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10 Things We Learned About Pamela Anderson From Her New Memoir

The former ‘Playboy’ model reveals regrets and triumphs, and shows her smarts, in ‘Love, Pamela’

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Carmelo Redondo / Dey Street Books

If you think of Pamela Anderson as just another hapless, blonde ex-bombshell – Playboy centerfold, Baywatch superstar, victim of a stolen “sex tape” that wasn’t a sex tape — you are not alone, to Anderson’s great regret. Her new memoir, Love, Pamela, aims to correct the record with a sympathetic account of her life so far (she’s 55), sharing her story with an idiosyncratic mix of her own poetry and prose. (Its publication is timed to the Jan. 31 release of an accompanying Netflix documentary, Pamela, A Love Story.)

“I didn’t think I’d want to spend this part of my life explaining myself to people,” she writes in her book. “This is just one girl’s life, my memories, my experience. This is how I did it. This is my own fable. I can offer only my truth.”

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And, Anderson notes, it was written without ghostwriters, collaborators or “book doctors.” It’s all her, and she’s smarter, more well-read, thoughtful and politically acute than her public image thus far would suggest.

She is frank about her regrets (multiple failed marriages) and her love for her parents despite her ramshackle upbringing in small-town Canada. She’s also proud of her activism and achievements — especially having raised two well-adjusted sons with one of her former husbands, rocker Tommy Lee. Lee is still the love of her life and “the man of my dreams,” despite their long-ago divorce. She thanks him at the end of the book for being “the catalyst of everything good in my life.”

Here are 10 other notable points from Love, Pamela.

1. Anderson is a big reader

The number of books she’s read and cites in her memoir is impressive. She loves poetry (Pablo Neruda is her favorite; she likes to read him aloud even though she doesn’t speak Spanish). She writes about books she’s read on psychology, philosophy, parenting, mythology, art, acting, even fairy tales. She reads Frida Kahlo, Sylvia Plath, Anaïs Nin, Virginia Woolf, Doris Lessing, Emily Dickinson and more.

Her father — though sometimes a mean drunk toward her mother when Anderson was young — had a large library, where she discovered Shakespeare one day.

“I was stunned — it was so beautiful, like another language entirely,” she writes. Anderson can recite Hamlet’s soliloquy to this day.

2. Beer brought her to Playboy’s attention

She was hired for beer ads in the “big city” of Vancouver as the Blue Zone Girl, appearing for the first time in front of a huge crowd on a stadium Jumbotron screen wearing a T-shirt reading “Enter the Blue Zone.” She hated the way she looked on that screen, she writes, but then Playboy’s famous photo editor, Marilyn Grabowski, called to say she had been noticed and Hugh Hefner was interested in shooting her for the October 1989 cover.

3. She admires Hugh Hefner

She saw the late Hef (he died in 2017) as the “epitome of chivalry, a true gentleman — elegant, passionate, so charming, and yet with that little-boy giggle.” She liked the Playboy Mansion, which she saw as “Disneyland without the fireworks.” On a visit, she was impressed by a painting by Salvador Dalí on a wall. Hefner was impressed she knew who the Spanish artist was.

In a poem, she describes appearing in Playboy as “an honor and a privilege” and “empowering,” even as she acknowledges the personal repercussions:

I never thought of it as immoral or salacious but the unforeseen downside​ was that itmay have set me up.

It gave some​ people the impetus, sadly,​ to treat me​ without respect.

And when her adored son Brandon turned 18 and was living and working in London, she arranged to get him a membership to the local Playboy Club so he’d have somewhere to go if he needed anything. “I told the girls there to keep an eye on him. They most certainly did, with no complaints from Brandon.”

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4. She was raped before she was 13

Anderson was talked into going home with a 20-year-old man — the friend of a friend. He attacked her, leaving her “blinded by pain.”

She thought it was her fault, she felt ashamed, and she feared that everyone knew, as if it were tattooed on her forehead.

“It hurt me a lot, keeping this secret. It was so confusing, and I didn’t know who to go to,” she writes.

5. She was even younger when a babysitter sexually abused her

Growing up, she writes, she began to see that some people are “awful” but “babysitters are even worse.”

“That’s what happens when you are inappropriately messed with as a child. In my case, it was a young female babysitter who sexualized me very early, forcing me to play weird games on her body.”

Later, she fought back when the babysitter told her that Santa Claus would not be coming because she had been “bad.” She stabbed the babysitter in the chest with a candy-cane-striped pen and screamed “I hope you die!” through tears, then ran.

“Soon after, [the babysitter] died in a car accident,” Anderson writes. “I couldn’t tell my parents that I’d killed her with my magical mind, or that she was touching me and making me touch her in ways I don’t want to remember.”

6. She often fell for bad men

And wondered why: “Was I doing something wrong? Did I make them crazy? They would turn violent, mean, cruel, so quickly. I felt I did everything to try to get them to love me, by being accommodating, generous, or by just being the comedian — laughter always being an easy way for me to cut the tension.”

Once, she recounts, one of her angry, jealous beaus, Boogieman Jack, kicked her over and over until he shoved her out of their car at speed. Thanks to her gymnastics training, she landed a perfect dismount and rolled into a ditch.

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7. Her father was also violent

Her parents loved each other madly — and fought each other madly throughout her childhood (they are still together, supported by Anderson). She tried in vain to rescue her mother, who declined to be saved. Finally, when she saw her dad try to push her mother’s face into a burner on the stove, Anderson exploded and popped him in the jaw, screaming at him to get out of the house.

“I was so disappointed in both of them, and in myself for resorting to an uncontrolled violent act after witnessing something violent,” she writes. “Violence begets violence.” It’s a lesson she never forgot during her own marriages.

Earlier in childhood, when she brought her cat’s kittens into the house without permission, her father got so angry he stuffed the kittens in a bag, took them down to the beach and drowned them as they mewed piteously.

“He drowned them in front of me. I felt like I died that night, too.”

8. She’s been an advocate for animal rights since another childhood incident

Her father and his friends were hunting enthusiasts. When she was about 6, she was warned against going inside the pump house after a hunting trip, so of course she had to do it. She broke through the fence, opened the creaky door and found a headless deer hanging upside down, blood dripping into a bucket, the head sitting on a bloody stump. She was pierced with horror.

“That turned me off eating animals and turned me into an activist,” Anderson writes. “I thought: It’s not fair, animals have no gun, no voice. Maybe I could be their voice. I convinced Dad to never hunt again by inflicting as much emotional trauma on him as I could. I made him sorry till my pigtails stood on end, fountaining tears, begging him. He promised me he’d never hunt again, and he didn’t. I recognized what little power I had. It was a start.”

9. She believes in fairies

Her paternal grandfather Herman, whom she adored, gave her a sense of the supernatural in her own backyard.

“He was the one who convinced me that elves and fairies exist, that the trees can talk to us and to each other. That if you place little mirrors in the garden, you can catch a fairy’s reflection. And don’t doubt me, I have seen them with my own eyes.”

10. She is proud of her success on Baywatch

Anderson is assured of renown thanks to Baywatch, in which she played lifeguard C.J. Parker in a skimpy swimsuit. She says those years are a “blur,” but she reels off the stellar stats.

“By the fourth season, I was the highest-paid actress on the show. Many of the international broadcasters would buy only the episodes I appeared in, so there were ‘Pamela clauses’ in the international deals. Baywatch was shown in 150 countries. At the time, I didn’t even know there were 150 countries.”

She does now.​

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