A native of conservative Long Beach, CA, and the son of a used-furniture salesman father, Jesse James -- the great-great grandson of the notorious Western outlaw -- survived a beleaguered youth and time spent in juvenile detention to become one of the U.S.'s top celebrity motorcycle enthusiasts. He began his motorcycle career in secondary school, by designing a lucrative line of clothing patterned after classic period biker wear. By his early twenties, James moved into a highly successful business venture building custom motorcycles for celebrities including Keanu Reeves, Shaquille O'Neal, and Kid Rock. (A periodical reported in 2005 that the cycles were selling for between 60,000 and 120,000 dollars each.)
James' greatest public recognition, however, undoubtedly came from the Discovery Channel reality series Monster Garage, in which he turned average automobiles into souped-up "monster machines" on-camera. He also was featured in several Discovery Channel specials under the banner Motorcycle Mania, in which he did the same for motorcycles. On a business level, James continued his active pursuits and eventually branched out into diverse areas, including a line of female apparel christened "Jesse's Girl" and an all-organic, solar-powered burger restaurant called Cisco Burgers. James made headlines in 2005 for wedding the popular Hollywood actress Sandra Bullock, who divorced him after learning of an extramarital affair. He had previously been married to Karla James and adult film actress Janine Lindemulder.