An Interview with Jane Magazine, Dec 1999 issue

Pam swinging in her old home
Photograph from the old Malibu home, 1997, with Tommy and Brandon
 
This long interview was taken after Pamela reunited with her husband Tommy Lee and during the production of the second season of her TV show V.I.P. in late 1999. It's the usual candid thing, but read the remarks of the interviewer of the womens magazine JANE !

WHAT
HAPPENED
WAS...

Pamela Anderson Lee tells Suzan Colón the naked truth about her life.

"The last time we spoke, I was like... I don't even know how I was getting through the day."

Introductory remarks by the interviewer: The last time we spoke, four our June/July 1998 issue, Pamela Anderson Lee and her sons, Brandon and Dylan(-Jagger), had just moved into their new house. They'd left the old one after a highly publicized night when Pamela's husband, ex-Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, lost it and beat her up in front of the kids. Tommy went to jail; Pamela became a single mom and, as a by-product of her willingness to expose herself in a very different way than the public was used to, emerged as the heroine of abused women everywhere. But would she get back together with him? "Who knows what's going to happen five years down the road?" she told me at the time.
Since then, Pamela's new TV show, V.I.P., has become a fun, campy hit; Tommy stopped drinking and has been attending an anger-management program. And somewhere along the way, Pam and Tommy did get back together. To the people who'd read her story and sympathized, it seemed impossible --- especially after the horrifying details of the abuse that Pamela had shared. Which brings up another problem.
You can ask the president of the United States whether he wears boxers or briefs, but you can't ask Pamela Anderson Lee anything. Her handlers, the people in the business of Pam, insisted that there be no questions about her husband, no questions about getting her implants removed, no questions about this, don't ask that... . It got to the point that we said, "Fine, how about we don't ask her any questions?" That, they said, would be okay.
Pamela knew about the restrictions of this interview, and she didn't agree with them. She felt that talking about her personal life made people understand her and like her. That it made her more human. So once again she didn't hold back. As the 32-year old actress, wife, mom and professional celebrity sat in her cozy doublewide trailer on the set of  V.I.P., in a simple white T-shirt and sweats, she got radiantly mushy when she talked about her sons, and spoke in a hesitant, but hopeful tone about her future with Tommy. She seemed strong, fallible and perfectly imperfect. In other words, human.

You know I'm a blabbermouth. I'll say whatever is on my mind. I was just talking to Katarina Witt in the makeup trailer. She's an Olympic gold medalist, and she's so guarded because she's been trashed by the press in Germany. She said, "How do you do all these interviews?" I said, "You know, if you're just very candid and open and you tell the truth, then you don't have to worry."
I meand, it's not like it's perfect, it's not all roses or anything, because there's a lot of pain that Tommy and I need to resolve. But seeing my two little boys so happy and playing with their daddy, it's just beautiful to have our family back together. But it's definitely a lot of work. It's not... I know I've made the right decision, but I still feel like there's a lot to do. We have our stuff to get through, but we have the desire. And it's not a dangerous situation.
The other day I was upset about something, and I was able to bring it up to Tommy and not have him get really angry or go, "I don't want to talk about this, it's stupid." He was like, "I can understand that." It's just so amazing. I feel like I actually have a person I can have conversations with.
Now we're trying to take all the things that we learned in the last year and bring that to our relationship. We're similar in some ways, but we're very different people. You want to be with someone who challanges you, who makes you grow. I respect Tommy's opinion, I think he's very smart. He really has a lot of passion for things, and he's very sensitive.
I think people have actually seen that in some of the interviews that he did, and the way he's handled himself, it's obvious, that he's a really strong person. He's proven that. There's a wonderful exercise where you throw out a quarter, a nickel, a dime and a penny on the table. Then you ask, "What do you see?" When our therapist did this with us, I said "Silver, copper, round things, change." When he did the same thing with Tommy, he said, "Forty-two cents." We both have two different ways of looking at things. I've learned so much with this guy and with just being on my own for a while, which was also a very valuable thing.
One of the biggest things in such a passionate, romantic, crazy --- unfortunately violent, at that time --- relationship, was coming away from thinking you cannot live without the other person to thinking, "I can live on my own. I don't need to be with that person. I want to be with them."

Since Tommy and I got back together, the tow of us really are the ones who get left in the dust a little bit.
Like, we have our work and we have our kids, who obviously are our priority. But it's really hard to structure your time. A week goes by so fast and it's like, "Oh, my God, I haven't even seen you." Tommy's like, "I haven't spent much time with Dilly [their youngest son, Dylan], you had him at work all week," so we've had to come up with a very structured life, which is so weird for both of us because we're very spontanous people. But you have to have structure for your family. Mondays, they go visit Daddy in the studio. Tuesdays, I bring Dylan to work with me. Wednesdays, I bring Brandon, so I have one-on-one time with them. Thursday mornings are my time with both my children. You have to make that time for them.... My parents went back to Canada, you know. I was forced to get a nanny for my children --- which for me was like, "I'm never getting a nanny, I'll never do that." Remember?
I've gone through so many people, spending time with them before they even met the kids. I was very, very concerned. I ended up with this wonderful woman who was in the Israeli military, so she's perfect for the boys. And I still have my nights with them.
It's funny, 'cause we all end up in the bed together in the morning. I'll put Dylan to sleep, then we'll both fall asleep. Dilly will wake up aound 1 in the morning, and I'll get him and bring him into bed with us. Then 4:30 or 5 in the morning, Brandon comes in and snuggles in with us, so when we wake up in the morning, it's the four of us. Then Brandon starts going, "Mommy, it's sunny out, we all have to get up now." You would be so amazed by Brandon, the way he speaks.
Dylan is such a little lover baby. You'll be sleeping, and he goes right to your face and grabs it, and you just wake up and see these big eyes coming down on you in this big lip-lock kiss. And then he kisses Daddy, and that's how he starts off the day. It's the best way to wake up. He just smothers you. He's such a little lover.
Dylan is very calm, an he'll share everything, but he does have a temper. You know, there's that one toy that he doesn't want to give up, and he'll do go through the roof. I always go to Tommy, "I just don't know where he gets the temper from...."
They go through their phases, but it's so funny to see them really want their autonomy. This little baby's all, "No!" And then we all scream, "Noooo!" and run around the house. They can't get it past Tommy and me as parents --- we'll just chime right in. If they start throwing food, we all throw food. Or we'll be in a restaurant and Brandon wants to eat like a doggy, so we all start eating like doggies.
 

Tommy: "I'm in hell! It's like, the worst traffic, and I'm not going to make it to anger management." Pam: "Are you angry about that?"

Manners come later, I'm sure. [Giggles] I hope. Tommy is much more about discipline, where I believe in letting them just live out how they would act. I think there's a good balance. But I'll send them to a polishing school when they start going on their own an they can see, uh-oh, people don't really act this way. But I think it's great. It's expressive and fun.

Last Thanksgiving, Brandon and I went through --- they went through all these things, Brandon specifically. I said, "You know why Mommy works?" And he goes, "So Mommy can buy me toys and look after our house and food, and all these things." Then he goes, "Some little boys don't have mommies that work, so they need toys." So he put all these toys in a box, so many that I was starting to go, "Wait, I wanna keep that." We put, like, two big boxes of toys in the back of the car, and we pulled up at this homeless shelter, and these kids came out. It was a beautiful thing. Brandon was giving away things that he loved so much that he wouldn't even share them with his own brother, and he was like a little Santa Claus. This was, when he was 2.
I think he realizes, and this is really big for a 3-year-old, that the world doesn't revolve around him, that he is a part of everything. He has compassion for things and people.
Tommy 's like that, too. I don't know if I could be with someone who didn't have some feelings for things around them, so I'm glad Tommy's that way. You woldn't think so, I mean, a lot of people wouldn't think so, you know --- tattooed rocker, gun-toting, wife-beating....
People don't see all the sides of him, but I think they're going to. His album is coming out, and it's called Metamorphosis. The band is called Methods of Mayhem, but it is about the metamorphosis that he has gone through, kind of like a cocoon to a butterfly, or whatever it is. He's realized that he could lose everything. It's a very strong album, and it's gonna be great because --- this is what I'm proud of him for --- the people who listen to his music are a lot of the people causing a lot of pain, because it's that young, testosterone-laden rock 'n' roll-attitude male. I think his fans are going to love his music. It's hip-hop, dance, but heavy rock guitars with that. And the video for "Get Naked" is poking fun at the press and the preconceived ideas. [To her security guy, Brian] Are they calling me?

Brian: Yes, they need you fully dressed and ready to go. Pamela: Fully dressed? That's a new one.
Sometimes a show will be on and the kids will an explosion or whatever, and I'll go, "It's okay, it's a movie, it's just pretend." Now Brandon will say that when he spills something: "It's okay, it's just a movie, it's just pretend." And the other day he goes, "Mommy! Mommy!" I said, "I'll be there in a second." And he goes, "Mommy --- action!" He thinks that's what gets my attention, that yelling "Action!" clicks me into high gear.

"Then again, the kids will probably rebel against us and become librarians and accountants."

I write all these things down, too. I'll tell these stories when their first girlfriends come over and I'm all wrinkled up in a chair with tattoos all sagging down to my ankles.
I picture Tommy and me that way. Old, toothless, on a bench somewhere with our tattoos and stuff, still thinking that we're pretty cool. Or that we're going to be the ones sitting on a porch with a sawed-off shotgun, and someone will walk by going, "Don't go near the Lees' house, they're crazy over there." Or they'll say, "Don't tell me you're dating one of the Lee boys."
Then again, the kids will probably rebel against us and become librarians and accountants.

Your friends say, "If you're not happy, just get out." [Sighs] Well, this person will always be in my life, and I'm happy that we're working things out and the kids are happy. You know what it is? Having children is the most wonderful part of your life. Every single thing in your relationship gets magnified --- how you act in your home, the things that you say. It's like putting your relationship into a fire and learning really, really quickly. But it's great. And right now I can actually take a breath, because we've gone through the transition period of us being back together and in the home and with our kids. They're really happy, and they go to their father a lot now. It's not perfect, it's getting better --- which is perfect. It's a work in progress.

[Pam's walkie-talkie/cell phone rings. It's Tommy.]
Pamela: I'm in my trailer and I'm doing an interview with Suzan from Jane.
Tommy: Oh, cool. So I can't talk nasty then, I guess?
Pamela: Censor yourself or it'll be in the magazine. We don't want anyone to think that you're nasty, baby.
Tommy: Yeah, we wouldn't want that to happen. I'm sorry for bothering you, but baby, I'm in hell! It's like the worst traffic, and I'm not gonna make it to anger management.
Pam [smiling]: And are you angry about that?
He'll say things now like, "You're really testing my anger management." He thinks he's a saint because he's in a male group, and he sees these people who are saying, "If you don't help me, I'm going home and I can't tell you, what's going to happen." And Tommy's in there like "Uh, hi, yesterday I was really angry because I burnt the toast...." He doesn't know what to say anymore, but he thinks it helps him, because he sees people in so much denial.

We seperated for more than a year. It's a long time, but when we were back together, it seemed like we hadn't been apart at all. After everything that we've gone through an just to be like...wow. If you're in the public eye, people can't help but watch you and compare their lives to yours, especially whe you're going through personal things. It was really wonderful to get the support of everybody who said, "I'm so glad you did this," and "I've gone through similar things." I heard people's stories.
Wo when I was considering going back with Tommy that was something I thought about a lot, how this was going to impact other people and what they would think. And... I have to do what's right for me and what's right for my life. I hope that people who are in a situation like that aren't going to do what I do what I do because they think that their situation is similar. You have to assess your situation. My husband is in anger management, he's sober, and there's all sorts of things that go into the picture. And he did it on his own. He never had any hope that we were gonna back together. He did it for himself and that's what sticks, when you do it for yourself. So I give him credit for that.
But now it's amazing...so much support again: "I'm so happy that you've worked this out with your family"; "It shows such strength and courage to give somebody another chance." People still give feedback, and it always seems to be really positive. It's definitely a work in progress, but the love is there and the kids are happy, so that's the most important thing.
Thursday is our date night., the night that we go out and have coffee or go to the movies or something. So now I get to go on dates with my husband.

Final remarks from the interviewer Suzan Colón: One of the things I like best about Pamela --- besides her willingness to tell people what's going on in her life --- is that you never know what to expect from her. She's much smarter than people give her credit for. You know, this is her decision and her life.


 

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