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Steele was born in Dallas, Texas, the daughter of a college professor. She has described herself as having been a very shy and introverted child, relating in a 2001 interview with AVN, "I used to hide behind my parents' legs when people would say hi to me." Before entering pornography she held a position as a financial officer at a yacht company in Texas.
In the early-1990s, while working as a jewelry saleswoman in a Dallas shopping mall, Steele met Michael Raven, a car salesman who sold her a new Miata. They married, finding a common interest in pornography and swinging, and moved to Los Angeles, California to turn their hobbies into careers. Their marriage lasted for ten years, during which Raven became a known pornographic film director.