“I’m just not a good financial planner”

Pamela Anderson gets real about life and love in her new Netflix doc, Pamela, A Love Story, out Tuesday.  (Photo: Netflix)

Pamela Anderson gets real about life and love in her new Netflix doc, Pamela, A love story, out on Tuesday. (Photo: Netflix)

Pamela Anderson’s image has been sprayed everywhere — with and without her permission — yet she’s been in financial trouble most of her life.

This is another revelation in his Netflix documentary, Pamela, A love story. The film, directed by Ryan White, enters her home in Ladysmith, British Columbia, where she moved full-time in 2020 after unloading her property in Malibu, California. It’s on the water, boasts a boathouse, and is large enough for his parents to have a home on the property. But he’s been described as “modest” — a fun word to associate with someone who’s always been larger than life — and he appears that way, especially when it comes to celebrities.

In the film, Anderson talks about turning down $5 million for her infamous stolen tape, cut from home videos she made with then-husband Tommy Lee, in the 1990s with the couple not earning a dime. Playboy Central Folders famously never made models rich, and she didn’t have an agent when she negotiated her contract for the world’s most-watched TV show, Baywatch. There was no glam squad for the doctor. In one scene, Anderson – one of the most famous blondes in the world – goes to a local drug story to buy a box of hair dye.

(Photo: Netflix)

Anderson mows the grass on his property in Ladysmith, British Columbia, which he bought from his grandmother. (Photo: Netflix)

Her son Brandon Lee, a producer on the film, openly says his mother has been in debt most of her life, as they discussed the tape, which she insisted she didn’t regret not monetizing, even though the offer had been a billion, because it was a violation. Anderson also expressed ongoing concern about his credit card denials. (Over the years, she’s made headlines for tax insolvencies, been involved in several high-profile lawsuits, and lost money tearing down and rebuilding that Malibu home, spending $8 million in cash, which she reportedly struggled to pay. .)

White, who directed the documentary, tells Yahoo Entertainment he was “shocked” to learn of his financial woes, especially that he got so little from the global hit baywatch, in which she appeared in the mid-90s for five years.

“She was the world’s most famous woman on the world’s most famous show and hasn’t had a nest egg since Baywatch you can rely on,” marvels White.

Canadian actress Pamela Anderson on the set of the action television series 'Baywatch', Los Angeles, California, USA, circa 1996. (Photo by Kypros/Getty Images)

Pamela Anderson on the set of the global hit show Baywatch in 1996. (Photo: Kypros/Getty Images)

White says he “just thought” that Anderson, “an icon” in pop culture, would be “extremely rich.” He didn’t realize he wasn’t until halfway through filming. He mentioned how they were out eating together, outside of Vegas, and she insisted on paying.

“He said, like, ‘Ryan, you always pay,'” which is customary for a documentary filmmaker, “‘just let me pay once,” she recalled. “While he was handing over a credit card, he did this as a half-joke [about how her credit card sometimes] it’s not working… I laughed, but she said, ‘No, really, many times during my career my credit cards have been declined. I’m just not a good financial planner.'”

(Photo: Netflix)

Pamela Anderson and son Brandon Pamela, A love story. (Photo: Netflix)

She added, “It’s shocking how famous she is and how much she’s been a part of American pop culture for the last 30 years and something that’s been in financial trouble so many times. It was really revealing and really humanizing.”

In the film, Brandon told his mother that he wishes he’d made money off the stolen tape — as traumatizing as it was for her — because his career took such a hit from the tape. Both he and Dylan are in the film, looking at Anderson’s life, from the beginning to the present.

White says they’re “such an unconventional family in so many ways … You can’t categorize this family. They’re crazy in the best way, and so open and honest with each other, and they have nothing to hide. It’s like this open door policy to talk about anything.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 12: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) (LR) Dylan Jagger Lee, Pamela Anderson and Brandon Thomas Lee pose backstage during the opening night of her Broadway debut as Roxie Hart in the musical

Pamela Anderson with sons Dylan Jagger Lee (left) and Brandon Thomas Lee backstage during the opening night of her Broadway debut as Roxie Hart in the musical Chicago on Broadway on April 12, 2022. (Photo: Bruce Glikas/Getty Images)

Working with Anderson, White had to be “nimble,” she says, because he wasn’t sure what she was going to do next. The film uses his collection of archival video (“hundreds and hundreds” of tapes he had in the attic of his boathouse) as well as piles of journals he kept as a teenager to present, so some days he’d agree to look at an old clip — like her Cancun wedding to Lee in 1995 — but then it would stir up too much emotion and the next time he asked, she’d turn it down.

“‘No, that time has passed. I think you’ve had enough,'” he recalls her saying. “And that’s what I love about Pamela is that she’s very, very authentic. Nothing in my film — not even the hair dye stuff… [me] asking, ‘Where are you going?’ and she says: “I’m going to the pharmacy” [and me tagging along] “not knowing she was going to dye her hair, not even knowing she dyed her own hair.”

She adds, “Every time I tried to direct Pamela or say, ‘How about we do it today?’ She always said, ‘No,'” she laughs. “She always likes to do her own thing. So I learned to be very nimble and to always be open to surprises. And I was repeatedly throughout the filmmaking process.”

Pamela, A love story comes out Tuesday at 3:00 ET on Netflix. On the same day, Anderson’s memoir, With love, Pamela, goes on sale.

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