Home Health Fact-checking 'Pam & Tommy': Pamela Anderson, Tommy Lee and the stolen sex tape – USA TODAY

Fact-checking 'Pam & Tommy': Pamela Anderson, Tommy Lee and the stolen sex tape – USA TODAY

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The world has met “Pam & Tommy.”
Hulu’s sensational eight-part series is based on the true story of “Baywatch” star Pamela Anderson and Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee  — and the viral fallout after their stolen private sex tape was released on the 1990s internet.
Beyond the stunning transformation of British “Cinderella” actress Lily James to Anderson and “Captain America” star Sebastian Stan as Lee, the series doesn’t veer far from the true story of the events.
Because neither Lee nor Anderson provided permission or support for the tale, “Pam & Tommy” producers drew from other sources, including optioning the rights to a detailed 2014 Rolling Stone article, “Pam and Tommy: The Untold Story of the World’s Most Infamous Sex Tape.”
Here’s what’s true (the wild-and-instant star love) and what’s disputed (details of the theft) from the first three “Pam & Tommy” episodes (now streaming): 
More:A prosthetic chest, hours of tattoos: How ‘Pam & Tommy’ transformed Lily James, Sebastian Stan
While the “Pam & Tommy” premiere touches on Anderson and Lee’s paparazzi-filled relationship, the wild, rock-and-roll beginnings are fully portrayed in episode two, “I Love You, Tommy.”
Neither star was looking for new love at the Sanctuary night club on New Year’s Eve in  1994 (Lee even had a girlfriend, Bobbie Brown). But when Anderson bought shots of Goldschlager for the entire club during a girls’ night out, Lee was wowed. “I grab my bottle of Cristal, slam the shot, and go over and sit right next to her,” Lee writes in “Tommy Land,” his 2004 memoir. “I don’t say a word. I just, like, lick the side of her face.” In the episode, Anderson then licks her girlfriend’s face, and the party ensues.
Lee persistently called Anderson afterward and flew to Cancun, to be near her on a February 1995 work trip, writing in his memoir that he called every local hotel to find the star. Anderson agreed to have one drink, and during the night of wild clubbing that followed, the couple bonded. Lee writes, “I had to marry her. Right now, in Mexico.” He borrowed a friend’s pinky ring: “I put it on her and ask her if she’ll marry me. She says yes, and four days later we did it.”
The couple found a priest and married on the beach in bathing suits with cocktails before sunset on Feb. 19, 1995. After they were married, “Tommy picked me up and carried me into the water, and all those people followed us into the ocean,” Anderson says in notes added to Lee’s memoir.
The newlyweds were virtual strangers. On the flight home, “Pamela is asking me where I live and what I like for breakfast. It was so bizarre,” writes Lee.
“I thought it was the wildest, greatest thing I ever did,” Anderson adds.
The two landed amid a paparazzi feeding frenzy. “It is the beginning of all that,” Lee writes.  
Episode 2 features Lee’s conversation with his own penis (a prosthetic voiced by “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” star Jason Mantzoukas).
This conversation is based on a literary truth. The opening of Lee’s “Tommy Land,” entitled “Introduction: A State of Mind, a.k.a. Straight From the Dome,” features an argument between the author and his infamous appendage,  which states that it should be writing the book because people will read it “to find out how long I really am.” 
“I’m way more famous than you. We both know that I’m the star and you’re the personal assistant, that I’m Batman and you’re Robin.”
The series premiere explains how electrician Rand Gauthier (Seth Rogen), the disgruntled contractor working for Lee, stole the couple’s private tape.
In his memoir, Lee discusses the Malibu dream “Love Palace” he remodeled with his new wife with heart-shaped front doors, a mega-sized bedroom with an open shower and a 30-foot swing over the grand piano in the living room.
In the Rolling Stone article, Gauthier said he was willing to forgive the $20,000 he claimed Lee owed him after being fired from the job. But when he and a general contractor returned to the mansion to retrieve their tools, Gauthier said Lee pointed a shotgun at him, warning, “Get the (expletive) off my property” — a scene portrayed onscreen.
That summer, Gauthier said he sat outside the house several nights a week devising a plan. “I cased the joint,” he told Rolling Stone. The tape, stored in a Browning safe with other valuables, was stolen from Lee and Anderson’s house in November 1995.
The theft in the show relies on Gauthier’s retelling of the crime in Rolling Stone — a 3 a.m. trek in which he wore a white Tibetan yak fur rug and crawled so the security cameras, which he had installed, would seem to show Lee’s sheepdog. Gauthier claimed he alone strapped the safe to a dolly and wheeled it out and into a truck, just as portrayed onscreen, while a security gate loudly opened, causing Gauthier to panic.
There is some dispute on whether Gauthier could have pulled off the job solo. Fellow contractor Lonnie (Larry Brown), who is initially involved with Gauthier’s plot before pulling out, is a composite character.
Lee claimed in his memoir “there’s no way one guy could do it alone.” Removing the safe, hidden behind heavy recording equipment would have required “a crane, a flatbed and a crew of guys,” Lee wrote. 
Gauthier said he took the safe to a secure location and opened it with a demolition saw. Later, he took the Hi8 tape to porn-studio owner Milton “Uncle Miltie” Owen Ingley (Nick Offerman).
The third episode, “Jane Fonda,” shows Uncle Miltie and Gauthier trying to find someone to distribute the stolen video. After multiple rejections, the two eventually met with mobster Louis “Butchie” Peraino (Andrew Dice Clay), who agreed to give them $50,000 to cover manufacturing and distribution of the tape, according to Rolling Stone— “with the expectation that he would receive interest on the loan and a cut of the sales.”
It took two years for the tape to go from bootleg to viral internet sensation. The trail of destruction to all parties, especially Anderson and Lee’s marriage, are handled in upcoming episodes.
After a tumultuous relationship, the couple, who had two children together, divorced in 1998. Anderson has maintained that Lee was “the love of my life.”

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