Sunny Leone was born in Sarnia, Ontario to Sikh Punjabi parents. Her father was born in Tibet and raised in Delhi, while her mother (who died in 2008) was from Sirmaur, Himachal Pradesh. As a young girl, she was very athletic and played street hockey with the boys, and ice skating on a nearby frozen lake.
Although the family was Sikh, her parents enrolled her in Catholic school as it was felt to be unsafe for her to go to public school. There she had her first kiss at 11, lost her virginity to a basketball player at another school at 16, and discovered her bisexuality at age 18. When she was 13, her family moved to Fort Gratiot, Michigan, then to Lake Forest, California a year later, fulfilling her grandparents' dream that the family be together in one place. She graduated from high school in 1999 and enrolled in college.