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That same year, Michaels met 16-year-old Tracy Lewis, who would become both his girlfriend and the muse for one of his most memorable songs. De Ville, who would become both Michaels' friend and a source of conflict.
Eventually, Matt Smith tired of the band's struggle to find fame and returned home. Local publicity about the band eventually led to a record deal with Enigma Records, and their first album, Look What the Cat Dragged In.
Also cited is the spectacle of De Ville's behavior during the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards.
After getting into a fistfight with Michaels, De Ville left the band, and descended further into addiction. In the mid-1990s, after a night of partying, Michaels came close to dying when he crashed his Ferrari into a telephone pole. Deville, Poison went on a successful greatest hits reunion tour.
Though Michaels contends that Lewis was unfaithful to him, Lewis (now Lewis Crosby) insists that it was Michaels who was unfaithful.
In 2000 Michaels released a country demos ep and also released the album "Show Me Your Hits" which featured re-recorded Poison classics, the album featured Michaels performing Poison hits in a new way and also featured other artists with Michaels on selected tracks.
In 2001 Michaels released a unique storytellers CD titled Ballads, Blues & Stories which featured Poison and Michaels solo tracks along with recorded stories about each song. In December 2008, Michaels released a single version of "Driven" (rock mix) which also featured a music video with preview clips for the third season of Rock of Love, titled Rock of Love Bus.
Michaels has appeared in several movies and TV shows, including as a judge on the talent show Nashville Star.
He starred in the hit VH1 reality show Rock of Love with Bret Michaels and its sequels, then released Rock My World.