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As the lead drummer of Mötley Crüe, Tommy Lee’s net worth has always reflected his rock star lifestyle—whether we’re talking the good or the bad. Of course, this includes the period of his life in which he was married to Baywatch star Pamela Anderson, so we’re diving into exactly how Tommy Lee’s net worth compares to hers below.
But first, let’s get to know Lee’s career thus far. While the drummer has made headlines in recent years as the subject of biopic projects like Hulu’s Pam & Tommy or TNT’s Pam & Tommy: The Tape That Changed America, he’s also largely known as a drummer to the legendary heavy metal band, Mötley Crüe. Lee’s interest in music was sparked when he was just a child after he received his very first set of drum sticks at the age of four. Later, when he was a teenager, Lee got his first full drum set and dropped out of high school to pursue a career in music full time. His first band was Suite 19, which he started in L.A. after being influenced by the likes of Led Zeppelin, Van Halen and Kiss. During one Suite 19 show on the Sunset Strip in California, Lee met his future bandmate, Nikki Sixx. It was Sixx who convinced Lee to leave Suite 19 to start what would one day become Mötley Crüe.
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Lee quickly shot to fame thanks to the band, which soon included lead vocalist Vince Neil and guitarist Mick Mars alongside Sixx. With Mötley Crüe, the drummer has since released 20 albums—including studio, compilations and live records—six of which have gone platinum. As a solo artist, Lee аlѕо fоrmеd а bаnd knоwn аѕ Меthоdѕ оf Мауhеm before taking his talents to the screen on his own reality series, Tommy Lee Goes to College on NBC.
While his professional career has clearly been a huge success, that doesn’t mean that Lee’s life hasn’t had any roadblocks. The drummer’s divorce from Pamela Anderson and the multi-million dollar lawsuit over their infamous sex tape took a toll on him throughout the years—not to mention, it had an impact on his net worth. Read on ahead to find out about Tommy Lee’s net worth today, along with how much he’s made from Mötley Crüe and how it compares to his ex-wife Pamela Anderson’s net worth.
How much did Tommy Lee make with Mötley Crüe?
As a founding member of the band, Tommy Lee’s Mötley Crüe earnings have made him the richest member of the group today. According to The Richest, Lee’s paychecks with the band began with their 1981 debut album, Too Fast For Love, which earned the rockstar an estimated $1 million in record sales. Two years later, the group’s sophomore album, Shout at the Devil, earned Lee a whopping $4,335,000 and went on to become certified 4x platinum by the RIAA.
Following their breakthrough record, Lee went on to earn millions more for his work with the group—including an estimated $4.3 million for 1985’s Theatre of Pain, $4.2 million for 1987’s Girls, Girls, Girls and a stunning $6.4 million payday from the album Dr. Feelgood in 1989. In addition, Lee and his bandmates raked in hundreds of thousands of more in earnings from their compilation and live album releases, such as their 1998 Greatest Hits record, which reportedly brought in another $500,000 for Lee alone.
Altogether, The Richest estimates Lee made over $26 million as a member of Mötley Crüe over the years. His ex-wife Pamela Anderson, by comparison, was earning around $300,000 per episode of Baywatch, bringing home a salary of around $6.6 million at the peak of her career.
What is Tommy Lee’s net worth?
So, what’s Tommy Lee’s net worth today? According to Celebrity Net Worth, Tommy Lee’s net worth is $70 million as of 2022. By comparison, his ex-wife Pamela Anderson is worth a reported $20 million as of 2022.
While Tommy Lee’s net worth is pretty impressive today, this doesn’t mean that the rockstar hasn’t faced his fair share of money troubles—and many of them date back to his relationship with the Baywatch star. The pair, who famously got married after only four days of knowing each other, quickly faced financial issues after they returned from their honeymoon when Anderson moved into Lee’s Malibu house. At the time, Lee’s home was being renovated; the newlyweds, however, were unhappy with the work that was being done on the property and decided to fire several of their employees without pay. Unfortunately, it was one of the worst choices they could have made.
One of their ex-employees took revenge after he was laid off by stealing the couple’s honeymoon sex tape. The former electrician—whose name is Rand Gauthier—destroyed the original tape and went on to sell copies of the clip to the highest bidder. As soon as Lee and Anderson found out, they filed a $10 million lawsuit against anyone they suspected of having a copy. In 1997, the court imposed an injunction against Gauthier, prohibiting him from creating or distributing copies of the tape. But it was too late; he already made $77 million off of the tape.
Anderson and Lee were forced to enter into a confidential settlement with video distribution company Internet Entertainment Group, which went on to make the tape available to subscribers for a fixed price on its site. “It was ridiculous. It was a total invasion of our privacy. This is, like, sacred, you know,” Lee said of their leaked sex tape during a 20/20 tell-all. “Not being able to do anything … about it was adding so much frustration and stress to our relationship. It was just consuming us.”
But this wasn’t the worst of it. Lee and Anderson’s marital woes came to a head in 1998, when Lee was arrested and sentenced to six months in jail for felony spousal battery after a physical incident at their house that prompted the Barb Wire actress to petition for divorce. Following his divorce, Lee was required to attend therapy, perform 200 hours of community service and contribute money to anti-domestic violence organizations. While the total expense of Lee and Anderson’s divorce and ensuing custody battle from 2001 to 2002 was never made public, this period in the rocker’s life certainly cost him.
In 2022, Anderson and Lee’s life and sex tape scandal was made into a series Pam & Tommy, in which Lily James played Anderson and Sebastian Stan played Lee. A source told Us Weekly in January 2023 that Anderson released her Netflix documentary, Pamela, A Love Story, because of how the biopic “sensationalized” her life. “The Hulu series played a huge role in Pam deciding to share her story,” the insider said. “She hated how sensationalized the story was and wanted to be able to tell hers from the beginning.”
In an interview with Variety in January 2023, Anderson revealed that she “refused” to watch the series. “It was just shocking,” she said. “Tommy probably thought it was funny. I remember Tommy writing me a note saying, ‘Don’t let this hurt you like it did the first time,’ because he had heard through the kids that I was kind of struggling with the idea of bringing this all up again. I don’t think he was portrayed kindly. I just know that I refuse to watch it.”
She also called the creators of the series “assholes.” “Salt on the wound. … You still owe me a public apology.” she said. “It just looked like a Halloween costume to me.” Still, she told Variety that she didn’t have anything negative against James and even invited her to the premiere of her documentary in January 2023. “I said to Netflix, ‘I’d love to invite Lily to the premiere of the movie,’” Anderson said. “I think it’s hard to play somebody when you don’t know the whole picture. I’ve got nothing against Lily James. I think that she’s a beautiful girl and she was just doing the job. But the idea of the whole thing happening was just really crushing for me.”
She also explained to Variety why she didn’t consider herself a “victim” by what happened to her by Pam & Tommy or anything else in her life. “I’m not a victim, and I’m not the damsel in distress,” Anderson said. “I’ve made my choices in my life. 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.”
For more about Pamela Anderson, read her 2023 book, Love, Pamela. The memoir takes readers through Anderson’s life and career, from her childhood as a deeply shy daughter of unprepared parents in Vancouver Island to how she became the blonde bombshell she’s known as today and found herself on the cover of magazines, sets of movies, arms of rockstars and the halls of the Playboy Mansion. The book, which is described as “honest, layered and unforgettable,” also explores how, as Anderson’s star rose, she lost control of her own narrative and became the subject of the tabloids and paparazzi who crafted a public perception of her she no longer recognized. In Love, Pamela, Anderson “breaks the mold of the celebrity memoir while taking back the tale that has been crafted about her.”
Pam & Tommy is available to stream on Hulu. Here’s how to watch it for free.
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