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CHATSWORTH, Calif. - Ranae Shrider, a well-spoken and witty 22-year-old, is working hard these days to make the best of things. Her picture and name weren't plastered across celebrity and entertainment websites during the six months she dated actor Verne Troyer, but the confirmed existence of a sex tape featuring the former couple changed all that.
In an exclusive video interview with AVN, Shrider addressed several rumors, including those about where the sex tape was made, how she and Troyer met and the current status of the relationship.
Shrider said the sex tape - a 25-second clip of which has been posted on celebrity-news website TMZ - was filmed during the couple's stay over Easter weekend 2008 at Raffles L'Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills, not in the couple's North Hollywood home, as previously was reported.
Shrider - who grew up in Kentucky and attended the University of South Florida before moving to Hollywood in July 2007 to pursue an acting career - said she and Troyer met on New Year's Eve 2007 at a party at the Playboy Mansion.
"I was totally not in my element there," she said. "A friend I was with said, ‘Let's go over there and meet Mini-Me.' I was hoping to meet someone like Ian Ziering, but hey."
Shrider said Troyer asked her for her phone number several times, but she said he asked several other girls for theirs, too. She said she eventually gave in and gave him her number, never expecting to hear from him.
"The next day, he called and told me it was his birthday," she said. "I was like, ‘Um, well, happy birthday.'"
Troyer - who became famous for playing Mini-Me in the Austin Powers movies and for his stint on the fourth season of VH1's reality show "The Surreal Life" - was born Jan. 1, 1969.
Shrider said the relationship progressed through phone calls during Troyer's three-week stay in England while filming The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. When Troyer returned to the U.S. on Jan. 23, Shrider said, the two met up and began a full-fledged relationship.
"We drive in the fast lane," she said with a laugh. "We carpool there."
As for the sex tape, Shrider said, the couple had been dating for several months when they decided to document their intimate moments during a romantic getaway.
"Neither of us had ever done anything like that before," she said. "We thought, ‘Why not?' We were in a beautiful setting, and we thought it would be something good for our personal use."
However, Shrider insisted, filming sexual romps was not a normal activity for the couple. A lot of their life was "all about normalcy," she said. On more than one occasion, they discussed marriage, she added, but the relationship soured in June. They still live together, but they lead separate lives with separate bedrooms and try to be "civil to each other."
Having become a public figure since news of the sex tape was broadcast, Shrider said, she knows people crack jokes about her appearance and her reasons for being with Troyer.
"But I want everyone to know I really cared about him," she said. "And I know people are trying to say that I am trying to cash in on my 15 minutes of fame and that's why I dated him in the first place. If that was really the case, you would have heard about me months ago.
"I'm just a normal person, and not just ‘that girl from the sex tape.' I still go to auditions. I still go to acting classes. ... I am still having to do everything that everyone else has to do. But I am strong and not scared of anything. And I do know that you need to stand up for yourself."