It was one of the most notorious scandals of the 1990s – involving one of the decade’s most famous couples.
Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee were a tabloid’s dream – the glamorous pin-up and a bad-boy rock star.
The pair married on a beach in Cancun, Mexico, in 1995 – just 96 hours after their first date – but in the months that followed, their relationship would take on a new kind of infamy.
The Baywatch star and the Motley Crue drummer recorded a sex tape on their honeymoon that was only meant for them.
But, to their devastation, the video was stolen from their Malibu home by a disgruntled workman and eventually distributed to millions with the help of the internet – still in its infancy and resembling something like a digital Wild West.
The new drama Pam & Tommy is based on this incredible true story.
Who leaked the Pam and Tommy sex tape?
Soon after their marriage, Pam and Tommy moved in together and the video tape from their honeymoon was stored away in the garage of their Malibu mansion.
Then the couple hired some tradesmen to renovate the home – but the workers claimed they had to put up with impossible demands.
One of the contractors was an electrician called Rand Gauthier – who says he was owed $20,000 for work but Tommy refused to pay up.
The disgruntled workman then hatched a plan to break into the mansion and steal a safe from the couple’s garage – expecting it to contain jewelery and weapons.
But when he found the sex tape he realized he had found something potentially much more valuable.
Coincidentally, Gauthier worked in the porn industry but he failed to sell the tape without Pam and Tommy’s consent.
But with the help of burly, X-rated film producer Uncle Miltie, I have decided to distribute it on the internet while hoping to remain anonymous.
It became a full-blown cultural obsession when it finally hit the web in 1997. The tape, which was meant to have an audience of just two, was seen by millions.
Pam and Tommy launched their own investigation to find out who had betrayed them – hiring a private investigator and even a biker gang – and eventually sued the video distribution company, receiving a confidential settlement agreement.
Are Pam and Tommy still together?
In 1998, a year after the tape appeared on the internet, Tommy Lee was arrested following reports that he had assaulted Pam while she was holding their two-month-old son, Dylan.
He was sentenced to six months in prison and Pam filed for divorce – asking for custody of their two children – Brandon and Dylan.
The couple got back together in 2008 but split up for good in 2010 – though they remain committed to raising their children together.
How many episodes of Pam & Tommy will there be?
Pam & Tommy is an eight-part series that can be streamed on Hulu and Disney+. The first three episodes are available now – with the following chapters landing weekly on Wednesdays from February 9.
The series stars Lily James as Pamela Anderson, Sebastian Stan as Tommy Lee, Seth Rogen as Rand Gauthier and Nick Offerman as Uncle Miltie.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.