How much was Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee's sex tape worth? Pregnant 'Baywatch' star was 'heartbroken' by leak
While the news of their leaked tape is not a new one, the scandal is going to be immortalized in a new million-dollar mini-series, 'Pam & Tommy,' starring Lily James as Pamela alongside American actor Sebastian Stan
Long before Kim Kardashian became famous, or 'infamous,' for a leaked sex tape, Pamela Anderson and her then-husband Tommy Lee made headlines for a leaked tape of their intimate moments.
While the news of their leaked tape is not a new one, the scandal is going to be immortalized in a new million-dollar mini-series, 'Pam & Tommy,' starring Lily James as Pamela alongside American actor Sebastian Stan.
The mini-series will feature parts of the couple's whirlwind romance on-screen. Featuring the nudes of the then-tabloid favorites, the stolen tape of the 'Baywatch' star and 'Motley Crue' rocker from one of their vacations became the talk of the town when it made its way into the public sphere in 1996.
Anderson and Lee made that video on their honeymoon, aboard a boat on Lake Mead in California. Journalist Caroline Graham recently recalled in a column for the Daily Mail how the couple had no idea that a compilation of their private moments while on vacation would become pubic.
"Oh, it was great fun, just us on a boat," Anderson told Graham. "We were naked most of the time." Anderson had later confided in Graham that the tape was for their eyes only. "We made it for ourselves. We got home and put it in the safe. It wasn't something we discussed with anyone. It was just for fun, for us."
Was the sex tape sold?
In the tape, out of the 54 minutes, only eight minutes showed them having sex. Over the years, many have suggested that the couple must have been complicit in leaking the tape for financial gain and fame.
However, Graham revealed the reality in her column. In the Christmas of 1996, when Anderson was pregnant with her first child, she said she was "heartbroken" and "embarrassed" by the tape leak. "I don't ever want our kids to see it. Why would anyone ever willingly release something like that?" Anderson said at the time.
Some have estimated that the tape like that could have made as much as $77 million. One of the video companies was ordered to pay close to a million dollars to the couple in damages in 2002. However, later the couple said that they never saw a penny of the money after the company shut down.
'Goofing around naked'
Lee was reportedly furious and swore he had no idea the sex tape was in the safe. By the time the couple got back to Los Angeles after their London trip, bootleg copies of the video had already begun getting circulated. Before long, it was being posted on the internet. It did not take time for it to go viral.
Anderson wasted no time in hiring lawyers who filed civil lawsuits against everyone she believed was involved in leaking the tape. Despite the police looking into it, no criminal charges were ever brought against any concerned party.
"There was no way to control it," one of Anderson's friends said. "It was all over the internet. It was the first sex tape to go viral. Who knows how much money it made? Back then the internet was the Wild West. The sex tape changed Hollywood.
Celebrities realized it was better to release videos themselves rather than risk them being released illegally on the internet and not making anything." Lee also confided in Graham at the time to plead his innocence at a time when all the fingers were being pointed at him. "I don't know what's so interesting about watching a married couple f***," he said.
"I'm not the President. We were on vacation doing something the rest of the world does, filming each other goofing around naked. It's no big deal," he added. In 1997, Anderson and Lee had a second son, Dylan. The couple divorced the following year after Tommy was jailed for assaulting Anderson during a domestic row. They briefly reconciled in 2008 before finally splitting in 2010.