Did ‘Pam & Tommy’ Break Up Because Of The Sex Tape?

(Spoilers from Hulu’s Pam & Tommy will be found below.)

Pam & Tommy covers the early days of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s doomed marriage. They married (on the beach, in swimsuits) only a few days after meeting in 1995, and the show even depicts their awkward flight back to Los Angeles, where they attempted to figure out whose home to live in together and whether they actually had anything in common. The early days were, as expected, fan-freaking-tastic, but the good times (as depicted) didn’t last too long. Also in 1995, disgruntled construction contractor Rand Gauthier retaliated against Tommy (and his alleged refusal to pay up) by stealing the couple’s safe and distributing their sex tape all over the internet.

Naturally, this caused conflict for the couple, especially when Pam felt that Tommy didn’t understand why people viewed her much more harshly than her fellow sex tape participant. Ultimately, however, the tape doesn’t appear to be the overriding reason for the split after becoming parents to two sons. Rather, the marriage was all-but-officially over in 1998 when Tommy was sentenced to six months in jail after pleading no context to felony spousal battery against Pam. As the LA Times reported at the time, Lee also found himself under three years of probation, and Malibu Municipal Judge Lawrence J. Mira lamented the latest in a string of violent incidents by the rocker:

“What I see here is a very clear–very disturbing, in my judgment–pattern of conduct in which otherwise resolvable matters are handled by violence,” Mira said. “You do it whether it’s a family member or a third party. That’s intolerable in any kind of civilized society.”

Mira also required Lee to undergo counseling and donate money to a battered women’s shelter, among other conditions of avoiding three years in prison. Those developments aren’t covered in Pam & Tommy, which does, though, highlight Tommy’s erratic behavior, which eventually became a source of frustration for many who endured his tantrums.

Hulu’s ‘Pam & Tommy’ premieres with three episodes on Feb 3.