Pamela Anderson Was On One Of The Most Famous Shows In The World. She’s Still Spent Most Of Her Life In Debt

When we think of some of our favorite celebrities, it’s pretty easy to assume lots of things about their lives. One of those things, certainly, is that they have more money than the rest of us could ever dream of calling our own, so when we find out that’s actually not true, it generally comes as a giant shock. On the eve of those with a Netflix subscription being able to watch Baywatch star Pamela Anderson discuss her own life in Pamela, A Love Story, we’ve now found out that her star-making turn on one of the most famous shows in the world didn’t lead her to financial freedom, and she’s spent most of her life in debt.

What Did Pamela Anderson Say About Being In Debt Despite Her Time On Baywatch?

The fast approaching documentary of the actress and Playboy model (who recently shared some surprising thoughts on Hugh Hefner and why she posed for the magazine) will debut on the same day as her new memoir, Love, Pamela, and both have led to some big revelations about her life. According to Yahoo! Entertainment, the director of the documentary, Ryan White, admitted to being “shocked” at finding out that Anderson has spent much of her time struggling with debt. He told the outlet:

She was the most famous woman in the world on the most famous show in the world and she doesn't have a nest egg from Baywatch to rely upon.

The director continued, noting that he didn’t realize the Barb Wire star was in a near constant state of financial straits until about half of the way through the documentary shoot, when they went to share a meal at a restaurant and she insisted on paying. He added:

She said, like, 'Ryan, you always pay, just let me pay this once.’ As she was handing over a credit card, she made this like half joke [about how her credit card sometimes] doesn't work... I laughed, but she was like, 'No, really, a lot of times throughout my career my credit cards were declined. I am just not a good financial planner.'

It’s probably hard for people who weren’t aware of pop culture in the ‘90s to imagine, but Baywatch was, indeed, a phenomenon. Anderson was on the series for five years, but it lasted for 11 seasons, and though it was never considered a truly good show (and was axed by NBC after its first season, leading to its long life in first-run syndication), racked up worldwide weekly viewership of over 1 billion people. 

To think that she didn’t get enough money from her time on the hit to sustain her for decades, especially as she became one of the most recognizable faces from the action drama, seems impossible. Though, in her forthcoming book, she does admit that she negotiated her deal for the series without any representation, and had no idea how much money she could have made.

In the film, Anderson makes it clear that she and her ex-husband, Tommy Lee, never got any money from the sex tape that was made and sold using footage stolen from their home movies. They even turned down a $5 million payment, and she noted that she doesn’t regret not getting anything from its sale because of how much of a violation it was. She has spoken about this a lot recently because of Pam & Tommy, the scripted miniseries made about that time in her life. The star and her ex refused to participate in the making of the show, and she even said recently that thinking about the show, which won an Emmy award for turning Lily James and Sebastian Stan into the couple, made her “sick.”

She’s been sharing a lot lately, including things like how the producers of 2017’s Baywatch movie begged her to appear, but only if she did it for free, how Tim Allen allegedly flashed her on Home Improvement, and that, supposedly, Sylvester Stallone wanted her to be his "#1 Girl."  So, it’s pretty clear that there will be a lot more revealed when Anderson’s documentary hits Netflix on January 31.

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Covering The Witcher, Outlander, Virgin River, Sweet Magnolias and a slew of other streaming shows, Adrienne Jones is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend, and started in the fall of 2015. In addition to writing and editing stories on a variety of different topics, she also spends her work days trying to find new ways to write about the many romantic entanglements that fictional characters find themselves in on TV shows. She graduated from Mizzou with a degree in Photojournalism.