Ryan White, the director of Netflix’s Pamela Anderson documentary, says she’s nothing if not honest.
Ahead of the release of Pamela, A Love Story on Jan. 31 — the same day her memoir, Love, Pamela, comes out — some of the anecdotes she shares in the projects have leaked out and made headlines. This week, Tim Allen denied a story Anderson tells in her book (“never happened”) about him flashing her on her first day of Home Improvement in 1991 after telling her it was only fair because he had seen her naked in Playboy. Anderson doubled down in a response, saying it’s a “true story” and she meant “no ill will” toward Allen in telling it, but was illustrating “uncomfortable situations” she faced during her career. Soon after, Sylvester Stallone called it “completely untrue” that he offered her a condo and a Porsche and asked her to be his No. 1 girl in that era. (She’s told the Stallone story before, in 2018, with an outlet noting at the time that his rep didn’t respond to request for comment.)
Pamela, A Love Story director White tells Yahoo Entertainment he’s“not surprised people are denying things” as the release date of the projects draws close. However, “What I will say is: Pamela is honest. She lives her life in the most honest way I’ve ever seen. Her North Star is honesty — to a fault. I think she just cannot be dishonest… So I would put my money behind anything Pamela Anderson ever says.”
Having spent time together making the doc, including at her home in Ladysmith, British Columbia, where she moved in 2020, White adds that Anderson “doesn’t do things to get attention. She doesn’t do things to make money,” famously turning down a deal for $5 million after her home video with Tommy Lee was stolen and sold as a sex tape, never making any money off it. “Pamela has never been a chess player when it comes to fame or money. It’s just not interesting to her. She’s interested in living really authentically though, out loud, [and] encourages that — and honesty — in everybody.”
White reveals that there were many other potentially headline-making stories that he left out of the doc.
“So any anecdote that she’s ever told me — and there are so many good ones that would be clickbait that I just didn’t include in the film because they didn’t serve the larger story of my film — I believe every single one of them,” he says.
For the project, produced by Anderson’s elder son Brandon Thomas Lee, the Baywatch alum, 55, turned over her journals as well as her entire personal video archive. White and his team rented a cargo van to get everything from Vancouver Island, Canada, back to Los Angeles. His team “read every single diary and watched every single minute of footage that Pamela ever shot in her life to look for these diamonds in the rough.”
The doc uses the videos and her words, as well as new interviews with her, to tell the story of growing up in Canada in a household with young parents who fought and broke up a lot. She was sexually abused by a babysitter as a child and later raped at 12. It takes viewers on her journey to stardom, posing for Playboy for the first time and then becoming a global TV superstar in that famous red swimsuit. Anderson recounts — at times in interviews sans makeup in a bathrobe in her modest living room — the highs and lows of her love story with first Tommy Lee, as well as subsequent marriages, and shares what she’s learned now that she’s 55 and single, living in the home her grandparents once owned.
Pamela, A Love Story comes out Tuesday at 3 a.m. ET on Netflix. Her memoir, Love, Pamela, goes on sale the same day.