The shiny, young, new star of the upcoming The Hills reboot Brandon Lee didn’t have a normal childhood by any means as the older son of headline-making exes Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee. But his famous mom had a very relatable reaction when he showed up back at home, two weeks after he left for college, announcing that he had already dropped out.
Lee, 22, grew up in Malibu, Calif., with his divorced parents but attended boarding school for five years on Vancouver Island in the Canadian province of British Columbia. Funny enough, living away from L.A. at school is actually “where I discovered acting,” he said in a new interview with WWD and he started appearing in stage productions. When it came to college, he stayed up north, selecting one in Kingston, Ontario, which is on Lake Ontario between Toronto and Montreal. But he wasn’t there long.
When he “went to college for two weeks,” Lee said he “realized I didn’t like my theater professor, and I was out of there.” However, his surprise return home to the Baywatch star’s digs wasn’t a warm-and-fuzzy reunion. “I came home and my mom saw me come back in the gate with my bags and she was like, ‘Get the f*** out of here.'”
Lee — who previously described both of his parents as “pissed” over his abrupt decision, leading him to have to find other housing accommodations (though he wasn’t officially kicked out) — said that led to him having to hustle a bit. He got a job at a smoothie shop and was living on a friend’s couch when he started landing modeling jobs for brands like Tommy Hilfiger. Things then “got really crazy for me for a second” and too much partying led to his seeking treatment for addiction.
“Three years ago is when I got sober,” he continued. “I was living in Hollywood, it was a lot of distractions: Everyone’s going out every night, and it’s distracting for a young kid. You want to live like that, you want to live like a movie star. You want to go out to the club every night, girls are everywhere, this and that, and that made me happy for 10 minutes. It was making me happy in the moment, but at the end of the day, when everyone goes home, you don’t feel good.”
In the interview, Lee didn’t discuss his relationship with his dad, with whom he had an epic blowout last Father’s Day (but they have since made up) — and the musician posted online that he had paid for his son’s stint in rehab. However, Lee did say that because of his famous parents, who split bitterly and were on and off for a chunk of Lee’s childhood, he never thought he would pursue a career in front of the camera.
“For the longest time, I never thought I would do anything like this,” he said referring to The Hills. “Because when I was a little baby … it’s different being born into my family. When I was a little baby, I had paparazzi jumping over my fence trying to take photos of me, all this stuff, and it was a lot for a kid. I could not handle it.”
Being part of The Hills reboot is his speed though, he said. “Before, if MTV had asked me six months ago, I would’ve been like, ‘Absolutely not.’ But they asked me at the right time, and I was in the right place, and magic happened,” he said, adding, “I never thought in my whole life I’d ever do a reality show.”
While Lee, who is also pursuing acting gigs and will still be modeling after taking time off, is back and forth between L.A. and New York, his mom is now living in France so she can be closer to her footballer beau Adil Rami, whom she met in 2017. In a recent interview with Canale 5 TV show Verissimo, she admitted, “I miss my children” and “can’t wait for the next time they’ll come visit me.” But “they are 22 and 21 and they just bought a house together in California. They are very independent; I couldn’t be prouder of them. One is an actor and the other is a musician, and they don’t need their mother anymore.”
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