Pamela Anderson’s upcoming memoir is about much more than a sex tape.
In a New York Times piece, she speaks about her book, Love, Pamela, which come out Jan. 31 — the same day her Netflix doc, Pamela, A Love Story, drops on Netflix.
“Beginning to end, my first memory to my last,” is what is included in the book, she told the outlet.
As in, it’s about more than the 54-minute home video she and then-husband Tommy Lee made as newlyweds, circa 1995, which was stolen from a safe, edited down to the eight-minute sex scenes and distributed, via VHS, in the early days of the world wide web. The pair didn’t make money off the tape.
She’s said that when Hulu released Pam & Tommy last year, telling the story of the tape with Lily James playing her and Sebastian Stan playing the Mötley Crüe drummer, she thought, “It was already hurtful enough the first time. It’s like one of those things where you’re going, ‘Really ?People are still capitalizing off that thing?’”
Anderson did not watch the series — nor did she reply to James, who sent her a handwritten letter asking if they could speak and telling her she wanted to honor her in the role. The Playboy model and Baywatch star, now 55, actually didn’t even read James’s letter. It notes “a scanned copy of that letter still sits in [Anderson’s] inbox somewhere, unread.”
Lily James as Anderson for Hulu’s Pam & Tommy last year:
As for the narrative that the Hulu show would be correcting the historical narrative on Anderson’s behalf — when she was made into a punchline for the tape while her ex was seen as a masculine hero — she said, “I mean, I’m probably a case study for any feminist.”
But she did her own deep dive into her life to tell her story for the first time. It came about after she considered posting parts of her story on her website or just for her sons with Lee, Brandon and Dylan, to read. But Brandon, in the wake of Pam & Tommy, urged her to publish it and “I work for him,” she joked. He is a co-producer on the doc for which she turned over her home videos, without reviewing them, and diaries.
Among the topics she gets candid about include growing up poor in Ladysmith, British Columbia with a violent father and a mother who tried but never successfully left him. Childhood was “unbearable” at times and she was the victim of abuse more than once. She was molested by a babysitter. Her first sexual experience with a man, when she was about 13 and he was 10 years older, resulted in rape. One high school boyfriend kicked her out of a moving car, and another let his friends assault her in the back of a car which she “blocked out.” (In a 2014 speech launching her Pamela Anderson foundation, she revealed that her first boyfriend in 9th grade gang raped her with six of his friends. Her first sexual experience with a man involved her being “raped by a 25-year-old.” She also said she was molested by a female babysitter from the ages of 6 to 10.)
Anderson was physically abused by her first husband, Lee, who served time in jail for felony spousal abuse after striking her while she was holding their son. They divorced in 1998, but co-parented together.
According to the NYT piece, she started posing nude in photo shoots as she began in the industry to regain control. “It was my choice,” she said. But it also “gave some people the impetus, sadly, to treat me without respect.”
She also talked about her lack of business savvy when it came to making deals early on, including for Baywatch, a show that had been canceled before she became a breakout star. She revealed she had no agent, no management and was unaware of the lucrative deals to be made from syndication and merchandising.
“I was a little girl from Canada coming here and running on a beach,” she said. “Like, how would you think that would make any money?” She was of the mind to feel grateful for the opportunity, even if she never felt she was being given the chance to “really show what I am capable of.”
Anderson said writing the book was actually the first time she has had total control over a project — overseeing every detail down to implementing the copy edits. “It really was life or death,” she said. “I felt I need to tell my story. And I really couldn’t let anybody do it but me.”
These days Anderson is living back in her Canada hometown in a house, described as modest, previously owned by her grandmother. Her father, who has soften over the years, lives with her mother on the property in a house Anderson built for them.
All of her ex-husbands will appear in the Netflix doc — Lee (1995-1998), Kid Rock (2006-2007), Rick Salomon (2007-2008) and (2014-2015), Jon Peters (2020-2020) and Dan Hayhurst (2020-2022) — but Anderson quipped to the NYT that her choice in men has seemed to “progressively get worse” through the years. In January 2022, she announced her split from Hayhurst, a construction worker who was working on her house during the pandemic, and has been single for the last year. It’s noted that it’s the longest period in her life that she’s ever been alone.
The book and the documentary both come out on Jan. 31.