From Playboy to Baywatch, Pamela Anderson’s net worth had plenty of opportunities to skyrocket throughout her career. But following a series of financial missteps, failed marriages and her infamous sex tape scandal with ex-husband Tommy Lee, Pamela Anderson’s net worth isn’t quite what it used to be.
So, how did she get there? Long before Pamela Anderson’s net worth could even take a plunge, the Canada native already started off from humble beginnings. Anderson was born to working-class parents in Lady Smith, British Colombia, where her father Barry worked as a furnace repairman and her mother Carol waited tables for a living. Their family soon moved to Vancouver when Anderson’s little brother Gerry was born in 1971, and it was here that Anderson started to take up gymnastics and acrobatics while attending secondary school. In high school, the future model also played on the school volleyball team. It was this same love of sports that would eventually land Anderson her unexpected big break.
After graduating in 1985, Anderson worked as a fitness instructor in Vancouver. Unsurprisingly for an athlete like herself, Anderson ended up attending sporting events often—including a 1989 British Columbia Lions football game that would change her life forever. While cheering from the sidelines at the game, Anderson was picked to appear on the jumbotron. Her good looks sparked such a warm reception from the audience that she was brought down to the football field. What could have been a fleeting moment of fame turned into Anderson’s lucky break, all because of what she was wearing that day: The soon-to-be model happened to be sporting a Labatt’s Beer T-shirt, and the company decided to cash in on the moment by offering Anderson her first commercial spot.
The appearance marked the first of many modeling gigs for Anderson, leading up to none other than her iconic covers for Playboy magazine. In February 1990, Anderson was named Playmate of the Month before going on to model several times for the magazine. To this day, Anderson holds the record for the most Playboy covers by any one person.
Anderson’s modeling career was more than enough to profit off of, but the model was still destined for bigger and better ventures in film and television. In 1991, she gained national recognition after starring as Lisa on the first two seasons of the ABC Comedy series Home Improvement. The following year, she landed the leading role of C.J. Parker in the ‘90s classic Baywatch, which she starred in for five seasons between 1992 and 1997. Following her time in the series, Anderson began to play the character Vallery Irons in the dramedy, V.I.P. from 1998 to 2002.
However, while Anderson’s professional career was going smoothly, the actress’ personal life was taking repeated blows—whether we’re talking about her divorce from Tommy Lee or the multi-million dollar lawsuit over their infamous sex tape. This ultimately reflected in Pamela Anderson’s net worth, and today, it looks a bit different than what fans might initially expect. For everything we know about how much Pamela Anderson’s net worth is now, keep on reading ahead.
Pamela Anderson played the role of Casey Jean “C.J.” Parker in Baywatch for five years from 1992 to 1997, making her one of the longest-serving and most beloved cast members on the series. She departed the show when she was pregnant with her second son, Dylan Lee, who was born in 1997. Her first son, Brandon Lee, was born the previous year. After leaving the series, Anderson went on to reprise her role as C.J. in the 2003 reunion movie Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding. She also made a cameo as Captain Casey Jean Parker, C.J.’s mom, in the 2017 film remake.
To this day, Anderson has fond memories of her time on Baywatch. “It was the best job in the world,” she said in 2018. “I’m happy it’s still playing all over the world. The character is me. I feel like I went from Baywatch to where I am now. Everything is a blur in the middle.” Still, the actress doesn’t regret leaving the series. “I had Brandon, who was more important,” she said of her eldest son. “And was pregnant with Dylan. And my family came first. I was working so much on Home Improvement and Baywatch, and Barbwire and developing VIP. Just married with babies. I needed to take a break.”
Given Anderson’s Baywatch salary, it’s clear that the actress was able to take that break comfortably. So, how much did Pamela Anderson make from Baywatch? According to Celebrity Net Worth, Anderson earned $300,000 per episode at the series’ peak, which rounds out to roughly $6.6 million per season. Altogether, this puts Anderson’s earnings from Baywatch at over $30 million after five seasons.
In her 2023 documentary, Pamela, a Love Story, Baywtch casting directors Susan Glicksman and Fern Orenstein revealed that Anderson cancelled on them 11 times when they offered her the role of C.J. “They always tried to get me to come and audition in Marina Del Rey, which sounded very exotic and far away,” Anderson said. “I was like, ‘That sounds really far, I can’t go.’ I just ignored it.”
Anderson also claimed in the documentary that Lee made filming difficult for her when he visited her on the set of Baywatch. The whole Baywatch crew, if they saw him coming they would change the dialogue, change the scene,” Anderson said. “He was always in my eyeline and he would always be behind the camera. Tommy was always there. It was too much.” Anderson alleged in her 2023 book, Love, Pamela, that Lee trashed her trailer after he learned she had to kiss co-star David Chokachi in a scene. “He lost it,” she said “Put his fist through a cabinet.”
So, what’s Pamela Anderson’s net worth today? According to Celebrity Net Worth, Pamela Anderson’s net worth is $20 million as of 2023. This figure is thanks to her generous salaries from series like Baywatch and Home Improvement throughout the years, in addition to her earnings as a model for Playboy magazine and more. While Pamela Anderson’s net worth is pretty impressive today, this wasn’t always the case. In fact, there was a time when the model ended up flat out broke despite having earned millions at the height of her career.
Anderson’s money troubles began when she married Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee in 1995. The pair famously tied the knot after knowing each other for only four days, and as expected, their hasty marriage resulted in a slew of problems. After returning from their honeymoon in Mexico, the Baywatch actress moved into Lee’s Malibu home, which was being renovated at the time. The newlyweds, however, found themselves dissatisfied with the work being done on the property and promptly fired several builders without pay. The pair had no idea, of course, that this would mark the beginning of the end of their marriage.
Rand Gauthier, one of the laid-off employees, made duplicates of the couple’s honeymoon sex tape and destroyed the original with the intention of selling copies of the tape. As soon as Lee and Anderson found out, they filed a $10 million lawsuit against anyone they suspected of having a copy. In 1997, the court imposed an injunction against Gauthier, prohibiting him from creating or distributing copies of the tape. But it was too late; the former electrician already made $77 million off of the tape. The couple was forced to enter into a confidential settlement with video distribution company Internet Entertainment Group, which went on to make the tape available to subscribers for a fixed price on its site.
“It was ridiculous. It was a total invasion of our privacy. This is, like, sacred, you know,” Lee said of their leaked sex tape during a 20/20 tell-all. “Not being able to do anything … about it was adding so much frustration and stress to our relationship. It was just consuming us.” As a result, Lee and Anderson’s marriage ultimately ended in 1998. The final straw was a domestic dispute that led to Lee spending six months in jail for spousal abuse.
In the years following, Anderson continued to face financial struggles, accruing millions in property debts and unpaid taxes. Her financial situation became so dire that the actress ended up selling her home and moving to a trailer park, where she lived for several years. “Events occurred outside of my control which caused this temporary but embarrassing situation,” she tweeted in 2010. “All my tax obligations will be resolved in the very near future.” Finally, in 2018, the former model was able to put her trailer on the market for $1.75 million—though it is unclear how much it sold for. These days, she is living back in her home country of Canada.
Since her rise to fame, Anderson’s life has been made into several documentaries and biopics, including Hulu’s 2022 series, Pam & Tommy, in which Lily James played her. A source told Us Weekly in January 2023 that Anderson released her Netflix documentary, Pamela, A Love Story, because of how the biopic “sensationalized” her life. “The Hulu series played a huge role in Pam deciding to share her story,” the insider said. “She hated how sensationalized the story was and wanted to be able to tell hers from the beginning.”
In an interview with Variety in January 2023, Anderson revealed that she “refused” to watch the series. “It was just shocking,” she said. “Tommy probably thought it was funny. I remember Tommy writing me a note saying, ‘Don’t let this hurt you like it did the first time,’ because he had heard through the kids that I was kind of struggling with the idea of bringing this all up again. I don’t think he was portrayed kindly. I just know that I refuse to watch it.”
She also called the creators of the series “assholes.” “Salt on the wound. … You still owe me a public apology.” she said. “It just looked like a Halloween costume to me.” Still, she told Variety that she didn’t have anything negative against James and even invited her to the premiere of her documentary in January 2023. “I said to Netflix, ‘I’d love to invite Lily to the premiere of the movie,’” Anderson said. “I think it’s hard to play somebody when you don’t know the whole picture. I’ve got nothing against Lily James. I think that she’s a beautiful girl and she was just doing the job. But the idea of the whole thing happening was just really crushing for me.”
She also explained to Variety why she didn’t consider herself a “victim” by what happened to her by Pam & Tommy or anything else in her life. “I’m not a victim, and I’m not the damsel in distress,” Anderson said. “I’ve made my choices in my life. Some obviously were made for me, but I’ve always been able to find myself again. And it’s created a strong person and a strong parent.”
For more about Pamela Anderson, read her 2023 book, Love, Pamela. The memoir takes readers through Anderson’s life and career, from her childhood as a deeply shy daughter of unprepared parents in Vancouver Island to how she became the blonde bombshell she’s known as today and found herself on the cover of magazines, sets of movies, arms of rockstars and the halls of the Playboy Mansion. The book, which is described as “honest, layered and unforgettable,” also explores how, as Anderson’s star rose, she lost control of her own narrative and became the subject of the tabloids and paparazzi who crafted a public perception of her she no longer recognized. In Love, Pamela, Anderson “breaks the mold of the celebrity memoir while taking back the tale that has been crafted about her.”
Pam & Tommy is available to stream on Hulu. Here’s how to watch it for free.
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