The Client List premiered on Lifetime last night to largely rave reviews, largely thanks to its mind-bending premise. It gets even more intriguing when you realize that the story — starring Jennifer Love Hewitt as Samantha Horton, a mother who turns to prostitution to pay the bills — is based on an actual living, breathing prostitute mom. So who is the real-life Samantha Horton? Most likely Cynthia Martinez, a woman whose tragic fall has more than a few parallels to plot of The Client List.
Both the fictional Horton and the real Martinez lived and plied their trade in Texas. Both also tried to hide their prostitution activity by calling it “massage.” And both put their kids first. As Martinez told the press, she moved to Dallas’ tony University Park neighborhood because, “my main motivation was a good education without having to pay private school prices. I know they want more desirable people. But this is what they are going to get until my kids graduate from high school.”
The big difference between Horton and Martinez? While Hewitt’s Horton was a “massage parlor” employee, Martinez owner her own “massage” business, run out of her home. Martinez denied that her parlor, which wasn’t properly licensed, doled out anything but massages. She was, however, charged with prostitution.
What’s next for cable TV? We’ve got mom selling marijuana on Weeds, mom turning tricks on The Client List, and dad cooking meth on Breaking Bad. Is anything left?
[UPDATE: Thanks, commenters! It looks as if it is Crystal Burchett’s story. Due to Hewitt owning the rights, that has been harder to find out than usual. Amazing that there are TWO Texas prostitute/masseuse moms, doing it for their families, eh?]