Twenty years ago today, on Feb. 19, 1995, Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee and Baywatch actress Pamela Anderson got married in Cancun, Mexico after a four-day courtship period.
While naysayers predicted almost immediate doom for the relationship, the Tommy Lee/Pam Anderson romance actually lasted three years and produced many fruits: Two children, the so-bad-it’s-good cult movie Barb Wire, and yes, that graphic honeymoon sex tape.
They divorced in 1998, but unlike most celebrity splits, Lee and Anderson have remained on good terms, reportedly rekindling their romance twice since then.
On the anniversary of one of the most infamous elopements in rock history, we’re looking at the story of their surprise marriage using a variety of media reports published at the time.
Associated Press, Feb. 21 1995:
The bride and groom wore white, but just barely.
Baywatch star Pamela Anderson walked down the aisle in a skimpy white bikini for her wedding Sunday to Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee in Cancun, Mexico. Lee wore white Bermuda shorts and no shirt or shoes.
“The bride wore a very tiny – an extremely tiny – white bikini,” Judge Pedro Solis told the Daily News.
St. Petersburg Times, Feb. 22 1995:
After the nuptials, the newlyweds walked to the end of a pier, where Lee, 32, pushed her in the water. He dived in after her.
USA Today, Feb. 22 1995:
Both Lee and Anderson camps were surprised by the wedding. But, says publicist Michelle Bega: “They are thrilled and very happy.”
Anderson’s parents didn’t hear about the marriage till Monday. Carole Anderson told Tuesday’s A Current Affair she was “heartbroken” at the elopement… I don’t even know Tommy Lee.”
Newsday, Feb. 21 1995:
Producer Jon Peters – still a big name with Columbia / Sony – is said to be “slightly stunned” by the sudden marriage of Baywatch beach queen Pamela Anderson and Motley Crue rocker Tommy Lee, ex of Heather Locklear. (Hordes of paparazzi are descending on Cancun, Mexico, where the happy couple got hitched.) Jon Peters thought he and Anderson had a good thing going, but little did he know that she had long hungered for the thin, heavily tattooed Tommy.
Newsday, Feb. 23 1995:
My goodness, don’t people believe in true love – even when it slaps them right in the face? Already “they” are saying that Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee regret their quickie fresh-air marriage on the beach at Cancun, Mexico, and that annulment is in the air.
What cynicism. I mean, did you all see the photos and video footage of Pam and Tommy exchanging vows? Their expressions said it all. In fact, one of the impromptu witnesses to the wedding told us, “If there is one word I can use to describe the atmosphere that day, it’s – ecstasy!”
People, Feb. 26 1995:
Newlyweds Pamela Anderson, star of TV’s Baywatch, and Tommy Lee, drummer for the rock band Motley Crue, have found an unusual way to cement their wedding vows. After a visit to a Hollywood tattoo parlor last Friday night, the couple emerged sporting matching wedding band tattoos on their ring fingers. The move was probably no big deal to Lee, whose body is amply decorated with tattoo art. Anderson’s tattoo history is unknown, although there are none readily visible and her Baywatch wardrobe generally leaves little to the imagination. The couple’s colorful display of devotion came just five days after their impromptu nuptials last weekend in Cancun, Mexico.
Philadelphia Enquirer, Feb. 26 1995:
Sure, they just got married, what, 10 minutes ago? But that hasn’t stopped Baywatch beauty Pamela Anderson and her hard-rockin’ husband, Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee, from talking about getting in that family way. “But first we want to get to know each other,” Lee said. Good move, since the pair knew each other only a few weeks before tying the knot in a ceremony in Cancun, Mexico. Added Anderson: “We’re already enjoying the practicing.”
New York Daily News, March 3:
[The Grammys] show was the most predictable three hours on TV and, besides, it’s what occurs backstage and at the post-awards parties that counts. Take, for instance, unkempt rocker Tommy Lee dragging out the old ball-and-chain Pamela Anderson to the bash that Warner Records threw. She wore a sheer, low-cut gown, and he came in cut-off jeans and a sleeveless shirt. Every other word out of Tommy’s mouth was F-this and F-that. Other women there were busting out of their gowns, a la Anderson.
Newsweek, March 6
The blitzkrieg bond had even intimates shaking their heads.
Miami Herald, March 4:
Pamela Anderson and Motley Crue rocker Tommy Lee just wed after a whole week of dating. There they are in People magazine — lusty, busty and deeply smitten with the urgency of it all.