It seems there is always another celebrity sex-tape scandal waiting in the wings. Whether it is “High School Musical” star Vanessa Hudgens or mega star Usher and ex-wife Tameka Foster, Hollywood is always prepared for a new surprise or conveniently timed leak.

But it wasn’t always so. In fact, when the first celebrity set tape leaked Hollywood and most of America was completely taken aback. And the woman at the center of the film: a sister- Jayne Kennedy.

If you ask any man over 45 who Jayne Kennedy was you will probably hear a large exaggerated exhale or stammered attempt at words but to sum up: Jayne was the Halle Berry of her day.

During the late 1970s into the early 1980s, Jayne Kennedy was the woman who’s stunning beauty transfixed men and won over women across America. The former Miss Ohio USA was a model, actress and TV personality, hailed as the next “Oprah” but with Sport Illustrated Swimsuit cover sex-appeal. She made history as The NFL Today’s first Black female broadcaster. Jayne’s endorsement deal with Coca Cola made her face a fixture in the brand’s national advertisements. She was loved by the African-American community, receiving a NAACP Image Award and appearing on the covers of both Ebony and Jet multiple times. Her appearance in Playboy was much anticipated, as she was the first Black female to be featured on the cover. She opted though to keep her clothes on, upholding an image that had been marketed to incorporate so-called “traditional American values” with a beauty so undeniable it transcended Black and White.

That image was shattered when a homemade video of Jayne and her ex-husband, Blaxploitation actor Leon Isaac Kennedy was stolen and released after their divorce. The tape of the two having sex made its round about Hollywood- albeit not nearly at the speed it would have now- and sent shockwaves through the rest of the country.

As the nation struggled to reconcile the woman on the video with the woman they had come to know, Jayne Kennedy’s career plummeted. Her once bright future in the Entertainment industry flickered out of view and eventually Jayne faded into obscurity, occasionally appearing on shows for the Christian Television Network.

It’s hard to imagine a more devastating fall from grace. Endorsements lost, career gone, name tarnished. Yet the path for today’s celebrities involved in sex tape scandals has rarely led that way. Looking back at Jayne’s story in light of today’s culture, we have to wonder: how different would things have been if Jayne Kennedy’s sex tape were leaked today?

Sure, there are still celebrities who will fight tooth and nail to stop a sex tape from leaking, but by and large most tapes provide much needed career boosts. A video leak is not only an aide to stardom, it can be the genesis of it as well. It is here that we make the inevitable Kim Kardashian mention and bring up the meteoric rise to fame of a woman who has build an empire on an tape showcasing intimate moments with another tangentially famous individual. The video, which was leaked in 2007, showed Kim and former boyfriends Ray J having sex. Though both semi-celebs denied leaking it leaked the tape, neither or them have suffered from it being out there.

Quite the opposite- reality shows later the two are sitting pretty. And though Ray J has since said that he is the one who “put her on,” Kim has had the last laugh with her empire of clothing, perfumes, sneakers and shows raking in around $65 million dollars last year alone.

In reflection, it seems that had she been famous in our day and age, her leaked sex tape could have been the thing that took her career into another stratosphere. Instead it relegated her to the dark corner of Hollywood’s so close but so far stars.

There’s a larger question to be asked, though, is what does the glorification of the celeb sex tape say about us.  In terms of media consumption, the marketability of the sex tape and public reception to seeing stars performing explicit sexual acts seems to have become a necessary component to their fame. Gone is the exposure tastefully done rule that governed Jayne’s time. Today’s formula seems to be- show us everything and be embraced.

Remembering Jayne Kennedy, it is impossible to forget the scandal and effective career suicide.  But maybe even sadder still, is how hard it is to imagine a sex tape leaked today leading to anything other than a brighter spotlight.

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  • seekr34

    Yes, the tape did come out in the 80’s. I know cause I still have the tape. Once the tape was made in public, she just disappeared.

  • kdg

    I actually saw Jayne in person back in the 80’s. Gorgeous woman. I saw the tape, yes its explicit. But you have to remember the tape was made in the 70s long before vcr’s, dvd’s, the net, YouTube and social media. Plus it was a private moment between a husband and wife. I’m sure neither one of them could have envisioned 30 years later that a private tape would be available to the world at the click of a Google search. I’m sure she is embarrassed and that may be the reason she dropped out of the spotlight 20+ years ago. Stay strong Jayne you still have a lot to offer!

  • This video details how immature Leon and Jayne were in the art of making love. The length and style of her hair, this was after her appearance on the NFL Today when she changed to this style and length indicates this was around 1978. There is no deep sensual slow motion love making for an hour or more. The anal sex appears as if he’s attempting to inflict pain only, moving to fast and banging her hard, the size of her anal shows excessive anal sex and this is his wife they had bizarre kinky sexually habits. Her oral sex is good, but the vibrator portion is ridiculous. Again no finesse, sensually using her tongue over his penis head and testicles. Whether Jayne or Leon is on top they look like amateurs, again no slow sensual motion to be a married couple this was just Porno. When Leon got on top he rapidly bang Jayne hard, no slow sensual sexually motion and he couldn’t maintain an erection, kinky. Endometriosis patient can’t get bang hard, trauma may ignite there medical condition. Married couples together 24/7 for years develop expertise and finesse in comprehending there partner sexual desires. Jayne has HOT looks but she not hot in bed. This was embarrassing, because it demonstrated very little sexual experience and kinkiness in there love making. Leon and Jayne stated their divorce was mutually agreed, transparent to the public it created animosity, releasing this sex tape prior to her NCAAP Image Award was embarrassing.

    It was insinuated that this sex tape contributed to Jayne Kennedy’s exile from Show Time and eventual eviction from California. This was a total fabrication. My girlfriend at that time idolized Jayne Kennedy like a Goddess, many women did. They scorned Jayne Kennedy for her moral indiscretion she commit with Bill Overton. It was astonishing to comprehend that a woman of Jayne Kennedy’s statue would succumb to a married playboy, allow him to seize total control of her mind, indiscretion of stealing Kathleen Bradley husband, coercing him into marriage by getting pregnant by him, for a pimp she pick him up at a neighborhood garage sale and Leon Kennedy was her husband when it started. Why Jayne permitted a just sex relation(rumored started in 1977 on the Cover Girls set ) to escalate into sacrifice my life for you, initiated the biggest living tragedy in Hollywood history the dethroning of a Queen, Jayne Kennedy. Why Jayne Kennedy contemplated a blissful future with a man who abandon his wife of 2 year (plus 1 separation/divorce) and 1 year old daughter for her was INSANITY. The most celebrated black celebrity in history, descended “Hello Humph-Dumpty” she lost the architect of her career, her knight in shinning armor because of her indiscretions, persona descended further “Tramp/Taboo” the moral indiscretion of coercing marriage by getting pregnant before marriage, destroying another celebrity blissful dreams by stealing her husband. Today she was celebrated by fans, respected by movie Moguls, image of Vanity Fair Cosmetic and Jovan Cologne, her dynamic radiant image ignited STOP, LOOK and Browse, partner with Leon in Jaleon and Kennedy Productions, produce a line of women sport apparel, special appearances on sitcoms, exercise video, her pretty face open many door of opportunity and of course her Knight in Shinning armor Leon Kennedy at her side, projected earning potential of over $100 million dollars. Next day, her climax with her Knight in the movie Body and Soul was their last Ha-Rah, the few remaining opportunities after her divorce from Leon vanished when she married Bill Overton, she was ostracized throughout the country, scorned by movie Mogul and Sponsors, twilight of her radiant image , fans, friend and celebrity formed vigilantes, visibility was reduced to charity events. She was a Queen who sacrificed her Crown and all her Jewels for a pimp she pick-up at a neighborhood garage sale. I ponder she had a very turbulence marriage did she ever contemplated returning to the garage sale for a refund.