The tape, Tommy Lee, kids: All the bombshells from Pamela Anderson’s Netflix doc, memoir
Nearly one year after "Pam & Tommy," Hulu’s limited series about Pamela Anderson’s stolen sex tape, the “Baywatch” star is revealing her side of the story in a Netflix documentary, "Pamela, a Love Story" and in a memoir, “Love, Pamela,” both out Tuesday.
The actress, whose bombshell beauty is memorialized in slow motion runs in an iconic bikini on “Baywatch” and in the pages of “Playboy,” writes that she and her ex-husband, Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, “never made a ‘sex tape.’ We just filmed each other, always, and lived a sexy passionate life: sweet newlyweds. Just two crazy naked people in love."
What resulted is a video that many outlets report earned $77 million in just one year, although Anderson says she hasn’t seen a dime from it. And that’s not her only heartache. In her latest projects, Anderson, 55, also shares the devastation of childhood sexual abuse and a fruitless quest for love.
‘I feel sick’: Anderson reacts to Hulu’s ‘Pam & Tommy’
News of Hulu's plans for the eight-part "Pam & Tommy," starring Lily James and Sebastian Stan as the ’90s power couple, gave Anderson nightmares, she says in the docuseries.
“I didn’t sleep last night at all,” she says. “I have no desire to watch it. Not going to watch it. Never watched the tape. I’m not going to watch this.”
She says she texted Lee about the miniseries, and he advised her: “Pamela, just don’t let it hurt you as much as it did the first time.”
“I blocked that out of my life,” she says in the film. “It was a survival mechanism, and now that it’s all coming up again, I feel sick. Basically, you are just a thing owned by the world, like you belong to the world.”
Distribution of the stolen video ‘felt like a rape’
The tape was inside a safe stolen by disgruntled electrician Rand Gauthier, who’d been working on the couple’s Malibu home.
Anderson says she and Lee first received a tape in the mail of them having sex. She says that later they were offered $5 million for the tape from Penthouse founder Bob Guccione. The couple declined the offer, but the tape was released publicly in 1996.
Anderson and Lee attempted to sue the distributor, and she was deposed in October 1997, while pregnant with her son Dylan, now 25.
Anderson recalls being “completely humiliated” in a room adorned with her nude pictures, where she was questioned about her sex life. “The lawyers basically said, ‘You’re in Playboy, you have no right to privacy.’” But to Anderson, the distribution of the video “felt like a rape.”
Concerned over how continuing the lawsuit stress would affect her pregnancy (she previously miscarried), the pair signed over rights of the tape to Internet Entertainment Group in November 1997. “After that, it just felt like that solidified kind of the cartoon image too,” she says. “You become a caricature. I think that was the deterioration of kind of whatever image I had.”
Marital troubles lead to a suicide attempt, abuse
Lee’s jealousy tainted their fairytale union, Anderson writes. “Baywatch” scenes with men angered the rocker.
One evening, “confused, sad, tired, not in my right mind,” Anderson climbed into the bathtub and washed down a bottle of Advil with vodka. She ended up vomiting.
The previous day, Lee had crashed his car into a trailer on the set, she writes, “punched the cabinets out in the makeup room, and thrown me into his car, driving off the set, tires spinning.” He left her at their condo, where she “cried all night. I couldn’t take it anymore, and I didn’t know what to do. It was a depth of despair I’d never felt – and I’d been through a lot.”
Parenthood proved stressful for Lee, Anderson writes. His desire to be a priority for his wife erupted in a physical altercation one evening. When Anderson told Lee, “You have to grow up, Tommy. It’s not just about you anymore,” she writes, “he lost it.”
“His eyes went black as he grabbed the phone away from me, twisting my arm as I was holding Dylan (then 7 weeks old) in the other. My nail tore off, blood dripping down my arm. The kids were so frightened. I picked up Brandon, too, but he slid frantically down my leg and held on to it tight, hyperventilating. Tommy ripped Brandon off me and threw me and Dylan into the wall.”
Anderson called the police, and Lee was arrested and sentenced to six months in jail for spousal abuse.
“The divorce from Tommy was the hardest, lowest, most difficult point of my life,” writes Anderson. “We were both devastated, but I had to protect my babies.”
Although Anderson says the two had sex after Lee’s release, their reunion didn’t last because “neither of us could forgive the other, deep down. We just weren’t equipped to get through it all.”
‘I thought I was bad’: Anderson shares history of sexual abuse
Anderson estimates in “Pamela, a Love Story” that she was sexually abused by a babysitter for three to four years as a young child. “I tried to kill her,” says Anderson. “I tried to stab her in the heart with a candy cane pen.” The babysitter later died in a car accident.
At 12, Anderson says she was raped by a 25-year-old and that she blamed herself for the assault. “I was in shock,” she writes in her memoir, “falling apart, molecules, dust, liquid . . . My life evaporating.
“I thought I was bad, and I was ashamed,” she writes. “It hurt me a lot, keeping this secret.”
Even at her first Playboy shoot, in September 1989, she remembers getting sick after a makeup artist touched her breast. “I started to feel nauseous, faint, I had to stop,” Anderson writes. “I ran to the bathroom and got sick. My makeup was ruined. I couldn’t believe a woman had touched me there, I just couldn’t.”
But posing for the magazine was “empowering,” Anderson writes. “It helped me in ways I could never articulate – I took my power back – I had to – It was a chance to realize a new life, a new adventure…”
In a Variety cover story published last week, Anderson denied being a “victim" or "damsel in distress."
“I’ve made my choices in my life," she said. "Some obviously, were made for me, but I’ve always been able to find myself again. And it’s created a strong person and a strong parent.”
If you or someone you know is in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988, the national mental health hotline, for confidential support 24/7 or chat at 988lifeline.org.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Pamela Anderson Netflix doc, memoir: Revelations on Tommy Lee, rape