ALISON BOSHOFF: Why Pamela Anderson is seething over Lily James’s ‘disgusting’ TV drama

Even by Hollywood standards Pamela Anderson has had a turbulent love life. Of her many husbands, one lasted a month, another only two and her most infamous spouse, Motley Crue rocker Tommy Lee, did six months in jail for beating her up.

Now it’s been announced that she’s divorcing her latest Mr Right, bodyguard Dan Hayhurst, after barely a year of marriage, which was spent cloistered in lockdown at her modest property on Vancouver Island, Canada.

She promised last year that she had finally found happiness with Hayhurst, who started out as her handyman. 

They even did a toe-curling at home interview with Lorraine Kelly for ITV from their marital bed.

Sources indicate that Anderson, who became an international pin-up in Baywatch, remains angered and embarrassed by the tape, and the focus on it. Might it have had an effect on her personal happiness?

Pammi’s friends say the split is simply down to a ‘pandemic whirlwind that petered out’, but for her there is surely a sense of being haunted for 27 years by a sex tape which made her an international joke. Certainly, for an eight-minute clip, it casts a long shadow.

Now 54, she believes she was robbed, exploited and globally shamed in 1995, and that a new mini-series, Pam And Tommy, a big-money comedy drama being released next month by Disney +, effectively does it all over again. 

Sources indicate that Anderson, who became an international pin-up in Baywatch, remains angered and embarrassed by the tape, and the focus on it. Might it have had an effect on her personal happiness? 

It can’t have helped. She has declined to engage in any way with the makers of the show, turning a deaf ear even to sweetly framed entreaties from Lily James, the actress portraying her. 

James said: ‘I was really hopeful that she would be involved. My sole intention was to take care of the story and to play Pamela authentically.’ Writer Rob Siegel said: ‘She’s chosen not to engage, so we’ve respected her desire not to be involved.’

This month Pamela flew to Malibu, California, and although her publicist will not comment, it seems she is contemplating taking some kind of action to try to spike the filmmakers’ guns.

She says she has never seen the tape and made ‘not one dollar’ from it. Asked about it in 2020, she grimaced: ‘It is not a sex tape. It was made on a couple of vacations that we were naked on.’

She has declined to engage in any way with the makers of the show, turning a deaf ear even to sweetly framed entreaties from Lily James, above, the actress portraying her

She has declined to engage in any way with the makers of the show, turning a deaf ear even to sweetly framed entreaties from Lily James, above, the actress portraying her

Her longstanding friend, singer Courtney Love, comments that the focus on it is ‘disgusting’ and adds: ‘It destroyed my friend Pamela’s life. Utterly.’ She calls the show a ‘piece of s***’ and says: ‘Shame on Lily James.’

By contrast Lee, who was Anderson’s husband and a byword for debauchery when the tape was made, thinks it is all great sport. He is now married to TikTok influencer Brittany Furlan and finds the focus amusing. 

He told friend Guerin Swing: ‘Let everyone know we did it first. Before the Kardashians, before anyone else. We broke the internet first.’

There is a powerful sense that Lee enjoys burnishing his reputation. A shambling, heavily tattooed figure, his new hobbies include trimming bonsai trees and being the butt of jokes filmed by his much younger wife. They tend to involve Lee as a punchline such as ‘accidentally’ falling into their swimming pool. 

Since Pamela and Tommy broke up, they have made a habit of matrimony, notching up a further six trips down the aisle between them. They’ve also faced each other in court over domestic abuse and continue to trade barbs about their marriage.

The couple met in nightclub Sanctuary in November 1994. Anderson was at the height of her fame as Casey Jean ‘CJ’ Parker in U.S. lifeguard drama Baywatch, being watched in 100 countries by a billion viewers. CJ had an interest in crystals and new age thinking, which Anderson did too, but it might not have been that which attracted Tommy that night after he’d taken ecstasy and swigged champagne. Pamela, who part-owned the club, sent over schnapps to Lee, who was famous as heavy rock group Motley Crue’s drummer and one-time husband of actress Heather Locklear.

She recalled, ‘He came up, grabbed me and licked my face. I thought he was a cool, friendly, nice guy. I gave him my number.’

Over the next six weeks he rang and left numerous messages on her answer machine. Eventually they spoke, and she told him she was on her way to Cancun, Mexico, for a photoshoot. He flew out there and tracked her down. That night in February 1995 they partied in the famous Señor Frogs bar. Within 96 hours, they had exchanged marriage vows on the beach. The bride wore a white bikini. ‘It really was love at first sight,’ she later said.

She had ‘Tommy’ inked on her finger instead of a ring. Lee had ‘Pamela’ inked on his penis. They settled in his house in Malibu, which was lavishly renovated without reference to funds or taste. A huge ‘heaven and hell’ mural was painted in the elevator shaft, a sex swing hung above a white baby grand piano in the living room. Lee’s pal and interior designer Swing said: ‘They spent money like they hated it.’

Within months, Anderson had suffered a distressing miscarriage and made the film Barb Wire. Reports circulated that her jealous husband wouldn’t let anyone near her on set. While on honeymoon in Mexico, the couple shot a 54-minute home video, mostly just ‘goofing about’ but including that eight minutes of sex.

According to a police report filed by the couple, the tape was in a safe in their home alongside guns, a Rolex, a gold-and-diamond Cartier watch and the white bikini Anderson wore at their wedding.

The entire safe was stolen in October 1995 by electrician Rand Gauthier, who had been sacked by the couple and believed that they owed him money. He is played by comedian Seth Rogen in the mini series.

Gauthier says he wheeled the 6ft x 3ft x 4ft safe out of their garage strapped to a trolley in the dead of night after bypassing their security system. He had no idea of its contents until he opened it and later recalled thinking: ‘We put it in (the video machine) and see what it is, and of course, cha-ching! The dollar signs fly before our eyes. But we’re going, this is the kind of thing people will get killed over.’

As luck would have it, Gauthier knew about the sex business, having performed in 75 porn films himself. He once dated a woman called Wendy Whoppers, whose 34H implants he had paid for. He offered the tape to ‘Uncle Miltie’ Ingley, a porn studio owner. They made a few copies and destroyed the original Hi8 cassette.

Miltie offered the tape to various companies who all turned it down, knowing that he didn’t have the consent of Anderson or Lee. Eventually he was loaned $50,000 to cover making and distributing the tape by a mob boss, which he did with the help of Gauthier. Websites were set up where clients could order the VHS video for $59.99.

In December 1995 the Daily Mail reported that a video of Anderson and Lee having sex was circulating. This was the first that the couple knew about the safe being stolen. They filed a police report and hired notorious private investigator Anthony Pellicano.

On March 29, 1996, the couple filed a $10 million civil lawsuit against everyone they thought might have a copy, including Penthouse magazine. Everyone else named in the suit denied having a copy of the tape.

Meanwhile, the websites selling the tape were busy fulfilling hundreds of thousands of orders. Gauthier took hundreds of tapes to the post office every day.

Eventually an internet wunderkind, Seth Warshavsky, announced that he was getting in on the action by broadcasting the video online.

A judge refused a request for an injunction. Anderson and Lee decided that they ought to settle with Warshavsky, believing that they could allow him to show it on the web but not sell it.

They also seem to have totally underestimated the power of the internet. In November 1997, the couple signed the copyright over to him, after which point Warshavsky’s Club Love sold access to the tape. Club Love then struck a deal to make VHS copies of it.

Anderson and Lee deny ever profiting from it. Why make the deal? Anderson said: ‘We made a deal to stop all the shenanigans. I was seven months pregnant and the stress was affecting the pregnancy. I thought, I’m not going to court any more. I’m not being deposed any more by these horny weird lawyer men. I don’t want to talk about my vagina any more.’

The legal actions seem to have hastened the end of the marriage. Lee said in 2004: ‘Not being able to do anything about the tape was adding so much frustration and stress to our relationship. It was just consuming us.’

He also struggled with being ‘demoted’ after the birth of son Brandon in June 1996. Anderson filed for divorce just five months later. They reconciled and son Dylan was born in December 1997.

Lee said: ‘Pamela and I got busy having kids so quickly that we never gave ourselves a chance to build a solid relationship. I asked her much later, ‘Why didn’t we work on our relationship more?’

‘We couldn’t,’ she replied. ‘I was pregnant the whole time.’ He added: ‘When Dylan was born, I dropped down to No.3. Now I was full-on non-existent. And I couldn’t deal with that.’

During a fight in 1998, Anderson allegedly punched Lee in the jaw. He then grabbed her by the arm and kicked her in the behind. Anderson fell over a chalkboard, tearing a nail. Soon afterwards, she filed for divorce. Lee pleaded no contest to felony spousal battery and, in May 1998, he was sentenced to six months in jail.

A few years later Lee said: ‘I couldn’t understand why Pamela had followed through with pressing charges. She was probably scared and thought I was some crazy, violent monster; she probably thought she was doing the right thing for the kids; and she probably wanted an easy way out of a difficult situation. As much as I loved Pamela, she had a problem dealing with things.’

The couple discussed remarriage in 1999, with Pamela saying: ‘I picture Tommy and me . . . old, toothless, on a bench somewhere with our tattoos.’ Reason prevailed the following year. Lee said in 2005 that they were together again, but she promptly married someone else.

In 2018 hostilities resumed after son Brandon had an altercation with Tommy. Pam wrote, ‘alcoholism is the devil’ and described her former husband as ‘a disaster spinning out of control’.

Lee was angry that she had spoken about the domestic abuse he visited on her and said: ‘You’d think she’d find something new to discuss instead of rehashing old s*** but I guess she has nothing else going on and needs attention.’

He still sees his sons, both now grown up. They were with him for Thanksgiving this year. Now 59, Lee was married twice before his nuptials with Anderson and in 2019 wed for the fourth time, to Ms Furlan, 35. He said: ‘My face often hurts from laughing so much from all the fun we have. She has that wonderful gift of laughter and I think that’s such an underrated quality in people.’

Pamela, 53, has been married six times. After Lee, she married producer Kid Rock in 2006. It lasted two months. She then married poker player Rick Salomon twice — once in 2007 and again in 2014.

In January 2020 she married film producer Jon Peters — famous for Flashdance and A Star Is Born —who is 22 years her senior. She wrote on Twitter: ‘We love each other without conditions. I’m a lucky woman. Proof God has a plan.’ They announced their split the next month.

On Christmas Eve 2020 she married Hayhurst, the handyman who did jobs on her Vancouver Island home. The bride wore wellies and a Cinderella dress, and promised this time it was for keeps.

She lives modestly, promoting her charitable foundation and causes including veganism.

Meanwhile, Pam And Tommy is said to be costing £35 million. In scope and ambition the eight-part series is filmic. 

It is directed by Craig Gillespie, best known for helming the Oscar-winning 2018 film I Tonya. The stars, Lily James and Sebastian Stan, are reportedly getting £100,000 plus per episode.

James wears an expensive prosthetic chest plate to mimic Pamela’s famous breasts. The filmmakers also constructed an animatronic penis, at great expense.

You can see why Pamela Anderson thinks there’s not much funny about that.

Pam and Tommy starts on Disney+ on February 2.