Pamela Anderson has returned home to the sweeping rustic beauty of the Pacific Northwest, to her hometown on Vancouver Island called Ladysmith, and the tranquility she needed (what he terms “a crazy calmness”) to restart her career and re-set her life after decades away chasing the bright lights she so desperately desired – and catching some she did not.
“I was a shambles,” she said. “I arrived home in bits.”
Is there a paparazzi presence here? “There’s nothing too horrible. ”I feel really safe here.” “I normally go around there barefoot, you know, all times of the year,” she added of Ladysmith’s beach.
A different beach from the one most people connect with her, the one she patrolled in “Baywatch.” That 1990s TV programme had elevated her to one of the world’s most recognisable faces and bodies for a while. “I was committing murder in a bikini,” she said. “I mean, I wasn’t required to do anything.” The series went off like wildfire. “It was something like 150 nations. “I had no idea there were 150 nations!” she said.
She had six marriages, got Hepatitis C, and made the first sex tape of the internet age with Motley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee while they were on their honeymoon. But, after years of hearing her tale on other people’s terms, Anderson is finally sharing it on her own. Her book, “Love Pamela,” and a Netflix documentary, “Pamela, A Love Story,” will be released at the end of the month. “I’m writing my book, this documentary is coming out. “Then I’ll be able to put this all behind me,” she said.
“All of this” is a horrible story, and she claims to be telling the whole story, which included revealing a traumatised upbringing, such as the time her father put her mother’s head to the stove and Anderson hit him in the face. “These were watershed events for me,” she said.
Another time, when she was six or seven, she was instructed not to bring kittens into the house by her father. “I also had my kittens in the home.” As a result, he ended up placing them in a paper bag and sprinting down to the shore as I yelled after him. He also drowned the kittens.”
Then there was the babysitter who molested her sexually. “A female predator; that was difficult to comprehend,” Anderson added. “It made me lose faith in people.”
She also recounts graphic memories of being raped at the ages of 12 and 14. “The entire purpose is not to keep those secrets or those things hidden,” she said.
Among all the anguish came a modest stroke of luck. After being hired as a model by a beer business after being noticed wearing one of their T-shirts at a football game, “lucky-break” became “life-changer” when Hugh Hefner saw the advertising. Anderson was on a plane to Los Angeles before she realised it.
“When the chance presented, you must’ve snatched it because you could get out of this area where there were so many awful memories?” Axelrod inquired.
“Yes. ‘You are not an extension of the tiny town,’ my grandpa told me. You are not a carbon copy of your parents. You are a brilliant new light given to our world to deal with what you want.’ I eventually got over my fear of it. ‘Let’s just go,’ I replied. ‘Let’s see where this leads me.'”
Within a few months, in 1989, she appeared on the first of 14 Playboy covers.
“You write that you were sexualized so early, Playboy was a chance for you to reclaim your sexuality?” Axelrod inquired.
“With a fury,” he says. If you want to dig into some psychology, it’s textbook. It was addressing it and coping in my own manner.”
Her path featured an impetuous marriage to Tommy Lee after just four days of knowing him. Her desperate need for protection transformed a bad boy rocker into her own prince charming. “I fell in love with Tommy. “It seemed like a pretty secure environment,” she said. “He would appear at the home on a horse clothed in full knight gear on, knight in shining armour, and read a scroll to me. It was just hyper-heightened. However, it felt nice. ‘Oh my my, this is what it’s all about,’ I thought. This is genuine affection.’ It was so romantic and over-the-top.”
“But that’s hardly a basis for long-term love,” Axelrod pointed out.
“No, it is not a basis for long-term love. “I haven’t done it yet!” she said, laughing. “I haven’t worked out that part yet!”
She may have tried to distract herself with a fairy tale, but there would be no happily ever after. Not with the tape taken.
That cassette, I remember. Tommy Lee and Pamela made it on their honeymoon. It was taken from their safe, and their private moments were converted into a source of income for others.
“What do you want people to understand about it?” Axelrod inquired.
“It was stolen goods,” she said. “It was two insane, naked individuals in love. We were always nude, recording each other, and being ridiculous. But those videos were never supposed to be seen by anybody else. And I haven’t seen it since.” Its exploitation by others was “extremely terrible,” she claimed.
Because of her celebrity, she became a cruel cultural joke. Her marriage to Tommy Lee would not last. Neither would the five more that followed. She was barely holding it together, focused on Lee’s two young boys. “I was a mother, and that saved me,” she said. “You know, I don’t believe I would have survived if I hadn’t become a mother.”
Anderson understood she needed to do some digging: “I needed to do this to genuinely go into those moments, those things we bury and repress.”
And do it by yourself.
“Are you all done falling in love?” Axelrod inquired.
“I don’t know!” she said. “Right now, being alone for the first time is really beneficial to me. People come and go in my life, and I realised that the constant denominator in all of these interactions is myself. So I’ll have to work on it.”
To defeat the demons, she returned to the remoteness of Ladysmith, where she had first encountered them.
“It was incredibly soothing to come full circle,” she added. “And I realised I sort of had to retrace my steps as a youngster. And being at home was extremely visual, highly activating, and very healing. There was a great deal of rage. I felt like a volcano was erupting inside of me. Where did it come from? “Bit by little, I began to become stronger and stronger.”
Anderson felt it was time for the next part of her therapy to take place 3,000 miles from her home in Canada, on Broadway, where she played Roxie Hart, the femme fatale in the musical “Chicago,” to unexpectedly positive reviews.
“I wanted to see what I was made of,” she said. “I need to know that I’m capable of doing something. It was terrifying, yet it was a nice sensation. You want to go out of your comfort zone.”
What was the most terrifying aspect of it? “I’m not good at singing. I’m not good at dancing. I’m not good at acting. “Like, how am I going to accomplish all three at the same time?”
“You got rave ratings.”
“Yeah. I know. “Wow, that was surprising!” she said.
Pamela Anderson, 55, discovered just what she needed right outside the stage door: “I felt rooted for, which was a different emotion than I’d had previously.”
The ideal emotion to take back home, where her anguish is based… and now, so is her recovery. “It’s as if I went here, did something insane, and returned home in one piece.
“I’m not sure what I’m capable of. I’m still not sure, but I believe that was the start. Everything else is, you know, behind me. “I feel like I’m in a great spot.”
“That seems like a lovely existence,” Axelrod observed.
“It’s lovely. And look about me: I’m really fortunate.”
Below you can view a trailer for the Netflix documentary “Pamela, A Love Story”: