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Joshua Broome was once one of the most famous porn stars in the world. Just five years into his career, Josh starred in over 1,000 adult films, was named Top Adult Male Performer of the Year, and earned over a million dollars. 

But he wasn’t happy. In fact, at the height of his career, Josh was deeply depressed. 

Today, Josh has a wife and two beautiful children. He has a new career, a new community, and has left porn behind him completely. So how did Josh go from depressed porn star to a happy family man?

Josh spoke with Ever Accountable to share his story about the dangers of porn, the pain of isolation, and the power of love. 

How it all started

Josh grew up in a small town in South Carolina. “It was so small we didn’t even have a hospital, so I was born in the nearest big city,” he says. Josh’s mother was 16 years old when she had him. His father lived in the same town but wasn’t in the picture. 

“I would see my dad around town, like in the grocery store or at events.” Even though Josh’s dad never said hi, Josh still felt the need to prove himself. “Like maybe I wasn’t enough, otherwise, he would be in the picture.”

Josh’s mother was able to provide for Josh and give him plenty of opportunities. “She must’ve worked like 60 or 70 hours a week.” Josh played basketball, baseball, and even got into modeling when he was 14. When he went to college, Josh continued modeling on the side.

After two years of college, Josh decided to change plans. “I was having a lot of success in modeling. But logistically, I needed to be closer to all of the opportunities. So I sold my Jeep Cherokee, took all the money I had, and moved out to Hollywood.”

“I thought, This is going to be easy!” But for Josh, Hollywood turned out to be anything but easy. 

Life in Hollywood

At first, life in Hollywood was great. Josh was meeting exciting new people, enjoying parties, and living comfortably. Then he started running out of money.

Modeling is a competitive industry, and Josh wasn’t getting enough gigs to sustain his lifestyle. “Everyone was so ripped and muscular, and I just looked pretty average,” says Josh. So he got a part-time job as a bartender. “One day this group of girls came in and asked me if I’d considered acting. Adult acting. Like porn.” Josh told the girls that he didn’t do that kind of acting, but they gave him their agent’s card anyway.

Josh had been exposed to porn when he was in middle school. “My cousin and I found my uncle’s stash, and I’d been looking at porn ever since.” So when money became especially tight, Josh contacted the agent. “He turned out to be one of the biggest agents in the industry,” says Josh. The agent asked Josh if he’d like to be in a scene, and Josh reluctantly agreed. 

“And just like that, five years of my life was gone.”

Working in the porn industry

Josh signed with the agency, one of the most notoriously large agencies in the porn industry. It was just a few scenes, at first. Then they started asking for more.

“It was relentless. Once I signed, they took advantage of my need to prove myself and kept having me do more and more scenes.” Eventually, Josh was working about 20-25 times per month. Because of his diligence and drive, his success and fame began to grow. After five years, Josh had appeared in more than 1,000 films. “I was making good money. Really good money. More than most men in the industry ever make.” 

As Josh was asked to do more scenes, he continued to say yes. Before long, Josh was one of the most well-known male actors in porn and won Performer of the Year at an adult video awards show. 

But for all of his “success,” Josh began to realize that he was far from happy.

The shame began to creep in, and Josh started losing sight of who he was. “I saw myself as an object, only good for selling sex,” says Josh. He would get recognized in public and found himself struggling to even make eye contact with strangers. 

“Shaking hands with someone felt more intimate than sex,” says Josh. Even worse, everyone in his hometown knew about his career in porn: his family, his friends. The shame was almost too much.

Josh felt like he’d ruined his own life.

Finding hope

In the last six months of his career, Josh was at an all-time low. “I would come home from shooting a scene, wash my hands, and look at myself in the mirror,” says Josh. “I had no clue who I was or who I’d become.” Slowly, Josh sank into a state of intense depression. 

“Yeah, I kept working, but I was on autopilot,” says Josh. “What I was doing wasn’t real sex, and it was definitely not real intimacy.”

One day, Josh realized he couldn’t go on. “I wanted to die,” says Josh. “I didn’t know if there was a God, but I prayed to him asking him to take my life.” It was then that Josh realized he had to get out. So he called his agent, quit, and left Hollywood to start over.

It took years for Josh to adjust to a normal life. He would start a job at a gym or shelving at a grocery store, and someone would always recognize him. No matter where he went or what he did, his past continued to follow him.

“I would date girls, then they would find out who I was. And then it would be over.” 

One day, Josh met a woman who didn’t go anywhere. “I thought she was perfect, and I mean perfect. And I couldn’t lie to her.” So Josh told her about his past, who he was, what he’d done. But instead of running, she pressed deeper. She asked questions, brought down his walls, and cared for him even more. “I realized that someone could love me for who I was,” says Josh. 

Josh eventually married this woman. Together, they started a new life, a life where shame had no place. 

“Lust takes. Love gives.”

Today, Josh owns a gym with his wife and they have two beautiful children. His journey is marred with shame, pain, and guilt. However, he is grateful for what he has learned about the dangers of porn and how he can help warn others against it. 

“By consuming pornography or participating in it, you believe the lie that people are products and that sex is transactional,” says Josh. “And if you believe that people are products, then you start to treat them like products.”

Pornography teaches you that people don’t have intrinsic value––they are just products to be consumed. “It is like when you walk into a store to buy something,” says Josh. “You’ve been buying things all your life, so you’ll be surprised if someone told you that you can’t have something. Porn makes you treat people the same way. If someone can’t give you what you want, then they have less value to you.”

In relationships, Josh says, pornography can blur the lines between what is cheating and what is not. “If I’m okay with watching porn, then it’s fine if I receive [an inappropriate] text from my coworker, right? If she sends me photos, it’s still not cheating, and I already watch porn, so what’s the harm?” When you start to blur the lines of what boundaries you set in a relationship, those boundaries start to disappear.

Sex and sexuality are about connection, not consumption, says Josh. “Lust takes. Love gives. Sex is about intimacy, but anyone doing or watching porn forgets that.”

The power of accountability

Since leaving the porn industry, Josh has become outspoken about porn and how to combat it. He says that trust and accountability can make all the difference.

“You are only as free as you are honest about what’s controlling you. So unless you’re willing to be honest with yourself, and then with others, what’s stopping you from consuming something that is bad for you, something that’s controlling your thoughts and actions?”

Accountability, says Josh, is a great way to trust someone in your life to help you fight porn. “I tell my son not to touch the stove. And I tell him that because I love him and I don’t want him to get hurt. He just has to trust me.” Porn is very much like that stove. When we trust someone to say “Hey, I see that porn is a danger for you,” we are trusting them to keep us safe from its harmful effects. It is this level of trust that helps keeps us safe.

Accountability includes creating boundaries that make it easier. “For me, I don’t sleep with my phone in our bedrooms upstairs,” says Josh. “I plug it in at night and it stays downstairs.  Because why open the door for something to destroy you if you can remove it?” It may seem like an inconvenience, but Josh considers his new habits an easy trade for a better life. 

How YOU can find hope

Josh’s story proves that anyone can escape the tight grip of porn on their life. “When you allow porn to essentially hold you in bondage, it has power over you. It has power over your time. It has power over your thoughts. It has power over your decision-making. But freedom is possible.”

If you’re reading this and feel like porn has gained control over your life, do something about it. Talk to someone you trust, like a friend, or a family member, or your spouse. Take that first step in defeating the shame

If you want to remove porn from your life, consider downloading accountability software. Ask that person you trust to show up for you by being your accountability partner. You might be surprised at how willing people are to help.

And lastly: don’t give up. Porn is a battle so many people are fighting, and you’re not alone. 

“Celebrate how far you’ve come each step along the way,” says Josh, “Because there’s nothing better than being free.”