Ask Amy | Scholar daughter is a secret Web-porn star

Posted: June 13, 2007

Dear Amy: My daughter just graduated with honors from a prestigious university. I've been so proud of her for working hard and doing so well.

Now I've learned that she has been posing nude for a porn Web site for years.

I honestly feel as if my beloved child has vanished and a strange person with very different values (and ugly tattoos - a surprise to me) has taken her place. She doesn't know that I know about her "alternate life."

We had many discussions while she was growing up about drinking, drugs, smoking, safe sex, self-respect and personal integrity. I thought we were very close and that she had the ability to make good decisions.

But now I feel as if the loving relationship I thought was strong and honest and trusting has been completely ripped away. It's clear from the attitude and behaviors she describes in her blog on the Web site (which I'm sure she wrote) that she was only humoring me in our discussions. Apparently my advice and wisdom were irrelevant. This troubles me more than her posing nude - though I'm very unhappy with that.

She signed a contract with the site's operator giving him the right to use her photos any way he wants, anywhere he wants, for as long as he wants. She earns a few hundred dollars when she sends him new pictures. How can someone so smart be so stupid?

Please give me some perspective and some advice. Should I tell her that I know about this? What should I say?

- Confused and Grieving

Dear Confused: Think about it. If you bring this up with your daughter, what's the worst that can happen? Will this conversation prompt her to become an online porn presence? Will she make poor choices that could affect her life for many years to come?

Be frank, concerned and loving. Share your sense of alarm and your worries about her. Ask her why she is doing this - and listen to her response.

Your daughter is an adult. She is making choices that, while probably legal, are antithetical to her upbringing. You have a right and responsibility to continue to be her mother and attempt to guide her. You also may have to catch her when she falls. She needs to know that you'll be a presence in her life - and that when she participates in this venture in the public sphere - her mother will be watching.

Send questions via e-mail to or by mail to "Ask Amy," Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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