(PHOTO: REUTERS / FILE)
Actress, model and activist Pamela Anderson shared publicly for the first time that she suffered extensive sexual abuse as a child. She said that her love for animals "saved" her at the time.
Anderson, most famous for the hit '90s TV series "Baywatch" and who has appeared numerous times on Playboy covers, shared a number of traumatic experiences she went through as a child in remarks on Friday at the launch of her animal rights charity at the Cannes Film Festival in France.
"I was molested from age 6-10 by my female babysitter," the 46-year-old American-Canadian actress revealed. "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 yrs old; I was 12."
She added, "My first boyfriend in grade 9 decided it would be funny to gang rape me (with six of his friends)."
Anderson, who is a vegan and member of animals rights group PETA, said that her affinity with animals is what "saved" her.
"My loyalty remained with the animal kingdom. I vowed to protect them and only them. I prayed to the whales with my feet in the ocean. My only real friends – till I had children," the actress said.
Anderson noted that she had a "hard time trusting humans" at the time, and wanted "off this earth."
She revealed that her parents tried to keep her safe, but her father was an alcoholic while her mother worked two waitressing jobs.
"Dad didn't always come home, leaving us in tremendous pain and worry," she continued.
"I couldn't bear to give her any more disruptive information," the actress said about not telling her mother of the abuse. "I couldn't break her heart any more than it was breaking."
Anderson has starred in a number of provocative ads for PETA, calling attention to the treatment of U.S. factory-farmed animals and slaughterhouse conditions.