Pam and Tommy – how accurate is the Disney+ TV show?

Credit: Canva/Ron Wolfson

Fans of hot new miniseries Pam and Tommy are keen to know how accurate the show really is. With this in mind, we’ve done our research and separated the facts from the fiction.

A whirlwhind romance turned Hollywood nightmare – that’s the premise of new series Pam and Tommy which dropped on Disney+ this month. Baywatch beauty Pamela Anderson and Mötley Crüe rocker Tommy Lee were one of the most talked about celebrity pairings of the late nineties. First in part to their shotgun wedding, but perhaps more famously for an incident involving the first unauthorised distribution of a celebrity sex tape.

A wild rock and roll tale with many stand-out ‘did that really happen?’ moments, viewers are eager to learn what’s real and what’s not. And so, we’ve picked out key scenes and plot points and seen how they match up against the evidence. The American dramatisation is one of many shows audiences can’t stop talking about of late. Alongside ITV thriller Trigger Point, BBC adaptation This is Going to Hurt and of course the return of Peaky Blinders season 6.

How accurate is Pam and Tommy?

Hulu and Disney+ miniseries Pam and Tommy is based on the true story of US actress Pamela Anderson and her now ex-husband, rocker Tommy Lee. A glimpse into their heavily scrutinised relationship in the nineties, events in the show like their beach wedding and the leaked sex tape are certainly true. Though as with most dramatisations, some were made up for entertainment purposes.

  Their first meeting – ‘the lick’

Yes, the two first met at a New Year’s Eve party in 1994 at the Sanctuary club on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip. And Pamela Anderson confimed that Tommy did in fact introduce himself with his tongue:

“He came up, grabbed me and licked my face,” she told Movieline at the time. “I thought he was a cool, friendly, nice guy. I gave him my number.”

Tommy himself also shared details of the face-licking introduction in his autobiography Tommy Land.

  Tommy’s penis conversation

According to showcreater David Siegel, that intimate scene of the rocker is very much true.

“As much as I’d like to take credit for that, I was simply adapting a chapter from [Lee’s] memoir,” Siegel told Variety. “I think it might be a first [for television]. There was gentle pushback, because you’ve got to push back a little when a talking penis is presented to you. But Hulu was extremely supportive.”

The anecdote was shared in a passage from Lee’s memoir Tommyland which came out in 2004.

When it came to filming, actor Sebastian Stan – who plays Tommy – tried to keep it professional:

“By the end of it, I treated it like it was an intimate buddy conversation that one might have when they’re falling in love,” he told Variety.

  Pam and Tommy – the wedding

Yes, Pam and Tommy did get married after just four days of dating. Their nuptials took place in Cancún, Mexico on February 19, 1995.

According to Tommy’s friend Guerin Swing, the 32-year-old had flown over uninvited to where Pamela was doing a photoshoot. He then proceeded to propose to the then 27-year-old.

Credit: James Aylott /Getty Images

The couple exchanged vows in a beachside ceremony in front of eight guests. Pamela wore a white bikini, whilst Tommy wore board shorts. In a change of tradition, the two stars decided against wedding rings:

“We gave blood, sniffed out a marriage license and were on the beach getting married before the day was over. Instead of wedding bands, we went for something more permanent: Tattoos of each other’s names around our fingers,” Tommy Lee wrote in his autobiography The Dirt.

  Tommy threatened Rand Gauthier with a gun

Rand himself set the record straight on this story during an interview with Rolling Stone back in 2014.

He alleges that after being fired for the job, he and a contractor returned to pick up their tools. It was on this occasion that Tommy aimed a shotgun at them and shouted: “Get the f**k off my property.”

“I was never really that popular with people,” he says. “But I had never been held at gunpoint. It screwed with my head.”

The publication goes on to suggest that Gauthier wanted revenge following the gun incident. “He wanted the drummer to feel vulnerable, to realize that he was just a human being, not an invincible rock god, even if he had sold 20 million records by the age of 32.”

  Rand Gauthier stole the safe – and THAT sex tape

In the same Rolling Stones article, Rand says that he spent the entire summer of 1995 planning the robbery. He even goes as far to share that he planned wearing a white Tibetan yak fur rug over his back to camouflage him. The idea was it would make him appear as one of the couple’s dogs on their CCTV.

He goes on to tell the publication that taking the items was only meant as a laugh. But that once he found and watched the homemade tape he knew it would sell.

Rand then used his adult film industry contacts to help leak the video.

  Tommy Lee’s fight with Third Eye Blind singer Stephan Jenkins

No, both Stephan Jenkins and show bosses have confirmed a spat between the two never took place. In the show, the two rock figures clash over who has the right to record in the bigger studio. But this scene was added for entertainment value.

“I did a little quick Google search, what label was Mötley Crüe on? Elektra. Who else was on Elektra? Third Eye Blind,” says executive producer Rob Siegel. “The timing was perfect. In 1996 they’re working on their debut album. But the scene is fictional, but I like to think it absolutely could have happened.”

Everyone knows Studio A is for the Crüe… #PamAndTommy pic.twitter.com/MPnuzziMdl

— Pam & Tommy on Hulu (@pamandtommy) February 19, 2022

Jenkins has also publicly confirmed that he had not even met Lee during this time:

“Mötley Crüe and I’ve never been in the same studio,” the singer told Variety. “I recorded my whole first album in Northern California. So we were across the state from each other at the very least… I had never, in fact, listened to Mötley Crüe. I never even heard them.”

What has Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee said about Pam and Tommy?

Pamela Anderson

The Baywatch actress hasn’t publicly commented on the miniseries, but sources close to the star are pretty confident she won’t be watching along.

“I do know she’ll never, never watch this,” a source told Entertainment Weekly. “Not even years from now. Not even the trailer.”

Credit: Getty

It seems Pamela has been keen to distance herself from the project and did not respond when showrunners and cast members reached out for her input.

Actress Lily James, who plays Pamela in the series, said she was “really hopeful that she would be involved”. She told Porter magazine that she wishes “it had been different”.

“My sole intention was to take care of the story and to play Pamela authentically,” she added. “And I was very hopeful that we would be in touch right up until we started filming.”

In order to film it without Pamela’s permission they based it on the 2014 Rolling Stones article by Rand Gauthier. This includes details on how the tape was stolen and subsequently shared online.

The Entertainment Weekly source goes some way to explaining Pamela’s lack of interest. They told the publication that Pamela is now “focused on her life in Vancouver”, adding that she “doesn’t read the headlines” and instead is “focused on her philanthropic efforts and wants any press she ever gets to be about that now.”

Tommy Lee

In contrast, Tommy Lee seems to feel quite positively about the series. In fact, in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, he shared that he had been in contact with the actor who plays him on-screen:

“I know Sebastian, he’s playing me. From what he’s told me, [it’s a] really beautiful story,” he said. “I think a lot of people would think it’s one thing, but it’s really about privacy and how things got crazy then. There’s different laws now.”

Tommy admits that whilst the fictionalisation of this moment in his life is fun, the reality wasn’t:

“The story’s actually cool, what actually happened wasn’t, but [Stan] tells me it’s pretty wild, ” he said, adding that “people need to know” what happened.

Credit: Getty

The Entertainment Weekly source who shared insight into Pamela’s thoughts on the show, also had thoughts on Tommy and his reaction to the show.

“Tommy doesn’t get it,” they said. “He’s in the same mindset he was at the time: that any publicity is good publicity.”

How long were Pam and Tommy married for?

Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee were married for just over three years. During this time, they welcomed two sons together – Brandon Thomas in June 1996 and Dylan Jagger in December 1997.

Why did Pam and Tommy break up?

Pamela filed for divorce from husband Tommy in May 1998 following a domestic assault incident. In February of the same year, Tommy allegedly attacked and kicked Pamela several times whilst she was holding their youngest son Dylan. The actress called the police and Tommy was later charged with spousal abuse, being sentenced to six months in prison.

Despite being divorced, the two did try and make a go of it again when Tommy was out of prison. In May 1999, whilst appearing on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Pamela confirmed this:

“Tommy and I are back together, working our family out. We’re doing really well and our children are happy,” she said. “It’s been a long, hard year … and I want my family together.”

Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee together again in 1999. (Credit: LUCY NICHOLSON/AFP via Getty Images)

The reunion went on to be short lived, though with the two splitting again in 2000. But the two got back together again for a third time in 2008.

“Pamela and the kids have moved in with me,” Tommy told Rolling Stone. “It’s awesome, man. It’s definitely working. You can tell on the kids’ faces — they’re happy when we’re together. We’ve only given it a try 800 times — 801, here we go.”

The on-again off-again couple finally called it quits two years late in 2010. But it seems there’s still a lot of love between the two.

In an interview with PEOPLE magazine in 2015, Pamela called the Motley Crue star “the love of my life”:

“There was Tommy and then there was nobody else,” she said. “We had a wild and crazy beginning that was too much for both of us. I had beautiful children with him. My kids are grateful to be born out of true love. Everything else I was trying to piece together.”

Pam and Tommy series – your quick guide:

Q. How many episodes of Pam and Tommy?

A. There’s eight episodes in total which are being released weekly, every Wednesday on Disney+. At present, fans can watch the first five episodes online via the streaming platform. Episodes are around approximately 45 minutes each.

Q. Who plays Pam in Pam and Tommy?

A. British actress Lily James plays Pamela Anderson in the miniseries Pam and Tommy. The 32-year-old is no stranger to the small screen appearing in TV shows like Downton Abbey, War and Peace and The Pursuit of Love. She’s also played the title roles in Cinderella and Rebecca, whilst also starring in Mamma Mia 2 and Baby Driver.

Lily recently revealed it took 4 hours to physically transfrom into Pamela for the series. This included hair, makeup, wardrobe and prosthetics – including fake breasts.

Credit: Canva

“The breast piece was amazing,” she said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “You would never, never know it wasn’t me. It was shocking.

“I was in the makeup chair at 3:30 a.m., and there would be this four-hour process to get me into the Pamela look,”

Q. Who plays Tommy in Pam and Tommy?

A. American actor Sebastian Stan plays Tommy Lee in the miniseries Pam and TammyMarvel fans will recognise the 39-year-old as Bucky Barnes or the Winter Soldier in both the Captain America and Avengers movies. Though he’s also appeared in films I, Tonya, The Martian and Ricki and the Flash.

Stan told Entertainment Weekly that he hopes the show sets the record straight on the sex tape story – once and for all.

“There’s a lot of misconceptions about it,” he said. “You’d heard something about it, or you thought you knew something but the truth is, you didn’t. That’s what’s being unpacked here with the show.”

Stan had a transformation of his own in the role, similar to co-star Lily. According to Vanity Fair, he had to have 35 fake tattoos applied to his body to appear as the rocker in real life.

Supporting cast:

Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) plays Uncle Miltie
Seth Rogen (Knocked Up, Bad Neighbours) Rand Gauthier
Taylor Schilling (Orange is the New Black, The Lucky One) plays Erica Gauthier

Actor Mike Seely also makes an appearance as Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. Meanwhile Seth Rogen also had a role behid the camera too – executively producing the series.

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