She was born May 13th, 1981 in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada to Sikh Punjabi parents. Sunny was a tomboy and got along well with boys from an early age, playing street hockey with the boys in her neighborhood. Even though Sunny's family was Sikh, this naughty girl ended up enrolled in Catholic school. Sunny lost her virginity to a basketball player when she was 16 and started experimenting with girls when she was 18. Her family moved to Lake Forest, California when Sunny was a teen.
While Sunny was studying to be a pediatric nurse in Orange County, she was introduced to Jay Allen, a photographer for Penthouse magazine. She began modelling for Penthouse and was named Penthouse Pet of the Month for their March 2001 issue. Hot on the trails of her Penthouse gig, Sunny was featured in a 2001 Holiday edition of Hustler magazine as a Hustler Honey. Sunny has modelled for numerous other magazines, like Cheri, Mystique Magazine, High Society, Swank and AVN Online. In 2003, Sunny was named Penthouse Pet of the Year and starred in a video called Penthouse Pets in Paradise.
In 2003, Sunny entered the adult industry when she signed a three-year contract with Vivid Entertainment. Initially, Sunny said she would perform in girl/girl scenes only. She won an AVN Award for Best Interactive DVD for only her second movie, Virtual Vivid Girl, along with the distinction of being the first Vivid Girl to make an interactive movie. Sunny performed with men on camera for the first time in 2007 after signing a new contract with Vivid, but filmed exclusively with her fiancé, Matt Erikson. She got breast implants around this time, completing her porn star transition. In 2008, Sunny began working with other male porn stars like Tommy Gunn, Charles Dera, James Deen and Voodoo.
Sunny Leone opened her own studio, Sunlust Pictures, in 2009 with her partner Daniel Weber where she planned to write and direct her own films, while using Vivid Entertainment as a distributor. One of these productions, Gia Portrait of a Porn Star (2010) was nominated for multiple AVN awards. Sunny performed in her first anal sex scene for Goddess in 2012.
Sunny has made a huge impact in the porn business and was named one of Maxim's top 12 porn stars in 2010. She's worked as a red carpet reporter for MTV India's MTV Video Music Awards and starred in the Indian reality tv series Big Boss, which gave her a wider mainstream following. Sunny has also performed in the Bollywood thriller Jism 2 (not a porn film!) directed by Pooja Bhatt and has since shifted her focus to mainstream acting.
Sunny Leone retired from the porn industry in 2013, saying, “I am lucky that the audience is accepting me. I have come my way from there (porn industry). I don't have any plans of now to go back there.”