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Everything Pam And Tommy Gets Wrong About The True Story

Dubbed with the tagline "The Greatest Love Story Ever Sold," Hulu's "Pam & Tommy" tells the true story (and somewhat cautionary tale) of model and actor Pamela Anderson and her rocker husband, Tommy Lee. In the mid-1990s, their romance was like a fairy tale in the eyes of a public obsessed with celebrity, and their rock 'n' roll lifestyle was the target of every tabloid in Hollywood. The two met, fell in love, and were married in a whirlwind courtship that last only a few days –- and it all fell apart just as dramatically.

The Hulu original mini-series "Pam & Tommy" offers a fictional retelling of the very first celebrity sex tape scandal in the U.S. The series stars Lily James — who gives a hauntingly accurate portrayal of Pamela — and Sebastian Stan as Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee. Seth Rogen is Rand Gauthier, the man responsible for stealing the tape and whose actions led to the misery felt not only by Tommy and Pamela Lee but also by himself.

The basis for "Pam & Tommy" is a Rolling Stone article written by Amanda Chicago Lewis in 2014. Lewis sat down with Gauthier to get his side of the story, yet as adaptations are prone to do, some things were embellished for the sake of entertainment. Here are the things that "Pam & Tommy" got wrong compared to the account Gauthier shared with Rolling Stone.

Gauthier wasn't alone when Tommy Lee put a shotgun to his head

In Episode 1 of "Pam & Tommy," the miniseries introduces Rand Gauthier (Rogen), a contractor hired by Tommy Lee (Stan) to renovate his luxurious Malibu mansion. Rand and his fellow worker, Lonnie (Larry Brown), are having trouble keeping up with Lee's constantly changing demands for his new "love palace." It also doesn't help that Lee hasn't paid either of them a cent for their work.

When Rand brings up the issue of payment to Lee, the rockstar refuses to comply, claiming that Rand and his fellow have done "shoddy" work. He then abruptly fires Rand and Lonnie on the spot. When Rand later returns to the property to pick up a toolbox that he had left behind, Lee is less than pleased to see him. Armed with a shotgun, Lee holds the end of the barrel to Rand's face and threatens him before Gauthier flees the house.

This event actually happened, according to Rand's interview with Rolling Stone. However, by Rand's own account, he was not the only witness to Lee's intimidation. A man named Troy Tompkins, a contractor with whom Rand had worked on the Lee mansion, was also with Rand and was held at gunpoint right alongside him. Tompkins's name has been left out of "Pam & Tommy" altogether, though perhaps this is who Lonnie's character was derived from.

Gauthier's heist story may have been embellished

The scene in which Rand pulls off the safe heist in "Pam & Tommy" is taken nearly word for word from Rand's account in Rolling Stone. Rand says he staked out the Lee home for months in the summer of 1995, purchased a white yak fur rug to disguise himself as the Lees' dog, and tampered with the security cameras to cover his break-in. On the night of the theft, Rand made his way to the garage, where he single-handedly removed the safe, placed it on a dolly, and rolled it down the driveway to his vehicle.

Although "Pam & Tommy" closely adapts Rand's description of the theft, some details have been called into question. The safe that Rand stole was six feet tall and weighed 500 pounds. Even with a dolly, that's a lot for one person to carry. In "Pam & Tommy," Rand can be seen lifting the safe into his van, and he claims in his interview in Rolling Stone, "I wedge my legs underneath it and I bench up 500 pounds with my legs."

Whatever method he used, Rand insisted that he pulled off the theft all on his own. However, Lewis, the author of the 2014 Rolling Stone interview, speculated that Rand might have had help from his acquaintance, Tompkins. Lewis wrote that an unnamed source claimed that Tompkins "helped plan the heist from the start and was waiting in a pick-up truck." Tompkins could not be reached for comment at the time, and there is currently no proof of his involvement either way.

Gauthier said there were no guns in the safe

The infamous Hi8 that contained Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson's intimate moments wasn't the only valuable Rand found in the safe. Among Anderson and Lee's belongings were expensive cufflinks, watches, photographs, and Pamela's white wedding bikini. However, as listed on a police report included in the Rolling Stone article, there was also supposed to be an AK-47, a stainless steel shotgun, an FNC assault rifle, and a .45-70 rifle in the safe.

In "Pam & Tommy," Rand takes a moment to celebrate the robbery by donning the Rolex watch, rifling through the couple's photos, and playing cowboy with the firearms. While it makes for a humorous scene to see Rand miming guitar licks on a high caliber weapon, the real Rand said that he didn't find any guns in the Lees' safe. It could be that he was being untruthful or that the minds behind "Pam & Tommy" simply didn't believe Rand's story. Or maybe they just wanted a funny scene where Seth Rogen gets to play with guns.

The private investigator never assaulted Gauthier at his home

In Episode 4 of "Pam & Tommy," the couple finally realize that their safe has been stolen in January of 1996 -– two months after the actual robbery occurred, and far too late to stop the sales of their most private moments on video. True to actual events, Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee hire private investigator Anthony Pellicano (Don Harvey) to find out who stole the safe, as well as the Hi8 tape. Pellicano quickly deduces that among those who had been in conflict with Tommy Lee, the ex-contractor Rand Gauthier was the most likely suspect.

The episode then shows an unsuspecting Rand smoking a joint in his home while chilling out to King Crimson when a knock comes at his door. Pellicano bursts in, beats Rand to a pulp, and begins to ransack the apartment, demanding to know where Rand hid the tape. The ruckus catches the attention of Rand's neighbor, who bangs on the wall and threatens to call the cops. Pellicano then makes his exit but threatens to return.

Things didn't quite play out that way, however. Pellicano did use scare tactics to flush out those responsible for selling the tape. However, Rand made no mention of Pellicano coming to his home. Instead, Pellicano tracked down Milton Ingley (played by Nick Offerman in the series), who directed him to the home of interior designer Guerin Swing. Pellicano found Swing, whom he physically threw to the ground, and demanded to know the location of the tape. Once the private investigator realized Swing was not involved, he let him go.

The truth behind the bootlegged tapes

In Episode 4 of "Pam & Tommy," Rand is shocked to find a street vendor selling bootleg copies of Pamela and Tommy Lee's sex tape –- the tape that he had so painstakingly kept hidden so as not to be caught by authorities. Not only that, but the seller is offering the videos for a heck of a bargain. Dumbfounded and angry, Rand lashes out at the vendor, who fails to take him seriously and continues to peddle his wares.

Although Gauthier's account in Rolling Stone made no mention of him coming into contact with a random street vendor, there were issues with bootlegging in the real-life story. Rolling Stone reported that a man named Steve (his last name was changed for the sake of anonymity), who also worked for Ingley's studio, did make copies of the Pamela and Tommy tape to sell on his own. Steve told the magazine that he sold the videos out of the trunk of his car and made a small fortune worth $75,000. He even tried to convince Gauthier to do the same, but Gauthier declined. It seems that Gauthier was waiting for an even bigger payday –- unfortunately, it was one that would never come.

Pamela did not have a miscarriage in 1996

In Episode 4, "The Master Beta," things take a turn for the worst for Tommy and Pamela (James). The couple has only just discovered they are about to become parents when they realize their safe has been stolen –- along with the sex tape. As Rand and Miltie Ingley begin their new business endeavor, the celebrity couple desperately attempts to shut down the operation. However, with the new technology of the internet, their efforts are too little, too late.

Tensions arise between the couple, who have a heated argument regarding the situation. Shortly after, Pamela realizes something is wrong with the baby, and Tommy rushes her to the hospital. In a tear-jerking scene featuring no dialogue, a doctor breaks the news that Pamela has had a miscarriage.

While it makes sense that the stress of the missing tape could have serious repercussions on Pamela's pregnancy, things did not play out that way in real life. According to the New York Daily News, Pamela did have a miscarriage while she was with Tommy Lee in 1995, the year before most of the events of "Pam & Tommy" take place. And yes, Pamela was pregnant in 1996 –- however, she gave birth to a healthy baby, Dylan Thomas Lee, in July of said year.

The Tommy Lee Viper Room incident didn't start in the bathroom

Like many rockstars, Tommy Lee could have a bit of a temper. "Pam & Tommy" demonstrates this on several occasions, from Tommy's behavior toward Rand Gauthier to how he reacts to the paparazzi. However, one scene in Episode 5, "Uncle Jim and Aunt Susie in Duluth," may have twisted the facts surrounding one particular incident.

In this episode, Tommy goes out to the Viper Room, the infamous nightclub on the Los Angeles Sunset Strip. In the restroom, he meets two fans -– one of whom remarks that the leaked sex tape is "the best thing" from Lee since Mötley Crüe's "Girls, Girls, Girls" album. Tommy reacts furiously, punching one of the men and starting a fight. The story is later covered by the entertainment news show "Hard Copy," which airs a clip of Tommy caught on camera fighting with security as he is thrown out of the club.

This incident on the show is a far cry from the actual events. In September of 1996, both Tommy and Pamela were leaving the Viper Room when they were accosted by paparazzi, per UPI. According to Pamela's spokesperson, the couple was allegedly pepper-sprayed by one of the paparazzi. Tommy reacted violently, throwing cameraman Henry P. Trappler to the ground and causing serious injury to Trappler's hip. Witnesses for Trappler stated that the cameraman was not responsible for the pepper spray, as video footage would prove. MTV reported that Tommy Lee was charged with battery following the altercation.

The Jay Leno interview didn't happen that way

Once the media got wind of the sex tape, there was no end to the celebrity couple's woes. In Episode 5 of "Pam & Tommy," "The Tonight Show" host Jay Leno (Adam Ray) meets with his writers to consider joke pitches for his monologue. Leno initially dismisses the idea of a joke about Tommy and Pamela, believing that the tape is not significant enough to mention. However, he soon changes his tune when the Lees' lawsuit against Penthouse makes national news.

Episode 7 of "Pam & Tommy" has Pamela Anderson Lee appearing on "The Tonight Show" following the media storm. Inevitably, the host brings up the leaked sex tape and asks Pamela what it's like "to have all that exposure." Pamela's demeanor goes from light and bubbly to chilling sobriety, as she describes her experience as "horrible" and "devastating." There is an awkward silence from Leno until Pamela's warm smile returns and breaks the tension.

Although this scene seems like something that could have happened, in reality, no such interview took place. Pamela has appeared on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno many times, stopping by three times in 1996 alone. However, none of her appearances included conversations with the host about the tape. If the TV interview appears familiar, it may be because Lily James's appearance as Pamela is very similar to an episode filmed in 1996, in which Pamela wore a striking black dress and her hair in an up-do. The conversation focused mainly on her pregnancy and paparazzi woes, although Leno couldn't resist throwing in at least one boob joke.

Rand never sent Tommy a note, and they didn't meet in secret

One of the largest departures from the actual story in "Pam & Tommy" happens in Episode 7. The pressure is on for Rand, who still has not seen any revenue from the Tommy and Pamela sex tape business headed by his partner, Miltie. Rand is confronted by business patron and mobster Louis "Butchie" Peraino (Andrew Dice Clay) over the money he and Miltie borrowed to fund their enterprise. Since Miltie has fled to Amsterdam, Rand needs to find the cash fast or face the consequences.

To procure some of the money, Rand sends a message to Tommy Lee, telling him to deliver $26,938 –- the exact amount owed for his tools and services -– to the parking lot of the Dodgers Stadium. Tommy obliges, meeting Rand in the dark of night with the 27 grand. However, instead of handing it over, Tommy proceeds to light the cash on fire and throw it at Rand's feet, who frantically attempts to put out the flames.

It is true that Rand got in deep with Peraino, but the entire scene with the meeting between Rand and Tommy Lee never happened. It certainly adds to the drama of the series, including a face-off between Gauthier and Tommy Lee following their confrontation at the Lee mansion. But in reality, there is no record of any meeting between the two following the theft of the tape, either in Gauthier's recollections to Rolling Stone or anywhere else.

Rand didn't sell the tape to Warshavksy

The "Pam & Tommy" series finale wraps up in a bittersweet fashion. As Pamela and Tommy try to get their lives back on track, it's become clear that their rocky relationship hangs by a thread.

Rand feels weighed down by all of the nasty work he's been doing for Peraino and can't understand why karma has turned against him. Rand begs Peraino to let him off the hook, and Peraino takes pity on Rand, agreeing to call things even if he can come up with $10,000.

Things seem hopeless for Rand until he finds internet wunderkind Seth Warshavsky (Fred Hechinger) waiting for him in his apartment. Having received the rights to the tape, all the sleazy executive needs is the original copy. Rand refuses until Warshavsky offers him the exact amount he needs to get out from under Peraino's thumb. Rand then pulls the tape down from a hiding spot in the ceiling, presumably to hand it over.

While this makes for a clean ending for Rand, things actually happened a bit differently. First of all, Rand had not been holding onto the tape for safekeeping, and he did not sell it to Warshavsky. In fact, according to Lewis in Rolling Stone, the tape was destroyed shortly after Rand showed it to Milton Ingley. Lewis stated that Ingley first made copies of the video before cutting it into pieces and scattering the remains in a remote location. Therefore, the original Hi8 had been long gone before Warshavsky got his hands on the rights.