- Holly Honderich
In the 30 years since she first ran along the shores of California on Baywatch, which remains one of the most watched series of all time, fans and critics have become familiar with various parts of Pamela Anderson’s life story: the covers of Playboy magazine, A leaked sex tape, multiple marriages.
And he distributed a stolen video, featuring intimate footage of Anderson with her first husband, Tommy Lee, raking in over $75 million in sales in the first year just for its leak?
A fictional series about Anderson’s ordeal, which was produced by US streaming service Hulu, received widespread acclaim and earned 10 Emmy nominations.
The Canadian-born blonde tells this story herself, in a book of memoirs and in a nearly two-hour documentary on Netflix.
Anderson, 55, reportedly began working on these projects years ago, when she first learned about the release of “Pam & Tommy” on Hulu.
“I withheld this stolen tape from my life to survive,” she says in the documentary’s trailer. “Now that it’s back again, I feel bad.” “I want to take control of the narrative for the first time,” she added.
Here’s a look inside Anderson’s new book Love Pamela, written without the help of a shadow writer, in a close-up of one of the world’s most iconic women.
A violent childhood in a small town in Canada
Anderson was born in Ladysmith, a small town on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, on the western edge of Canada.
She describes her childhood in the island’s woods, making chocolate candies and chasing garter snakes alongside “fragrant purple lilacs, sour grapes in the vines choking the trunks of sour green apples”.
But these idyllic scenes are interrupted by the noisy and sometimes violent conflict between her young parents. Anderson had previously said how her father, an alcoholic, used to physically abuse her mother.
Anderson was also subjected to horrific abuse and recounted three separate cases of sexual violence, which she experienced before she was 18 years old.
In one incident, Anderson says she was molested by a babysitter when she was between 6 and 10 years old. “At that time, I couldn’t understand anything. She was threatening me and telling me not to tell anyone. Otherwise.”
Then, when she was 12, she was raped by a 25-year-old acquaintance. Later, at the age of 14, she was assaulted by her high school boyfriend and a group of his friends. She indicated that she did not tell anyone about this and tried to prevent herself from thinking.
from shade to “play boy“
Anderson was discovered while working in a tanning salon when she was 22 years old.
Anderson was sitting with a friend at a B Lions football game in Vancouver, and was shown on the stadium screen by a roaming stadium camera, while wearing a T-shirt bearing the logo of La Pat, a Canadian beer company.
Labatt took notice and soon hired Anderson as her spokeswoman and used her face in posters and commercials.
Anderson soon caught the eye of Playboy and the magazine called her to Los Angeles for a photoshoot.
In promoting her book this year, Anderson told the British Sunday Times that she received a call from Playboy the same day she found out her fiancé was cheating on her.
Anderson said her first photoshoot with Playboy gave her an idea of how she might feel about her body. She added, “(Then) my sexuality was mine. I had my strength back.”
The Baywatch star has appeared on 14 Playboy covers, more than any other person in the magazine’s history. She said Playboy founder Hugh Hefner was the only person who treated her with complete respect.
The many marriages
Anderson wrote in her memoirs: “As I grew up, I noticed that most of the men in my romantic relationships were bad, and it was getting worse each time.”
The first men she loved were masculine and capricious, perhaps in the manner of her father. But none of them seemed to deter her desire for romance.
Anderson has been married six times, to five different men. Perhaps the most famous is the former: Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee. Four days after their engagement in February 1995, they married on a beach in Cancun, Mexico, with Anderson in a bikini.
But what began as a dream-like fairy tale fell apart after three years and two children. What caused the violent end to the relationship, Anderson says, was the sale and distribution of footage of her and Lee having sex, stolen from a safe in their home in Malibu, California.
Anderson wrote that it “ruined many lives, starting with our relationship, and it is inexcusable that people, to this day, believe it is acceptable to profit financially from this horrific experience,” and said the sex tape theft and ensuing scandal was “some of the most difficult.” The things I’ve been through.”
Lee later served six months behind bars for kicking Anderson while she was holding their seven-week-old son, Dylan, violence that prompted her to file for divorce.
The newly divorced couple have reconciled several times since then. Anderson describes her relationship with Lee as “probably the only time in my life that I fell in love”.
Visit the Kremlin
Anderson, who lives with three dogs at her late grandmother’s home in Ladysmith, is a longtime vegan, spokesperson for PETA, animal rights activist and environmentalist.
This activity has led to some bizarre high-level encounters, including with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom she met during a PETA trip to the Kremlin.
“Putin only entered the room once, but he heard everything,” she told Variety. “I was getting messages from other people that he was glad I was there.”
Anderson’s human rights activism also led to a friendship with Julian Assange, a friendship that included several visits to meet the WikiLeaks founder at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he had sought asylum.
The relationship was platonic, she said: “We would talk through the night, drink mezcal, laugh and tell stories.”