Is ‘Pam & Tommy’ Based On A Real Story?

On Feb. 2, Hulu subscribers will finally get to see the first three episodes of Pam & Tommy, the miniseries that chronicles the release of one of the most famous sex tapes in history. Truth is often stranger than fiction, and so it is with the wild story of how a most intimate tape found its way onto video store shelves. It remains to be seen how accurate the show, which stars Lily James and Sebastian Stan as Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, will be. (Though Anderson rebuffed James’ attempts to get in touch.) But it’s not as though they have to do much fibbing to make it interesting.

Anderson and Lee were only married for three years, but they had a whirlwind relationship. As per a new piece about the tape by Esquire, Anderson, a model and then one of the breakout stars of Baywatch, met Lee, drummer for raucous metal rockers Mötley Crüe, at a New Years Eve party in 1994. Four days later, he proposed. By mid-February they were wed. They documented their honeymoon night, albeit only for themselves.

But in early 1996, shortly after Anderson gave birth to their child, they learned the tape of their post-martial assignation had somehow gone public. “One night, Pamela and I were chowing down on some dinner and flipping through television stations when we heard our names being mentioned on some news show,” Lee told Esquire. “On the screen, there was a dude at Tower Video stocking the shelves with videotapes. And we knew just what they were.”

How did this very private tape find its way into the world? It had to do with builders who had been hired to work on their Malibu home. After being dismissed for doing what Lee deemed a poor job, one of them — a former porn star named Rand Gauthier — broke into their home, removed a safe containing the tape (as well as jewelry, family heirlooms, and photographs), and sold it to a retired porn star, who sold copies over the internet. That prompted a legal battle led by Lee and Anderson to get sales of the tape stopped.

You can learn more about the sex tape scandal on Esquire, and you can watch the miniseries version — featuring Seth Rogen as Gauthier — starting Feb. 2 on Hulu.