which she starred alongside Randeep Hooda and Arunoday Singh. It was directed by Pooja Bhatt. The film proved successful made Rs. 35 crore on the box office. It received mixed reviews from the critics.
In 2013, she played a cameo role in ‘Shootout at Wadala’ a biographical film based on the life of Manya Surve, an infamous Indian gangster.
Her next important role was in the comedy thriller film ‘Jackpot’ where she starred alongside veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah. The film received mostly negative reviews.
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Her popularity in the Indian film industry increased after she played the lead role in the 2014 film ‘Ragini MMS 2’. It was a sequel to the 2011 film ‘Ragini MMS’. The film was a huge success and received mixed reviews.
She made her Telugu debut by playing a main role in the romantic comedy film ‘Current Theega’ The film was a commercial success. In 2015, she was seen in the thriller drama film ‘Ek Paheli Leela,’ a story about reincarnation which revolves around a woman and her lover. The film was a commercial success and was met with mixed reviews.
She appeared in ‘Kuch Kuch Locha Hai’ in 2015. It was inspired loosely by the Gujarati comedy play ‘Lage Raho Gujjubhai’. The film received negative reviews. The same year, she appeared in the action comedy film ‘Singh is Bliing’, which starred Akshay Kumar and Amy Jackson in the lead roles. The film was a commercial success, though the reviews were mostly negative.
In 2016, she played a dual role in the comedy film ‘Mastizaade’. The film wasn’t very successful commercially. It was met with mixed reviews. She next appeared in the suspense drama film ‘One Night Stand’.
She acted in the film ‘Beimaan Love’ in 2016. The film marked the acting debut of her husband Daniel Weber. In 2017, she played cameo roles in many films, such as ‘Raees’, ‘Baadshaho’ and ‘Bhoomi’. She also played the lead role in the film ‘Tera Intezaar’.
’Jism 2’ is one of Sunny Leone’s most successful and popular works. The film, which marked her Bollywood debut, was directed by Pooja Bhatt. With Leone in the lead role, the film also starred Randeep Hooda, Arunoday Singh, and Arif Zakaria. The film was made on a budget of Rs. 7 crore and it earned five times its budget. It was mostly met with mixed to negative reviews.
She is also known for playing the lead role in the horror erotic film ‘Ragini MMS 2’. It was the sequel to the 2011 horror film ‘Ragini MMS’. The film also starred Saahil Prem, Anita Hassanandani, Parvin Dabas and Sandhya Mridul. The film was a huge success commercially, earning more than Rs. 63 crore on a Rs. 19 crore budget. It was banned in Pakistan due to its content.
Sunny Leone is bisexual but she has stated that she prefers men. She is married to Daniel Weber. Previously, she was engaged to Matt Erikson, who worked at Playboy Enterprises. For some time, she also dated comedian Russell Peters.
Sunny Leone and her husband adopted a child in June 2017 from Latur, a village in Maharashtra. The baby girl was named Nisha Kaur Weber and she was 21 months old at the time of the adoption. In 2018, the couple announced the birth of their twin boys, born through surrogacy. The children were named Asher Singh Weber and Noah Singh Weber.
The actress is also known for her work with the American Cancer Society and the organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.