In her documentary Pamela, A Love Story, Pamela Anderson unleashes the darkest stories from her past. From her nightmarish youth to her turbulent relationship with Tommy Lee, the misunderstood model has been through the wringer.
One thing’s for certain: Pamela Anderson’s life is far more twisted than we realized.
1. She Was A Small-Town Girl
Pamela Anderson’s tragic childhood was only the beginning of her wild and trying life. Born in the small town of Ladysmith, British Columbia, Pamela grew up in a rickety house just next to the water. Her mother Carol was a waitress, while her father Barry was the resident bad boy—and she learned, firsthand, just how dangerous he could be.
2. She Has Daddy Issues
Pamela Anderson has always struggled with her relationships, and this can be traced back to her serious daddy issues. Barry was a chimneysweep, poker player, and conman who also had a penchant for drinking. Growing up, she and her brother often snuck away while their parents flew at one another with vicious insults. But that wasn’t all Pamela witnessed.
3. She Had A Dysfunctional Family
The dark side of Pamela’s childhood involved a lot of physical aggression—and it caused her mother to leave her father multiple times. Though they moved to a separate apartment, the conditions were abysmal. Her mother was on welfare and barely scraped by. But that was nothing compared to the most disturbing chapter of her youth.
4. She Had The Worst Babysitter
When she was only six years old, Pamela Anderson’s first nightmare truly began with a seemingly kind babysitter. In reality, however, the babysitter was touching Pamela inappropriately in secret over the course of three to four years.
Consistently told to keep silent, she did her best to protect her little brother. But fate had another horrible twist in store for her.
5. She Carried The Blame
Pamela’s babysitter tormented her so badly, she remembers trying to jab a pen into her heart. But when she actually told her babysitter that she wanted her dead, the unthinkable happened. The very next day, her babysitter got into a car accident and lost her life. Throughout the rest of her young life, Pamela truly believed that she was responsible.
Of course, as the young girl blossomed into a young woman, trouble continued to follow her.
6. She Fell For Bad Guys
Pamela had a rebellious streak from a very young age and always went for the “bad guys”. As a result, her first brushes with romance were downright awful. Her first boyfriend had the deranged habit of trying to run her over with his car and even pushed her out of a moving vehicle.
Unfortunately, when she eventually decided to move from her island town, her dating life did not improve.
7. She Escaped
For a sheltered girl like Pamela, moving to the mainland was like stepping into a whole new world. Though she met and moved in with a new boyfriend, she quickly discovered that he was cheating on her. Luckily, her life was about to change—and it all started with one fateful football game.
8. She Stood Out From The Crowd
In 1989, Pamela Anderson left her small-town life behind. Though she didn’t even like football, she ended up at the stadium because her friend had free tickets. They all wore Labatt’s T-shirts, but it was Pamela who stood out from the crowd.
The cameraman zeroed in on her, and everyone saw her face on the Jumbotron. She became known as “the Blue Zone girl”. This exposure had a startling ripple effect.
9. Everyone Wanted Her
Lo and behold, Pamela was such a popular sight at the football game, Labatt’s contacted her to star in a commercial, followed by a poster, and then a stream of other ads. But that wasn’t the best part.
Not long after, Pamela got a phone call so shocking—she never forgot it.
10. She Was Too Eager
Playboy called her up and said they wanted Pamela Anderson to be the cover model for her October issue, which meant she had to fly down to LA. She was completely overjoyed and accepted the offer, but getting to LA proved to be far more difficult than she’d imagined. When she got to the airport, she made the mistake of excitedly telling officials about her shoot.
11. She Used A Disguise
As a Canadian, Pamela wasn’t actually allowed to work in America, and they wouldn’t let her through. Her solution? She changed her entire outfit and tried another airline…where she was caught again. Running out of options, her last resort was taking a Greyhound bus. It was her only hope.
When she arrived at the border, Pamela could only pray that they wouldn’t catch her.
12. She Walked Straight Into A Fairy Tale
Thankfully, Pamela snuck her way into America—but when she arrived at the Playboy Mansion, she couldn’t believe her eyes. It was the picture of grandeur, and to the shy newcomer, it looked like a fairy-tale castle.
She wrote in her diary, “I am lost in amazement”. All of a sudden, she found herself surrounded by rich celebrities and gorgeous women. Though Pamela felt completely out of place, she was about to undergo a serious transformation of her own.
13. She Had An Upsetting Secret
Poor Pamela still carried a lot of shame about her body because of her past. You see, not only had she been violated by her babysitter, but she’d also had a chilling encounter at the age of 12. Her friend had taken her to hang out with some men that were a lot older, and she found herself alone, playing backgammon with a 25-year-old. It did not end well.
14. She Was Insecure
The much older man forced himself on the Pamela, and afterward, she never told anyone about the disturbing incident. Because it was one of her first experiences with men, it caused her a lot of confusion and pain. From then on, she became shyer than ever before and severely self-conscious.
So when Pamela arrived on set for her very first Playboy shoot, she had to face some of her darkest demons.
15. She Took Control
Stepping in front of the camera was Pamela’s opportunity to break free from her past and crippling insecurities. In her diary, she wrote about the experience, saying, “Shy at first. By end of the week, you had to stop me from running out the door naked”. More than anything, it was a way for her take her power back and take control over her own body.
Pamela thought she was only in LA for a single photoshoot, but boy was she wrong.
16. She Got An Offer She Couldn’t Refuse
Right from the get-go, Pamela was a natural model and Playboy didn’t want to lose her. So when they offered her the chance to become a playmate, she signed right up.
Pamela moved to LA with barely anything to her name. She got herself situated in a little apartment with no furniture—and waited for her new life to begin.
17. Her Looks Came First
Perhaps the first harsh dose of reality Pamela faced was the public’s undying fascination with her looks, especially her chest. The attention became overwhelming, especially when she opted for plastic surgery. In every interview, her figure was the main topic of conversation. And yet, Pamela knew that she had so much more to offer.
18. She Wanted More
Modeling for Playboy, Pamela already felt as though she was stepping into different characters—but she wanted to take it a step further. Though she had an acting career in the back of her mind, she wasn’t exactly the savviest businesswoman.
You see, the casting directors for Baywatch desperately wanted her on their show. But Pamela had a shocking response.
19. She Was The Girl They Needed
When Pamela heard that she’d have to travel to Marina del Rey to audition, she ignored the casting call because it sounded far away and exotic. But Baywatch was absolutely certain that they’d found their girl. Luckily for viewers everywhere, they did not give up.
When Pamela finally joined the Baywatch team, she had no clue what she was doing. She did, however, make one heck of a splash.
20. She Became A Baywatch Sensation
During filming, Pamela and her co-stars didn’t realize just how popular their show would be. In her recent Netflix documentary, she reminisced, “We were having a ball. We couldn’t even believe we were working, because we were on the beach every day, getting paid for this”.
Of course, when Baywatch became a global sensation, Pamela became one of the hottest celebrities around—and with that came a line-up of very handsome suitors.
21. She Was Unlucky In Love
As her star began to rise, Pamela really leaned into her romantic side. She loved being in love, but that didn’t necessarily mean that she found the love she deserved. Relationships with men like Kelly Slater and Scott Baio only ended in disappointment and heartache. Oddly enough, she was even approached by a huge Hollywood actor.
22. He Made Her A Scandalous Proposal
Sylvester Stallone was as entranced by Pamela as the rest of the world was. He even made her a tantalizing offer. He promised to give her a Porsche and a condominium if she agreed to be his “number-one girl”. Scandalized at the notion that he had a roster of women, she refused. His response was jaw-dropping.
23. She Wanted To Fall In Love
Stallone dealt Pamela the cold hard truth. According to her, he said, “That’s the best offer you’re gonna get, honey. You’re in Hollywood now”. Still, despite the romantic pitfalls of her industry, Pamela was still on the lookout for true love. Then, in 1994, on New Year’s night, she met the quintessential bad boy who was destined to drive her crazy in every way possible.
24. She Met A Rockstar
While partying at the club Sanctuary with her friend Melanie, Pamela crossed paths with Mötley Crüe’s drummer, the infamous Tommy Lee. Their meeting was unforgettable.
Pamela had ordered a round of shots in celebration, but Tommy assumed the drink was just for him. He ran across the club, plopped himself down next to Pamela, and licked the side of her face.
25. She Was His Obsession
Pamela didn’t hesitate; she responded by licking her friend Melanie’s face—and the sloppy gesture of affection went around the entire circle. After that night, Tommy Lee became a man obsessed.
He wouldn’t stop calling Pamela and left suggestive messages on her answering machine like, “My Bologna has a first name, it’s L-A-R-G-E”. But his persistence didn’t end there.
26. She Couldn’t Shake Him
Consumed by her work schedule, Pamela didn’t have time to return Tommy’s calls and so she ignored them…But she couldn’t dodge him forever.
One day, she finally picked up the phone, and it was Tommy. She told him that she was too busy with work and that she was on her way to Cancun. Well, that’s just what the lovesick drummer needed to hear.
27. She Threw Caution To The Wind
Though Pamela urged Tommy not to come to see her in Mexico, he insisted. He simply said, “I’ll be there. I’ll find you”. Well, he certainly kept his word. Once the eager musician arrived with all of his buddies, Pamela finally gave in and decided to spend one night out with him. She thought to herself: “What could possibly go wrong?”
28. She Fell In Love
Pamela and Tommy completely lost themselves in one another while out at the club, high as the sky. She described it as “a big happy blur”. Over the course of mere hours, they began to have incredibly deep feelings for one another—and that’s when Tommy popped the question. He asked Pamela if she wanted to get married.
29. She Said Yes
Pamela shocked even herself when she agreed to become Tommy’s wife, but she had never felt this way about anyone before. In the place of a diamond ring, Tommy took his friend’s massive skull ring and slipped it onto Pamela’s finger. They huddled up in a booth and began planning their nuptials right then and there.
But this was the beginning of a love story so brutal—it’s impossible to forget.
30. She Wore A Bikini To Her Wedding
Pamela and Tommy spent only four days together before tying the knot on the beach: She wore a bikini and he wore board shorts. It wasn’t exactly a picture-perfect, white wedding, but Pamela felt like the luckiest girl in the world. She thought she’d finally found her “happily ever after”—but she was so, so wrong.
31. She Became Tabloid Fodder
Pamela’s affair with Tommy was so fast and furious that she didn’t tell her current boyfriend, Kelly Slater, that she’d met someone new until after she’d said, “I do”. But there were more upsets in store.
When the newlyweds returned to the real world, they became the target of all the paparazzi. Their whirlwind romance was big news and the press dogged their every move.
32. She Was A Pregnant Workaholic
While Pamela was working on her first film Barb Wire, she discovered she was pregnant. But this didn’t slow her down one bit. Pamela continued to show up for 18-hour work days, even kickboxing and wearing tight corsets despite her condition. But one day, she showed up for work and it was clear that something was horribly wrong.
33. She Lost Her Baby
According to the director of Barb Wire, David Hogan, “She came in and she looked horrible. She was pale and shaking so bad”. The ill actress ended up in the hospital, and that’s when the doctors gave her some truly earth-shattering news. She’d miscarried her baby. Both Pamela and Tommy were completely devastated. But that wasn’t all.
34. She Lashed Out
On their way home from the hospital, the grieving couple encountered swarms of paparazzi—and things got a little hairy. As Tommy began swerving the car to get around the buzzing press, Pamela finally snapped. In her documentary, she details opening her car door and slamming it into the paparazzi’s vehicle. And she didn’t stop there.
35. She Wanted To Be Left Alone
Pamela remembers hoisting herself on top of the paparazzi’s car with Tommy, who then proceeded to kick his foot through the windshield. More than anything, they just wanted to be left alone.
In the wake of her miscarriage, Pamela felt incredibly depressed, so much so that she wasn’t even fazed by the failure of her film Barb Wire. It was a dark time for the actress to say the least, but there were brighter times on the horizon.
36. She Became A Mother
When Pamela found out she was pregnant for the second time, she felt herself feeling hopeful again. She gave birth to her first son, Brandon Thomas Lee, in July 1995. For a while, she and Tommy lived in their happy bubble, completely captivated by their new baby. But it wasn’t long before her life came crashing down around her once more.
37. The Safe Went Missing
Tommy and Pam kept a massive safe in their garage, filled with a lot of sentimental valuables. One day, when Tommy went to retrieve something from the safe, he made a truly disturbing discovery: The safe was missing.
At first, he thought it was some kind of sick joke, but he was terribly mistaken.
38. She Received A Mysterious Package
The fiasco took an even darker turn when Pamela and Tommy received a mysterious package in the mail. Inside, Tommy found a VHS tape. Already riding a wave of anxiety, Pamela waited upstairs while her husband reviewed the contents of that awful tape.
Afterward, he came to her and said, “This is gonna be disturbing”.
39. The Tape Devastated Her
The VHS tape showcased Pamela and Tommy, unclothed and exposed. It was in that horrifying moment that Pamela realized that the missing safe also contained their home videos.
Not long after that chilling revelation, a letter came in the mail. This time, it was from Bob Guccione from Penthouse, and he had a question for the famous couple.
40. She Turned Down Five Million Dollars
Bob Guccione wanted to buy the right to the tape, offering Pamela and Tommy a whopping five million dollars. But this was something money couldn’t buy—and they refused the cash outright. They thought that if they recovered the original tape, the nightmare would end. But unfortunately, this was only the calm before the storm.
41. She Wanted To Fight For Her Rights
The scandal of Pamela Anderson’s life was about to ruin everything. The VHS tape got out; it was made available to the public. Suddenly the paparazzi reached new levels of harassment. But Pamela and Tommy wanted to fight for their rights to the tape. They hired a lawyer, but the 1997 deposition proved to be incredibly distressing.
42. She Felt Preyed Upon
When describing the deposition in her documentary, she said, “I didn’t know I was going to be completely humiliated…The lawyers basically said, ‘You’re in Playboy, you have no right to privacy’”.
What the lawyers failed to sympathize with was the fact that Pamela had chosen to be in Playboy, while the tape was something distributed against her will.
Unfortunately, the relentless deposition got so bad, she just couldn’t take it anymore.
43. She Worried About Her Baby
Faced with lawyers that were determined to drag her down, Pamela couldn’t help wondering why these men hated her so much. They kept calling her back over and over again. Now pregnant, however, she began to worry that her stress would affect the health of her baby. So she made a difficult choice.
44. She Signed The Dotted Line
Pamela and Tommy ended up dropping their lawsuit, but they sorely underestimated the power of the internet. Once their tape hit the web, it went completely viral. Now, it was so much more than physical distribution—the entire world had access to it. In her documentary, she confessed, “You can’t put a monetary number on the amount of pain and suffering that it caused”.
45. Her Image Never Recovered
After that, Pamela Anderson felt like her image never really recovered. The entertainment industry constantly used her as a punchline for their tasteless jokes. While the tape only enhanced Tommy Lee’s rockstar reputation, it completely destroyed Pamela’s. She said, “I knew at that point that my career was over”.
Sadly, her career wasn’t the only part of her life circling the drain.
46. Her Husband Was Jealous
During her last season of Baywatch, she didn’t tell her husband that she’d have to kiss her co-star, David Chokachi. His reaction was utterly disturbing.
He completely destroyed her trailer on set, trashing it and even punching a cabinet. You see, Tommy couldn’t control his jealousy—and it continued to disrupt Pamela’s life in a chilling way.
47. She Couldn’t Put Him First
Busy with work and raising her two boys, Pamela accepted that her romantic life with Tommy couldn’t come first, but he was not having it. He couldn’t cope with losing Pamela’s loving attention. In the documentary, she describes Tommy moaning on the floor, “I want my wife back. I want my wife back”.
But when Pamela stood up to him and told him that she needed his support, he lost it.
48. His Rage Scared Her
Scared of her own husband and what he would do, Pamela called 9-1-1…Officers took Tommy into custody, and he eventually faced charges for mistreating his wife and children. In her books, she claimed, “Tommy ripped Brandon off me and threw me and Dylan into a wall”. The consequences ripped the family apart.
After that, Tommy wasn’t allowed to go near his family and was eventually sentenced to six months behind bars. He hoped to make amends and reunite with his family, but Pamela was done.
49. She Refused To Take Him Back
Pamela wanted a divorce and there was no changing her mind. Though Tommy desperately sent her letter after letter, she refused to take him back even though it broke her heart. In her diaries she wrote, “I’ve never loved someone so deeply. And by deeply, I mean, I loved his soul. I feel like part of me has died”.
But even though she left the love of her life for the sake of her children, there was one thing she’d never be able to outrun.
50. Her Past Caught Up With Her
As Pamela’s children got older, they began to discover who their parents were and why they were so famous. The horrible tape kept shaking the foundations she stood on, especially when new rumors began to fly around. Apparently, some believed that Pamela and Tommy had intentionally leaked the footage as a publicity stunt.
Although she constantly fought the ghosts of her past scandals, Pamela forged onward and tried her best to find her fairy-tale ending. But that was easier said than done.
51. He Wasn’t Good Enough
In 2006, Pamela tried her hand at love once more and married another musician—Kid Rock. But at the end of the day, Kid Rock just didn’t provide the passionate love that Pamela had experienced with Tommy. He had set the bar, and every man she met from that point onward just never connected with her in the same way.
Therefore, it was doomed before it even began. Of course, Kid Rock was only the tip of the iceberg.
52. She Fell For An Addict
The very next year, she tried again. This time, she went for Rick Salomon, a professional poker player. Unfortunately, he also had a dark secret. He struggled terribly with addiction. As a result, Pamela had the marriage annulled, but this wasn’t the end of their story.
Years later, in 2014, the couple gave marriage a second shot after he got clean. But not even good behavior could make this couple flourish, and they separated for the second time.
53. She Never Watched Pam And Tommy
Just when Pamela felt like she’d moved on with her life, Hollywood decided to exploit her all over again. A television show was in production…and it was all about Pamela and Tommy and their leaked tape. The idea that her story would be rehashed for entertainment really affected Pamela.
Speaking about the show Pam and Tommy, she said, “It really gives me nightmares…I have no desire to watch it. Not gonna watch it. Never watched the tape, I’m not gonna watch this”.
54. She Couldn’t Stomach It
Though she refused to watch the show, her son Brandon did—and he was appalled by the portrayal of his parents, especially the way the script twisted the real storyline. Knowing that her story was being interpreted and distributed without her permission again made Pamela sick to her stomach.
All she could do was ignore it all and focus on her own path, which, for the first time in a long time, was finally headed in a positive direction.
55. She Made It To Broadway
When Broadway offered Pamela a role in the musical Chicago as Roxie Hart, she couldn’t turn them down. It was a big challenge—and with bloodthirsty critics all around, it was an undertaking that could go so wrong. But Pamela proved all the haters wrong and she received dazzling reviews of her Broadway run.
56. She Made A Heartbreaking Confession
In Pamela’s documentary, Pamela, A Love Story, she really opens up to her two grown boys, Brandon and Dylan, about her feelings for their father. Haunted by her disastrous love life, she tells Brandon, “I really loved your dad, like, for all the right reasons, and I don’t think I’ve ever loved anybody else”.
But there’s one person that might not be so happy with Pamela’s declarations of affection.
57. She Triggered His Wife
Pamela Anderson’s one true love Tommy Lee married 36-year-old Brittany Furlan, who is an internet personality and comedian. However, Furlan stirred up some controversy in the wake of Pamela’s documentary when she posted a very shady TikTok.
58. She Sparked Controversy
In the video, Furlan uses a “90s Pam Makeup” filter and impersonates Pamela, implying that the actress wouldn’t care if she found out that Furlan had passed. Her caption read, “Pls guys I gotta make jokes it’s how I cope”. Well, unsurprisingly nobody was laughing with her. After mounting backlash in the comments online, Furlan deleted the video—but the damage was already done.
59. She Did What She Had To Do
Knowing that her documentary focuses a lot on her relationship with Tommy Lee, Pamela Anderson admitted to The Wall Street Journal, “I’m sure it’s going to be annoying to his wife. I’d be annoyed”. But no matter how many toes she had to tread on, Pamela knew it was time to finally tell her story in her own words.