The stunning transformation of Pamela Anderson

There are very few out there who won't recognize the name Pamela Anderson. A model and actress, Anderson has been making big waves since her career began in 1989. Never afraid to create a bit of controversy, the starlet became known for her personal life just as much as her career.

She has bared it all, from her covers for Playboy to her openness in discussing her life and relationships during interviews. There has never been a dull moment with Anderson, and she has always allowed us to join her on the ride throughout her life and big changes. So let's take step back and look at the stunning transformation of Pamela Anderson over the years.

She had a traumatic childhood

Anderson was born on July 1, 1967 in British Columbia, Canada. Childhood and early teen years were very difficult for Anderson; a topic she only began opening up about publicly in 2014. According to the LA Times, she spoke out about her past during a charity event at the Cannes Film Festival that year, where she was kicking off the Pamela Anderson Foundation. She described the foundation as "dedicated to human, animal and environmental rights."

It was this night that Anderson opened up about her troubled past. Anderson said at the event, "I did not have an easy childhood… Despite loving parents, I was molested from age 6 to 10 by my female babysitter." She continued on to describe her teen years, saying, "I went to a friend's boyfriend's house… While she was busy, the boyfriend's older brother decided he would teach me backgammon, which led into a back massage, which led into rape — my first heterosexual experience. He was 25 years old, I was 12."

But even with such a difficult childhood, Anderson stayed strong. She shared a quote from her mother at the event that evening. "Sometimes when you smile, it's not because you're happy… It's because you're strong." It was strength that helped Anderson move on from this time and make a name for herself.

Being the girl for Playboy

For Anderson, fame came quickly. According to a profile in Elle, it happened how it does in the movies: girl goes to football game, appears on JumboTron, and gets noticed immediately. The soon-to-be model was in her native Canada when she was spotted at the sporting event. This led to beer advertisements, which eventually brought the opportunity to model for Playboy in 1989.

Even with the instant success, the 22-year-old was cautious about making her move to Los Angeles. She told Elle, "I thought they were going to take me to the mansion and throw me in a pit with mud and oil, and I was going to have to fight someone." But when she arrived in Hollywood, the glamour of the city offset any of her fears. She continued on to tell the magazine, "And I thought, I found the coolest place on earth!" She said that she called her mom, saying, "This is outrageous what's over here on the mainland!…I just felt like I fit in."

The beginning of Baywatch

Anderson's success followed her, not just in modeling, but in acting as well. And her luck had clearly not run out yet. When describing to Elle how she ended up with her role on the show Home Improvement from 1991 to 1997, she said, "I didn't even audition!" And when it came to her most famous role on Baywatch, she said, "They were just like, 'Are you Pamela Anderson? You have the job."

When asked later by Harper's Bazaar about her experience on Baywatch and how she felt being in a swimsuit every day on set, Anderson showed just how long her confidence has been around. She said during the interview, "I was really comfortable in my skin and I didn't care so much. I thought, nobody's perfect and imperfections are sexy. And you know, I would've been on the beach anyway, so I was shocked that they hired me and paid me. I never thought I was a great-looking person or a great-looking woman."

While the actress was comfortable in her own skin (you go girl!), she did have one thing she couldn't live without: her makeup. She also shared during that interview that during the first season, the show didn't want her to wear makeup in order to look natural. The 25-year-old told them she agreed, but had other plans. "But then I would go to Lexi's [makeup artist Alexis Vogel] at three in the morning and she would put eyelashes and liner on me and we just created that look, then I would show up, and they'd go, 'You're already wearing makeup!' and I'd say, 'No I'm not!"

First comes marriage, then comes crazy

Anderson's personal life is just as famous as her professional one. And this all really started in 1995, as shared by Billboard, when the 27-year-old married Tommy Lee, the drummer for Mötley Crüe, after knowing him for four days. The couple remained together until 1998, when they decided to divorce.

Anderson described the relationship to Elle, saying, "There was all this hype and we were running around in rubber outfits and he's puffing my dress with cigarettes and I get pregnant and then I had a baby, and then all of a sudden he wasn't paying attention and it became this crazy thing and that blew up." But even through the bad times, Anderson wanted the relationship to work. She told the magazine that her mother blamed herself for Anderson's relationship. "She didn't want me to put up with things that she put up with… But that's kind of what we do, don't we? They're a model. No matter what. Even when I knew better, I still thought, Well, maybe it's still going to work out. And then I went too far."

Adding mom to her list of jobs

Even though Anderson's marriage with Lee didn't work out, they had her two children together, and she wanted to make sure she did everything she could to raise them right. She spoke of this with Contributor magazine, saying, "I didn't really take too many acting jobs after I had babies. I thought, 'How can I sustain myself by doing as little as possible, but not taking jobs for purely money and be able to have a meaningful life?"

Anderson was 31 years old at the time of her divorce and removed herself from Hollywood to give that meaningful life to her kids. She said during the interview, "My most important job was to look after my children and to be there for them. I never had nannies and I wanted to just be with them as much as possible, to share the attention that I had with animals. For some reason I've been provided for. I always tell my kids the universe validates good decisions. If you are doing your part, you'll be okay. But you do have to do as much as you can every day."

A health scare took over

In 2001, Anderson experienced a scary moment as she was diagnosed with hepatitis C. She claims she got it from Lee after they shared a tattoo needle while on vacation. She spoke with Esquire about the moment she found out. "My doctor says, 'You have hepatitis C.' And I go, 'Okay, how do I get rid of it?' And he's like, 'You can't. This is what you're going to die from." At the time, Anderson was in the middle of filming her show, V.I.P., and wasn't sure what would come next.

She said, "This wash came over my body. And then the doctor says, 'Do you know how you got it?' I said no. And he said, 'Your husband never told you he had it?' It kind of threw me for a while. Obviously, it's a hard thing to tell someone, but I wish he could have had the nerve to tell me. Obviously, his ego was more important than my life." And even with such scary news, the 34-year-old continued on and showed her strength at a difficult time in life.

Then, years later in 2015, Anderson shared with People that she was cured of the disease, saying, "I've been too busy, I think it really hasn't even hit me yet, but it's exciting because now I get 20 years back on my life."

The complicated relationships continued

Another very well-known relationship in Anderson's life was with Kid Rock. They were on and off for many years, until they married and subsequently divorced in 2006.

The star opened up to Elle about the destructive nature of her relationship, saying, "The rock-star thing became very destructive, like, wow… I didn't know what I was doing. I just kind of became that thing. The hair, that rock-star kind of lifestyle, just living a dream. It kind of took over. It started out very innocent, and then I turned into a cartoon character. And I started to feel like a cartoon character."

She continued on to discuss her regrets at that time in life, saying, "I did things I'm not proud of… I don't really want to get into all that." And as time has continued on, Anderson has continued to have complicated relationships, but she knows what she wants both for herself and her family. She shared during the interview, "I want to be married and have a traditional committed relationship for my kids and represent that for them… I don't want any more wild and crazy. I don't want any more silly. I want something real."

Putting focus on causes she believes in

Throughout recent years, Anderson has been putting serious support behind different organizations and causes she believes in. As she described to Contributor, "Activism is sexy… Having a meaningful sensual life means caring for others. People think sometimes, 'Oh, you've reinvented yourself.' I'm the same little girl I was with my cat that walks sideways and taking in misfit animals. I've always loved animals. I had an affinity with them from a very early age. As soon as I started getting attention, I wanted to share the attention with something more meaningful like animal rights. Now I'm the chair of the board of directors at Sea Shepherd. I'm on the board of directors for PETA and I'm on the Russian council of IFAW. They're really big parts of my life."

And it's not just animals Anderson is taking time to support, but the environment as well. Anderson now is selling boots and shoes through her line, Pammies Life, which she said are made out of recycled TV screens and cell phones.

A starring role in reality TV

Anderson has always been open in interviews about her life, so it should come as no surprise that the model and actress was ready to hit reality television too. The star has now been on a few of the shows, including Big Brother: Australia, Dancing with the Stars and Dancing on Ice, among others.

After competing on Dancing with the Stars in 2010, she loved it so much that she came back in 2012 for the all-star edition. At that time, the 45-year-old went on Ellen to discuss why she was back on the show. Anderson shared, "I want to learn everything I can. Dancing is really great. I like to use my body." She had also previously shared on Twitter (via The Guardian) that the show enabled her to "rise above the crap in life" and "makes her feel safe."

With all of these hidden talents now being seen on TV, The Guardian asked Anderson if she has tried to disguise those skills in the past. She came back saying, "No, obviously I don't try to, but it's much easier to have nothing to live up to. You surprise people when you form a full sentence."

Continuing to take on new roles

It's pretty obvious that Anderson is far from slowing down. She continues to work passionately with causes and organizations she cares about. She has also taken on new roles in film and television that show a new side to her.

In 2016, the 48-year-old spoke with W magazine about her role in the short film Connected, saying, "This is the first time I've ever been in a serious role… I've done Baywatch, and other things on TV that I could do with my eyes closed — run around in a bikini, et cetera. But it was fun to play a really dramatic character."

She then talked about her next steps in life, saying "What's your purpose now? You've raised your kids, and now they think you're a little crazy, because you're trying to do all these self-help things. You become distant from everybody. You're searching for answers." But it's clear Anderson has some of those answers and will continue to do the work that makes her happy and gives her the opportunity to still spend time with her family.

She's changed up her look

As years go by, Anderson seems to defy science and continues to look younger and younger at each event. So how does the 49-year-old continue to look more fabulous? Just from photos it's clear that Anderson is going for the more natural look when it comes to makeup. She's trying new tricks. As she told People, "I want to try little tricks to lift your eye or make your lips feel like they look more pouty." There's one beauty practice in particular Anderson's not willing to give up; the star said that she "doesn't know" when she'll stop dying her blonde locks.

But it's not just the physical look that makes Anderson look so great. It's her attitude too. Speaking with CNN, she said, "I have the same issues that every other woman has, like what's happening to me?…. You can't quite put your finger on it but something's different. It's called aging. But it's good, I can't wait until I'm old with no teeth. It'll be fun…. We all get older and we have to embrace our age. Age gracefully and still have fun."

Who is Pamela Anderson?

Anderson is actually the one who summed herself up pretty clearly, telling Harper's Bazaar, "Just because I've been on Baywatch and in Playboy doesn't mean I don't have a heart, soul and brain!" We continue to see Anderson using all three of those in all of the work she does, while at the same time looking flawless. And we can't wait to see what she comes out with next.