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Pamela Anderson on revisiting her painful past: ‘I’m not looking for an apology’

B.C.-born celebrity icon says she’s focused on pursuing a new stage in her life
Pamela Anderson attends “Pamela, a Love Story” Toronto Special Screening held at the TIFF Bell Light Box in Toronto on Tuesday, February 7, 2023. Anderson says she’s not looking for sympathy, nor for any apologies for the myriad career indignities she details in her recently released memoir and documentary.THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, George Pimentel

Pamela Anderson says she’s not looking for sympathy, nor for any apologies for the myriad career indignities she details in her recently released memoir and documentary.

The B.C.-born beauty icon says she’s focused on pursuing a new stage in her life that includes a second season of her HGTV Canada renovation series and an upcoming Food Network Canada show.

Anderson is suddenly back in the spotlight with the recent release of her memoir, “Love, Pamela” and the Netflix film, “Pamela, a Love Story.”

Both detail the highs and lows of a wild Hollywood career that included her start as a Playboy model, several tumultuous romances and a bitter legal battle over the infamous stolen sex tape that she says humiliated her and destroyed job prospects.

During a promotional stop in Toronto that included a book signing and film screening, Anderson said she “obviously … made a lot of wrong turns” in her life and that she’s still learning from some of those experiences.

The former “Baywatch” star said those missteps are as recent as the first season of her HGTV Canada series “Pamela’s Garden of Eden,” which premiered last November and waded further into her personal life than she would have liked.

Anderson said Thursday she was “promised from the very beginning” it wouldn’t get personal “but they couldn’t help themselves, I guess.”

The reality series revolved around renovation efforts at her family’s sprawling legacy property on Vancouver Island, but also touched on her upbringing, her ’90s heyday and introduced viewers to her then-husband, who was part of the reno crew.

“I thought this was going to be just about design, sustainability, about my garden, about renovating the ranch … and I think it just got a little off-track,” she said, adding it was also shot roughly four years ago when she was “broken-hearted” and “raw.”

“But you know it’s a learning curve. This next season I’m taking control of everything — I’m going to be the designer, there’s no other designers. It’s just my family. My boys are going to be in it and it’s going to be very authentic and very chic and cool. And a lot different than the first season.”

In an emailed statement, HGTV Canada’s brand owner Corus Entertainment says any moments that touch on Anderson’s life “were thoughtfully included to help reintroduce her to viewers, and provide context on the property and Pamela’s passion for home design.”

The reno show’s second season is currently in production for broadcast later this year, while another series for Food Network Canada is slated for 2024 and will feature Canadian culinary talent, Anderson said.

Despite the disappointments, she said “Pamela’s Garden of Eden” opened her up to an enriching, creative spurt that marked “the beginning of my re-empowerment.”

“It’s all worked out,” she said. “I know everything is happening for a reason. There’s a lot of things going on. And I’m happy.”

Being able to take control of her life story has felt “surreal” after so many years in which others have defined her public persona, said Anderson, whose modelling career launched when she was spotted at a 1989 B.C. Lions football game, eventually catching the eye of Playboy.

Much of the documentary traces the private anguish Anderson felt as a sex tape featuring herself and then-husband Tommy Lee was re-edited and widely distributed in the mid-’90s without their consent.

She said those wounds were reopened with Hulu’s recent dramatization of the saga, “Pam & Tommy,” available on Disney Plus in Canada. But despite criticizing the eight-part limited series for retreading painful terrain, she suggested Thursday she had moved on from the controversy.

“I’m not looking for an apology. At one time I said, ‘Hulu should apologize.’ But you know, it’s not just Hulu, it’s the makers of it,” said Anderson.

“I forgive anybody that’s ever hurt me in my life. It was painful and it was hurtful, but it just happened…. I don’t want sympathy, I just want people to live their life with loving actions and loving speech and kind words and kind actions.”

Between her book, documentary and two Canadian reality series, she said she’s hopeful for a new phase that lies ahead.

“I’ve gone through so much. This is good, you know, instead of being kind of the butt of jokes,” she said.

“This has been a long journey for me.”

—Cassandra Szkalrski, The Canadian Press