Home / Industry / Media /  Pamela Anderson isn’t chasing her youth

“I don’t think I’ve ever had bad sex."

Pamela Anderson is talking about the need for America to have what she calls a “Sensual Revolution" that prioritizes romance. The former Playboy model drops this bomb about her past romantic encounters during an interview while promoting a new memoir and documentary.

Ms. Anderson, 55, is now contending with the legacy of her bada-bing body from the sturdy overlook of middle age. When it comes to her sexualized image, the former “Baywatch" star sometimes ignores it, sometimes regrets it and sometimes reclaims it. But she never escapes it.

“A lot of my career was based on being in a bathing suit, running around on the beach, lip gloss and eyeliner and big hair," Ms. Anderson says during a Zoom call. “I’m a lot more than that."

Add Ms. Anderson’s name to the growing list of re-evaluated 1990s celebrities mistreated by the media, ranks that include Britney Spears, Monica Lewinsky and Tonya Harding. Ms. Anderson, with her famous breast implants, embodied the kind of celebrity that audiences deemed seductive one minute, trashy the next. Her sexiness did not translate into great wealth, a gaggle of Hollywood friends or protection from casual disrespect. In her day, sex symbols didn’t parlay their fame into business empires.

Ms. Anderson returns to tell her story against a very different backdrop. Today, plastic surgery is not a shameful secret and sex tapes don’t have to undermine careers. Sirens model themselves after Kim Kardashian, who gets invited to the Met Gala, makes the cover of Vogue and runs a billion-dollar brand.

Now, the Pamaissance. Ms. Anderson is drawing the spotlight as she searches for a new chapter. “I could lose everything. I could gain everything. I just have no concept of what’s happening next," she says.

“Love, Pamela," Ms. Anderson’s revealing memoir that names names, is on sale Tuesday. On the same day, a separate project, “Pamela, A Love Story," arrives from Netflix. The documentary is directed by “Good Night Oppy" filmmaker Ryan White and produced by a team that includes Ms. Anderson’s 26-year-old son, Brandon Thomas Lee.

The film finds Ms. Anderson nestled in the sanctuary of Vancouver Island in Canada’s British Columbia. There on the 49th parallel, she gardens, she pickles, she paints. She floats around in a caftan. Her parents also live on the land, which was once owned by her grandmother. She often visits with her two sons from her marriage to Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee.

“I think we’re so much more beautiful the way that we are," she says. “No one wants to hear about natural beauty from me. But I’m not afraid of getting older. I kind of like that I’m not chasing youth."

For one of the few times in her adult life, she is on her own without a boyfriend, fiancé or husband. Ms. Anderson is known for her rash romantic decisions, like exchanging vows with the musician Kid Rock. She married her first husband, Mr. Lee, four days after meeting him.

“Tommy must have slipped something special in my champagne—the room got warm and fuzzy, and my skin felt like butter, even softer than usual," she writes in her memoir. “He said, Let’s get married, and I dreamily said, Okay." Afterward, Ms. Anderson asked Mr. Lee what his last name was, thinking he must be Tommy Lee Something.

Ms. Anderson and her publisher say that the book, which includes her poetry, is really hers. There is no ghostwriter. The memoir often turns dark, like the time she watched her father drown a bag of kittens or the party where boys tried to fry a cat in a pan. The treatment of her body is harrowing. She describes being sexually abused by a babysitter as a child, raped as a tween and attacked in her teens by a gang of boys.

At one point during her five-year stint playing lifeguard C.J. Parker on “Baywatch," Ms. Anderson swallowed a bottle of Advil with vodka and slid under the water in her bathtub. Mr. Lee had been flying into jealous marital rages, she writes, and she was sinking into despair.

In the late 1990s, private home movies with Mr. Lee were stolen, edited and released as a sex tape. As a result, she says, her marriage and career were derailed by the time she was 30. Ms. Anderson’s hopes for a broader acting career evaporated, she says. She took whatever role came her way as a divorced mother just trying to pay the bills.

Last year’s Hulu series “Pam & Tommy" explores the period around the sex tape. Ms. Anderson says she was not consulted about the show and refuses to watch it.

“It’s like, I’m right here. Hello? I’m alive. Maybe you want to sit down and talk to me and find out more? But they didn’t," Ms. Anderson says. A representative for the model-actress says Hulu did reach out to her team, but the staff kept the inquiries from her because they perceived it to be a hurtful project.

Hulu did not respond to requests for comment.

Ms. Anderson does not call herself a victim, acknowledges that she used her body to build her career and describes feeling empowered by her nude centerfolds. And she doesn’t want to back off being sexy just so people will see her brains.

“Part of my life is always trying to get over that hump, convincing people that I’m capable of anything because of the image of me," she says. “And I know I’m responsible for that. But yeah. I’m a Playmate that wrote a book. Sorry."

The memoir delivers spicy tidbits, like the time actor Scott Baio checked out her feet and ears while nuzzling with her at the Playboy mansion, or the naked encounter she had with director Mario Van Peebles in a field filled with horses.

On her first day of filming the show “Home Improvement," she writes, star Tim Allen opened his robe and flashed his nude body, telling the Playboy star that now they were even. “I laughed uncomfortably," she writes.

“No, it never happened," Mr. Allen said in a statement. “I would never do such a thing."

Mr. Baio declined to comment. Representatives for Mr. Lee and Mr. Van Peebles did not respond to requests for comment.

Ms. Anderson describes sex galore with Mr. Lee, who once rushed to her side when she was hospitalized with a ruptured ovarian cyst. “Tommy and I made love in the narrow, stretcher-like hospital bed while I was connected to an IV," she writes.

Their relationship grew violent. Eventually Mr. Lee was sentenced to six months in prison on charges of spousal abuse.

The former spouses are in touch every once in a while. Mr. Lee, now remarried, has not read the book, she says. “I’m sure it’s going to be annoying to his wife," she says. “I’d be annoyed."

She does not pine for Mr. Lee, she says, but he remains a force in her life.

“I love him in a way like I’ve never loved anybody else, because we had children together, and we had hopes together, we had dreams together," she says. “I think a lot of circumstances around us we just weren’t mature enough to handle, so I feel like we let our kids down. The more I think about it, the more I wish things were different, but they’re just not and that’s what it is."

Ms. Anderson sees her future as a clean slate, one started from a position of independence. A friend told her if she sets an extra dinner plate at the table, she can help manifest the romantic partner she hopes is still waiting to enter her life.

“We really need to learn how to be alone before we can be with somebody else," she says. “No one else is responsible for your happiness but yourself."

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text

Recommended For You
Get alerts on WhatsApp
Set Preferences My ReadsWatchlistFeedbackRedeem a Gift CardLogout