Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, are one of Hollywood’s most notorious nineties couples, known for their insatiable (and at times, volatile) love for one another, which has captured the public imagination for well over a decade.
As the trailer drops for the long-awaited Hulu biopic Pam & Tommy, starring Lily James and Sebastien Stan (out in the US on 2 February 2022 and available later on in the UK on Disney Plus), we take a look back at their unconventional relationship, including the real story behind that sex tape.
New Year’s Eve 1994: Pamela Anderson meets Tommy Lee at the Sanctuary Club
The former Playboy Playmate-turned-actress and Mötley Crüe drummer, first met on New Year’s Eve in 1994 at the Hollywood’s Sanctuary club. There was undeniable chemistry between the two, with Anderson explaining in a Movieline interview in 1995 how Lee “came up, grabbed me and licked my face,” adding that, “I thought he was a cool, friendly, nice guy. I gave him my number.”
February 1995: Tommy and Pamela connect via telephone
Pamela was initially cautious of the intensity of the advances made by Tommy who sent a barrage of messages to her phone according to Rolling Stone Magazine in 2001. The duo eventually connected via telephone a month later as Pamela was preparing to fly to Cancun, Mexico for a photoshoot.
After a playful tease on the telephone that Pamela recalls in the Movieline interview, he apparently asked her “‘you’re going [to Cacun] without me?’’,” adding that she “begged him not to come down there.” To which he said, “‘OK. See you later’,” which Pamela described as a “weird way for the conversation to end.”
Tommy later described his actions as comparable to stalking, saying (via Nicki Swift) “[I called] the hotel every five minutes until they began to pity me … I left messages at her pad, at her friends’ houses, everywhere. I was hunting her down like a little f*cking stalker.”
February 1995: Tommy Lee flies to Cancun to meet Pamela Anderson and they marry 96 hours later
Tommy followed Pamela to the location of the Ritz-Carlton, for their second IRL meet-up. After 72 hours of partying – string bikini contest included – Tommy proposed and the pair were married the next day on 19 February 1995.
The spontaneity of their relationship was reflected through their impromptu wedding plans, which saw them accompanied by eight guests as they got married on the beach. Pamela wore a white bikini, the groom opted to say ‘I do’ in khaki shorts, and they both accessorised their matrimonial looks with matching tattoos of each other’s names on their ring fingers.
February 1995: Their sex tape is leaked by electrician Rand Gauthier
One of the more notable moments of their marriage came in the form of a private sex tape being leaked to the press. Pamela later said in an interview on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen that it “was not a sex tape,” but a “compilation of vacations that we were naked on.”
The couple started their marital life together in Malibu, in Tommy’s home, living what Rolling Stone dubbed a “fantasy life.” It was around this time that Rand Gautheir began working at the pair’s property and bore witness to the couple’s lavish lifestyle. After an unexpected termination from his role and a refusal to settle $20,000 in payments, Rand returned to collect his tools and was met by Lee holding a shotgun demanding he leave his home.
Rand Gauthier told Rolling Stone in 2014, that he would never have stolen anything from the Lees, but after Tommy told him to “Get the f*ck off my property,” this motivated him to plot and carry out a burglary: to steal from the couple’s safe in their garage which contained Tommy’s guns, Pamela’s jewellery, and a video of the couple’s intimate moments, made during their honeymoon.
The sex tape was leaked and quickly distributed online. Although an initial police report was filed, and a $10 million lawsuit was launched against Rand Gauthier and others, the couple were unable to prevent its online distribution.
Later in 1997 Pamela and Tommy sued Internet Entertainment Group, who distributed downloaded copies of the video. This resulted in an undisclosed settlement in 2002, however, as soon as the case was settled, the tape itself was freely distributed once again.
June 1996 & December 1997: The duo welcome sons Brandon Thomas Lee and Dylan Jagger Lee
The couple became parents together when they welcomed sons Brandon Thomas Lee born in 1996 and Dylan Jagger Lee in 1997. However, the transition from couple to family unit, would reportedly change the dynamic of the relationship.
Tommy puts the downturn in their relationship to the change in couple dynamic after the birth of their two sons. According to the New York Post Lee explained how “when Dylan was born, I dropped down to No. 3 […] I was full-on non-existent. And I couldn’t deal with that.”
February 1998: Tommy attacked Pamela
Tommy allegedly attacked Pamela while she was holding their newborn son, Dylan. In May 1998, Tommy was charged with felony spousal abuse and ordered to serve a six-month term in prison. He pleaded no-contest to charges that he kicked Pamela several times while she held their baby son.
His original three-year state prison sentence was suspended, based on the terms of his probation, during which he was to avoid drugs and alcohol, seek anger management counselling, perform 200 hours of community service, donate $5,000 to a battered women’s shelter and stay at least 100 yards away from Pamela.
Outside the courthouse where Tommy was sentenced, Pamela told reporters, “I’m very proud of Tommy. I’m happy he took responsibility for this. And I think it’s the first step towards healing.”
Tommy spent a total of four months in jail.
In 2012, Pamela said (via The Evening Standard), “Tommy physically attacked me with complete disregard for my safety and, more importantly, for the safety of our children. Tommy kicked me violently in the back several times and in the buttocks. He was completely out of control.”
May 1998: Pamela Anderson files for divorce
Within days of the attack, Pamela filed for divorce. By 1999, there was talk of reconciliation with Pamela saying (via Entertainment Weekly), “I picture Tommy and me…old, toothless, on a bench somewhere with our tattoos.”
June 2008: Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee get back together
This was not the end to their turbulent relationship as Tommy told Rolling Stone (via Fox News), “We’ve only given it a try 800 times — 801, here we go”. Yet, despite best efforts the newly formed family unit quickly broke down and the pair went their separate ways for the final time in 2010.
2015: Pamela describes Tommy as the love of her life
In an interview with People (via Biography), Pamela said, “There was Tommy and then there was nobody else,” adding that, ”He was the love of my life. We had wild and crazy beginnings that was too much for both of us.”
March 2018: Pamela calls Tommy ‘the definition of narcissist/sociopath’
After Pamela and Tommy’s son Brandon (who was 21 at the time) allegedly knocked his dad unconscious, Pamela wrote a blog post titled ‘Alcoholism is the Devil’, in which she wrote:
“Nobody understands the lifetime of disappointment this man has brought our family […] Consistently the center of sadness, drama and confusion. Jealous of his sons’ talent and beauty from the day they were born. He is sick. The definition of narcissist/sociopath.
“It’s terrible and unfortunately he has made this private matter very public. I have always tried only to set record straight. Trying to paint him as not a bad guy. Just one who is human and made mistakes.
“He still cannot handle the guilt about his abusive behavior and has never taken responsibility for what he has done. Let’s hope this will be his saving grace.”
2021: Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee re-married to other people
Although the pair have now split, the Baywatch alum has found love with her fellow Canadian, bodyguard Dan Hayhurst and quietly tied the knot on Christmas Eve in the grounds of their home on Vancouver Island, as confirmed by E! News on the 27th January this year. This marked the fifth marriage and ninth wedding ceremony for Pamela.
Tommy Lee’s fourth marriage was celebrated on Valentine’s Day 2019 to Brittany Furlan.
December 2020: Hulu announces plans to create Pam & Tommy, a biopic of the controversial couple
Neither Pamela or Tommy have had any input in the film, with a represetative for Pamela telling The Sun, “Pamela has no intention of watching this God awful show, absolutely not. Never.”
“She’s never heard of the actors playing her or Tommy and doesn’t care to know them … She and her family think the show is a cheap knockoff.”
From Glamour UK