I didn't understand the paparazzi, because I had never experienced anything this crazy with Heather. Back then, the shit was more organized. With Pamela, it was a whole other level of stalking. Photographers would pop out of the bushes when we left the house and start high-speed chases with us down the freeway. Everywhere we went, someone would yell "Pamela!" or "Tommy!" and if we turned, a million flashbulbs went off. If we didn't turn, they'd start booing and cussing us out. It became a sick game, trying to invent elaborate schemes to avoid them: sending her assistant out of the house in a decoy blond wig or switching cars to throw them off our trail. I wanted to crush them all: It wasn't so much the invasiveness as it was the lack of respect for us as human beings. When Pamela collapsed and lost our first child due to a miscarriage (a Lee family curse, my mother said), the paparazzi were so intent on getting photos, they kept cutting off the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Fuck, dude, I could deal with them trying to crash our parties, but trying to crash our ambulance was another story.
I was depressed for months after Pamela's miscarriage. To cheer us up and get our minds off it, Pamela threw a fucking $300,000 surprise party when I turned thirty-three. I came home that night, and she said, "I want you to dress like a king!"
She grabbed a big-ass purple robe and a crazy crown she had bought; then a makeup artist covered me with white face powder so that I looked like the Crow or something. Pamela dressed up as a ringleader, in a big ol' top hat, grabbed me by the hand and led me to our driveway, where a tour bus covered with birthday banners had pulled up. Inside, there were nine midgets singing "Happy Birthday"; champagne was flowing, and a dozen of my friends were dressed in drag.
We rode to a nearby place called the Semler Ranch, and I stepped off the bus into my own personal Fellini movie. Two rows of flames stretched out hundreds of feet in front of me. Midgets were everywhere, saying, in their helium voices, "Welcome to Tommyland, welcome to Tommyland, hee-hee-hee." Then, two more midgets appeared and unrolled a red carpet between the lines of fire. In the meantime, all kinds of clowns and acrobats materialized, filling the air with confetti. I wasn't even on drugs yet, but I felt like I was.
Pamela, the ringleader, led me and my friends in a parade down the carpet. Ahead of us, a giant on stilts dressed as the devil walked through the tangle of midgets, parting them like a sea. Past him, there was a big sign that said, TOMMYLAND, with a crazy-looking clown on it. As I approached the sign, I realized that Pamela had basically set up an entire amusement park for me. There were fucking Ferris wheels, roller coasters, contortionists in boxes, caged lions and bubble machines. Underneath an immense tent, a professional concert stage had been loaded up with drums and all kinds of gear for a jam. Also on the stage was my baby grand piano, which Pamela had tricked out with gold-leaf paintings of koi fish and customized wrought-iron legs. Fucking Slash and the Guns n' Roses dudes were there, as was our friend Bobby of Orgy and his band at the time, the Electric Love Hogs. She brought in dudes from the Cirque du Soleil, which we loved, and cranked our favorite band, Radiohead, on the sound system. There were all kinds of gourmet food dishes, designer drugs, Tahitian dancers, Balinese percussionists and moving lights, plus a crew with 35mm film to document it all. At 3 A.M., she brought me a cake with fucking Mighty Mouse on it, because he always gets the girl, and then we all played midget football on our knees.
It was an amazing fucking party from hell. But at the end of the night, when I was all shitty with drugs and alcohol, a dozen ambulances came screaming in. "What the fuck's going on?" I panicked, grabbing Pamela.
"Don't worry," she said. "I hired ambulances to take everyone home, because I knew they'd all get too fucked up to drive." At 7 A.M., I was brought into my bedroom on a big-ass stretcher.
Ten days after my birthday, Pamela told me that she was four weeks pregnant. I couldn't have been any happier, dude. We wanted to have a completely natural, drug-free home birth. We didn't want any of that butt-slapping, stainless-steel-scale-weighing, needle-poking attitude you get in a maternity ward. With soft music, candlelight and a midwife on either side of her, Pamela gave birth to Brandon Thomas Lee at 3:02 A.M. on May 6th, 1996, after seventeen hours of labor for her and 400 cigarettes for me. The tears came flooding out when I saw this person come out of my wife, right in the master bedroom where we conceived him. I even got to help pull him out, dude. That was hands-down the best day of my life, and half an hour later I sat down at the piano and the song "Brandon" just came out of me.
I didn't realize it at the time because I was so overjoyed, but there was a downside to all this. Pamela and I got busy having kids so quickly that we never gave ourselves a chance to build a solid relationship. I asked her much later, "Why didn't we work on our relationship more?"
"We couldn't," she replied. "I was pregnant the whole time."
One night, Pamela and were chowing down on some dinner and flipping through television stations when we heard our names being mentioned on some news show. On the screen, there was a dude at Tower Video stocking the shelves with videotapes. And we knew just what they were.
Months earlier, we had taken a five-day houseboat trip on Lake Mead as a vacation. As usual, I brought along my video camera. We weren't trying to make a porno, just to document our vacation. We watched it once when we returned home, then put it in our safe, a 500-pound monstrosity, hidden underneath a carpet in my studio control room in the garage, where we recorded part of Generation Swine.
Months later, Pamela and I spent Christmas in London while some work was being done on the house. Afterward, I finished recording in the basement and then dismantled the studio. When the carpet was torn out, I saw nothing but empty space where the safe had once been. There were no broken locks or windows, so it had to have been an inside job. The only people with the keys were my assistant and the construction crew, which, come to think of it, included an electrician who used to be a Porn star and knew that business pretty well The way I figured it, they must have removed the safe with a crane and had it picked or blown open. They were probably after the guns and jewelry in there, but they also ended up with everything from family heirlooms to photographs.
I was so freaked out that I fired the assistant and sicced my lawyers on the construction company. The next thing I knew, there was a porn peddler from a company called the Internet Entertainment Group phoning me. He said he had bought the tape and was going to broadcast it on the Internet. Our lawyers and managers advised us that the best way to minimize the damages was to sign a contract saying that, since the company had us by the balls, we would reluctantly allow a one-time Webcast so long as they didn't sell, copy, trade or rebroadcast it. We thought we had won: Hardly anyone would see the video on the Internet, and we could recover the tape and start over.
So as soon as we saw the shelves being stocked at Tower on the news, we realized the guy had breached his agreement and mass-produced the tape, which, by the way, he never returned to us. I instantly called my lawyer, and we took them to court.
All this was going down at a real hard time for us: Pamela and I were fighting all the time. Trying to raise our children, continue the careers that consumed us, make a new relationship work and deal with the nonstop barrage of bullshit in the press was more of a challenge than we ever could have expected.
Before Brandon was born, we had a huge blowup because, with everything unraveling at once, we both became extrasensitive to each other's slightest change in mood. If one person said or did something wrong, the other one bristled with hate and resentment.
"You are a selfish little baby who thinks of nobody but himself," Pamela fumed one night over some little thing we had pumped into a major issue. I can't even remember what it was anymore.
"I do not want to deal with this," I snapped back. "It doesn't fucking matter. I am so sick of wasting our time arguing."
"You never want to talk about anything," she said. "I used to think you were so sweet – you tricked me." And with that, she stormed out of the house and went to spend the night at her condo. Hours later, the phone rang. I picked it up, expecting to hear Pamela on the other end. But, instead, a man started speaking. He identified himself as a doctor and said Pamela had swallowed half a bottle of aspirin at her place and blacked out. She was found unconscious on her bed by a girlfriend who had come over to console her. I rushed to the hospital to see her, though the overdose was probably less a suicide attempt than a plea for attention. But it worked, because I had no idea how much our disagreements were affecting her.
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