Pamela Anderson's Memoir 'Love, Pamela': True Love With Tommy Lee, Childhood Abuse and More

Pamela Anderson
Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Pamela writes about her journey from a small town in Canada to international sex symbol and back.

Pamela Anderson reclaims her story this week with the release of her new memoir, Love, Pamela, a firsthand account of a narrative that has often been told without Pamela's permission or input. The book takes readers behind the scenes of Pamela's tumultuous childhood and follows her journey from small-town Canadian girl to international sex symbol and activist.

"I am who I am, which is a combination of all I know, and I've always believed that striving to be a sensual person, or being sexy, should not conflict with intelligence," Pamela writes. Her memoir lifts the curtain on all corners of her life, drawing connections between her public image and private philosophies. 

Read on for all of the book's major highlights. 

Childhood Abuse

Pamela says her childhood was punctuated with abuse, a fact that she's touched on before but never with as much detail. She recalls being molested by a female babysitter as a young girl, which continued until the babysitter died in a car accident years later. Simultaneously, she claims her parents often fought, and that her father --struggling with alcoholism -- sometimes became violent toward her mother, once even allegedly holding her face above a lit stove. 

The experiences, Pamela writes, primed her for a series of relationships that worsened throughout her teenage years. 

“As I matured, I noticed most of my boyfriends were bad -- and progressively got worse," Pamela writes. "They would turn violent, mean, cruel, so quickly." 

At 13, Pamela says she was raped by a friend's acquaintance. Her first boyfriend physically kicked her out of a moving car and later tried to run her over. Another boy coordinated a group assault on her with "at least four, maybe six" of his friends, she writes. After that, Pamela remembers a boyfriend who stripped her naked and abandoned her outside in a group of bushes, and another one that threw a silverware container at her head. 

Playboy, Home Improvement and Baywatch

Playboy discovered Pamela after she reached local fame at a BC Lions Canadian football game. The stadium had shown her on the jumbotron during a game and later used her image on local commercials. After a brief struggle getting into the United States from Canada, Pamela found herself at the Playboy mansion, where she met the magazine's founder, Hugh Hefner, and shot her first-ever cover. Though she thought she'd return to Canada after that, Pamela says the magazine offered her $15,000 to stay. 

"I did what I thought all models would do, but a heightened version," Pamela writes of the Playboy cover shoot. "I had unleashed a wild woman inside me, but the shyness crept in. I was the girl next door, pushing boundaries, naturally coming into her sexual existence. For Playboy, that’s exactly what they wanted." 

Pamela landed roles on Home Improvement and Baywatch because of her Playboy modeling, and reflects in her book on the way her presentation as a sex symbol led men to believe they already knew her. She claims that Tim Allen flashed her on their first day of filming Home Improvement, an allegation he recently denied before Pamela added that she was "sure he had no bad intentions." 

Pamela Meets and Marries Tommy Lee

Pamela famously met and married Mötley Crüe singer Tommy Lee during a weekend trip in Cabo, which she recounts as a hazy but loving memory in her book.

"We knew nothing of one another outside our ecstasy-induced love weekend in Mexico, but it all felt completely genuine," she writes. "We had no doubt in our minds we were meant to be." 

Don't Call It a "Sex Tape" 

When news of the couple's now-infamous sex tape broke, Pamela writes that she felt confused. 

"We never made a 'sex tape,'" she writes in a poem. "We just filmed each other, always, / and lived a sexy passionate life: / sweet newlyweds. / Just / two crazy, naked people / in love." 

The tape was stolen from a safe in the couple's garage before it was leaked to Penthouse and, later, the burgeoning internet. When Penthouse first called, Pamela writes that she and Tommy "had no memory of filming anything so crazy." They didn't believe the tape was real until a VHS copy was mailed to their house. 

“I didn’t watch it," Pamela writes. "I have not watched it to this day…But Tommy did. He told me they'd spliced together a lot of different things and made it look like we were filming ourselves having sex all the time. He said it was nothing too bad -- but bad enough to be hurtful to me, and he was so sorry." 

Pamela and Tommy Sue Penthouse 

Pamela and Tommy were soon subjected to incessant surveillance from the press, and sued Penthouse for violating their privacy rights. The suit, as fans already know, failed, but Pamela's book recounts the cruelty with which she was treated inside the deposition room. 

"I was feeling strong when I walked into the room, but my heart sank when I saw there were naked photos of me blown up and placed behind the lawyers seated across the table," she writes. "One lawyer was literally foaming at the mouth, white stuff collected in the corners. You could smell his sick and unrelentingly nervous breath from across the room." 

Pamela writes that the lawyers told her she "had no right to privacy because I’d appeared in Playboy. Then came question after invasive question -- about my body, sexual positions, sexual preferences, locations I had sex in -- and suggestions that I probably liked the attention." 

Pamela Has a Miscarriage Before Welcoming Her Sons 

Pamela writes that she suffered a miscarriage while working on the set of Barb Wire around the same time of the leak. She credits the stress of filming the movie -- and Tommy's alleged occasional bursts of violence against crew members -- for the loss.

She and Tommy later welcomed son Brandon a few months before Penthouse called about the tape, and Pamela was pregnant with their second son, Dylan, during the legal depositions.  

"I held a protective hand over my pregnant belly, willing myself to stay calm," she writes of the deposition room. 

Pamela and Tommy Struggle With Paparazzi 

The tape leak worsened an already existing obsession with Pamela and Tommy's relationship. Pamela writes that she and Tommy could not leave the house, even to take their newborns to doctor's appointments. 

"The paparazzi still came after us, running us off the road at times to get a picture. We had to take most of our appointments in our home, even the pediatrician," she writes. 

According to Pamela, the attention exacerbated both her and Tommy's stress levels, and led to several outbursts from Tommy. 

"We were leaving a hotel, and Tommy dropped his cigarettes. I bent down to pick them up, and a photographer whistled," Pamela writes. "Tommy walked up and had a few words, then backhanded him, breaking his jaw. Another $25,000 to settle that one." 

Later in the book, Pamela elaborates on the attention's effect on her mental health. "It hurts to be exploited," she writes. "Used and objectified constantly. It can destroy every bit of belief you have in yourself. It is not easy to reconcile the love and admiration you feel from most of the world and the loneliness, abuse, and deceit of some of those closest to you." 

Tommy Lee, "The Only Time I Was Ever Truly In Love" 

Pamela and Tommy separated after he was arrested for assaulting Pamela in front of Brandon and Dylan. "His eyes went black as he grabbed the phone away from me, twisting my arm as I was holding Dylan in the other," Pamela claims. "My nail torn off, blood dripping down my arm. The kids were so frightened. I picked up Brandon, too, but he slid frantically down my leg and held on to it tight, hyperventilating." 

"Tommy ripped Brandon off me and threw me and Dylan into the wall. I was so scared he was hurt -- he was screaming and he was only seven weeks old," she alleges. "Tommy ran out the door with Brandon, who was reaching for me -- Mommyyyy!

The incident resulted in jail time for Tommy Lee, along with a restraining order to protect Pamela and the children. But Pamela writes about the incident with a sense of forgiveness, and says she and Tommy continued to meet in violation of their restraining order. 

"He'd tap on my window, and we'd make love in the car outside my house," she writes. "I was under the strict orders of lawyers and therapists to avoid him, but we couldn't help ourselves. We ended up right back in each other's arms." 

The rekindling didn't take hold, and Pamela and Tommy divorced in 1998. Though she has since been married five more times -- to Kid Rock, Jon Peters, Dan Hayhurst and twice to Rick Salomon -- Pamela writes that Tommy was "the only time I was ever truly in love." She mentions her other husbands sparingly throughout the rest of the book. 

"The rest of my life, my relationships paled in comparison. It was a losing battle," she writes. "It wasn't the others' fault -- they just had no shot." 

A Life of Family and Fauna 

Alongside memories of raising her children in Malibu, Pamela details her many philanthropic endeavors for animal rights and environmentalism. "The most important thing to me, after being a mom, was my deep passion for animals and the environment," Pamela writes. "Activism fit alongside my career naturally." 

She emphasizes that her children were raised with an appreciation for the outdoors, writing about taking them to the beach, where they would surf before school, and sending them to boarding school on her hometown Vancouver Island in Canada.

Since then, both her children have returned to California and Pamela has moved back to Canada.

Brandon Lee Goes to Rehab 

When he was 20, her eldest son, Brandon, decided to go to rehab. "He wasn’t in any trouble, but he was starting to experiment and realized he might have that thing that ruins people's lives," she writes. "He had seen too much of it in his young life and wanted nothing to do with it." 

Pamela writes of the event with pride. "The fact that he chose to do this still amazes me -- it wasn’t the easy way," she writes. "Tommy, Dylan, and I participated in the family program, and it brought us all closer as we talked out the circumstances of our family history and tendencies."

Love, Pamela is out now.