The Truth About Pamela Anderson's Childhood

Playboy model and actress Pamela Anderson is perhaps most well-known as a controversial sex symbol due in no small part to the sex-tape scandal dramatized in the Hulu miniseries "Pam & Tommy." What many fail to realize, though, is that Anderson was born and grew up far away from the bright lights and glamor that would dominate her life later on in adulthood. From early trauma and struggle to her beginning in show business, the star's true-life story reveals that unlikely outcomes come from humble beginnings.

Long linked to the warm weather beaches of Los Angeles due to her time spent playing C.J. Parker on TV's "Baywatch," Anderson was actually born in Canada in 1967, as Biography reports. Her hometown was linked to nature and water, though, and several of her other early-in-life experiences would shape who the star would become after she found her way to sunny Southern California and Hollywood.

She was born in a small town

Also per Biography, Pamela Anderson was born in the Canadian town of Ladysmith, British Columbia, which according to the town's official website has a population recently estimated at only 8,500 residents, and was likely much smaller when Anderson was born in the late 1960s. Anderson did seem destined for notice from the start: She's a Canadian centennial baby, born on the hundredth birthday of the country. For a time she was believed to be the first Canadian child born on that date, but that was later proven false, as the CBC reports.

A fitness instructor and high school athlete, Anderson was plucked from her small-town surroundings almost by chance, when she caught the attention of the Labatt Brewing Company wearing one of their shirts on a football game Jumbotron, via Biography. Otherwise, Anderson had a rough go as a girl: Her family was without much money, and she had several traumatic experiences, including alleged separate sexual assaults at the hands of her babysitter, acquaintances, and even her boyfriend, as The Things reports. Next to acting and modeling, one of Anderson's most enduring passions is animal welfare, and these interests came from an early childhood experience: She encountered her father, a hunter, cleaning a carcass. In response, she chose a vegetarian lifestyle and never looked back.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).