Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson's Heated Divorce & Custody Battle over Their Kids — a Look at Their Rocky History
They were one of the hottest and controversial couples in the entertainment industry in the '90s. Still, like most fiery romances, Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee's relationship ended on a bitter note.
Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson's relationship was one for the Hollywood books. A rockstar with a bad-boy reputation and a Playboy mate-turned-actress. Together, they were perfect headline material, and paparazzi couldn't get enough of them.
Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee at the American Music Awards, 1996 | Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage/GettyImages
Despite what most people thought at the time, Anderson and Lee were madly in love, and being together wasn't just some sexual adventure for them.
They even went on to welcome two kids into their family, although it was precisely the children's presence that led to the burnout of the couple's marriage.
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
They met on New Year's Eve in 1994. Lee was partying, as usual, with some of his friends at a bar where, coincidentally, Anderson was partying too. She sent him a drink, and Lee, high on alcohol—and other substances—approached her to introduce himself.
That resentment came afloat when Lee and eldest son Brandon were involved in a fight that ended up with Lee in the hospital.
Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee arrive at the Rodeo Drive Walk of Style Event Honoring Tom Ford on March 28, 2004 in Beverly Hills, California | Photo: GettyImages
By the end of the outing, he had her phone number and a promise to meet again. However, as it happens with rockstars and busy people in Hollywood, it was hard for them to match schedules.
Six weeks of phone flirting passed until finally, Anderson called Lee to arrange a meeting at a hotel. He was at the place with minutes to spare. She never arrived.
When Anderson finally picked up her phone, she didn't even have an apology ready because she was so busy that she had forgotten about their planned meeting. Lee, on the other hand, was still eager to see her.
American actress Pamela Anderson, 24th May 1993. | Photo: GettyImages
Sadly, Anderson was leaving for Cancun, Mexico, for a photoshoot. Lee decided to join her, going against her warnings not to take that plane because it was a business trip.
Still, when Lee appeared at her hotel in the Mayan Riviera, Anderson accepted his invitation for a drink. Their first date took place at Sr. Frogs, a bar that, according to Lee, smelled like beer and vomit.
They spent the next three days together, and on the third night, Lee proposed to Anderson with the ring he carried on his pinky finger. She said yes, and the next morning, they found someone to perform a wedding for them at the beach.
Tommy Lee and actress Pamela Anderson durimg John Paul DeJoria's annual party to thank star friends for their charitable work on December 24, 2005 in Malibu, California. | Photo: GettyImages
She was wearing a skimpy white bikini, and he only had swimming shorts. They didn't exchange rings, but a week later, back in LA and in the middle of the controversy surrounding their union, they got each other's names tattooed on their ring fingers.
THE INFAMOUS TAPE
Although critics and even some of their family members deemed the marriage as doomed from the beginning, Anderson and Lee proved everyone wrong—at least for three years.
Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson attend the film premiere of "Scary Movie 3" at the AMC Theatres Avco Cinema on October 20, 2003 | Photo: GettyImages
They were madly in love and were the soul of the party wherever they went, but they were also dealing with a lot of scrutiny from the media. Paparazzi camped outside their home, followed their cars, and were ready with a camera wherever they went.
In 1995, a bitter electrician who had worked on the couple's home renovation and had been fired by Lee stole a safe from the basement, which contained guns, jewelry, family pictures, and a video that would become the biggest scandal of the year.
Tommy Lee and actress Pamela Anderson durimg John Paul DeJoria's annual pa |rty to thank star friends for their charitable work on December 24, 2005 in Malibu, California | Photo: GettyImages
It was a clip recorded during a vacation that showed Lee and Anderson going about their day like any other couple, and that included their act of intimacy.
Anderson and Lee sued whoever was trying to sell and distribute the tape, and two years later, they signed over the copyright to a media company for what they believed would be a one-time webcast of the tape.
Unknowingly to them, the company breached the contract and distributed the tape through VHS, CDs, and DVDs.
Tommy Lee of Motley Crue arrives at the 2nd Jack Awards Ceremony at the Seymour Center on May 10, 2005 in Sydney, Australia | Photo: GettyImages
HOW KIDS CHANGED EVERYTHING
The pair welcomed their first son, Brandon Thomas Lee, on June 5, 1996. Son Dylan followed on December 29, 1997.
Although they were initially elated with their kids' birth, the fact that Anderson's attention strayed to the toddlers started affecting Lee, who felt neglected by his wife.
"I turned into a whiny, needy little brat," Lee wrote in his band Mötley Crüe's autobiography "The Dirt," adding:
“Maybe it was my way of becoming Pamela’s third child, so I’d get the attention I needed.”
Pamela Anderson Lee with her kids Brandon & Dylan attending the Mtv's BALL2K a new interactive, futuristic game based on the skills of baseball | Photo:GettyImages
POINT OF NO RETURN
The tension and miscommunication became too much, and the night that Lee and Anderson reached their boiling point, a verbal discussion turned physical, and the police were called.
Lee was arrested and charged with spousal battery. He pleaded no contest and was sentenced to eight months in jail, of which he served only four.
Anderson filed for divorce soon after and started dating Kelly Slater, but Lee still hoped to win back the "Baywatch" star's heart.
Pamela Anderson and musician Tommy Lee attend PETA's 35th Anniversary Party at Hollywood Palladium on September 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California | Photo: GettyImages
Once Lee was out of jail, the pair started to rebuild a co-parenting relationship for their kids' sake. They even tried to give romance a second chance but failed to find common ground.
Things took a turn for the worst between the former lovers in 2001 when Anderson filed court documents asking a judge for the sole custody of her sons.
She accused Lee of being violent, unstable, and not fit to care for the boys, claiming he had submitted the kids to physical and emotional abuse.
Pamela Anderson and her sons Brandon Lee (L) and Dylan Lee attend the Saint Laurent show at The Hollywood Palladium on February 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. | Photo: GettyImages
She also asked Lee's visits with the kids to be monitored and wanted him to subject to a psychiatric evaluation, as she claimed that:
“Tommy’s behavior has deteriorated to such an extent that I am afraid for the emotional well-being of the children while in his care."
She also recalled Lee's violent history against her, using his arrest as the perfect argument for which a judge "should award me sole legal custody of the children."
Pamela Anderson and her sons Brandon Thomas Lee (R) and Dylan Jagger Lee at the "Fashion Los Angeles Awards" on March 20, 2016, in West Hollywood, California | Photo: GettyImages
Lee came out victorious when a judge denied Anderson's request to have Lee's visits be monitored. "I think it was fair. I just want to be with my kids," Lee said at the time.
Still, the custody battle continued for almost a year, with the former couple throwing dabs at each other whenever they had the chance.
Finally, in 2002, they agreed behind closed doors to share joint custody of Dylan and Brandon.
FIGHTING WITH DAD
Although Anderson and Lee shared custody of their sons, the TV bombshell had to raise her sons as a single mother while Lee toured around the world as the drummer of rock sensation Mötley Crüe.
Still, the two boys grew up to have an excellent relationship with both of their parents, even though Anderson has admitted they all have a bit of resentment against Lee for being so absent during their childhood.
In March 2018, a bit of that resentment came afloat when Lee and eldest son Brandon were involved in a fight that ended with Lee in the hospital, and an assault case file being opened.
According to Lee's recount of the situation, he was in bed with then-fiancé Brittany Furlan when Brandon burst into the room and attacked him, leaving him unconscious after a knockout.
On the other hand, Brandon explained that his outburst was heavily connected to his dad's alcoholism. The now-24-year-old star said he was trying to orchestrate an intervention for his dad, but, sadly, things went south.
Father and son kept throwing words back and forth on social media for a while, until they finally reconciled in December 2018.
ANDERSON & TOMMY LEE'S KIDS
These days, Brandon is an actor and reality star. He had to go into rehab to deal with addiction but is now focused on his acting career. He has appeared on "Sierra Burgess Is a Loser," "Tales," and the reality show "The Hills: New Beginnings."
Dylan, on the other hand, is following his father's steps into the music industry. He recently released his first project, "The Lost Youth," an EP of electronic music produced with Midnight Kids partner, Kyle Girard.
The 22-year-old claims that both of his parents are proud of his achievements and are very supportive of the path he has chosen.
"Everyone's excited. Everyone supports the project. Everyone's, like, gung ho about it," Dylan told US Weekly.
As for the relationship between Anderson and Lee, they are now back to their peaceful co-parenting days, and Anderson even expressed how grateful she is to have Lee in her life to teach the boys how to be men.
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