Veronica Franco was born into a middle-class family and married and separated from her husband by the age of 18. She became a courtesan to support herself and had affairs with numerous wealthy men, including King Henri III of France. She was well educated and known for her skill in conversation on literature and art as well as for her poetry. In 1580, she successfully defended herself before the Venetian Inquisition against a charge of witchcraft. She was portrayed in the 1998 movie Dangerous Beauty, based on the biography The Honest Courtesan by Margaret F. Rosenthal.