Pamela Anderson has been wowing audiences ever since she first ran in that iconic red swimsuit — but it hasn't always been good
Credit: Baywatch Co/REX/Shutterstock; Darren Gerrish/WireImage

Pamela Anderson is no stranger to controversy. In the two-and-a-half decades since she first ran down the beach in her iconic red swimsuit in Baywatch, the actress, 49, has had plenty of jaw-dropping moments. From multiple marriages to kicking off the celebrity sex-tape craze and the latest speculation on her love life, Anderson has always remained one of Hollywood’s biggest headline-grabbers.

As the Baywatch reboot hits theaters this weekend — featuring a cameo by Anderson — here’s a look back at her biggest moments:

New Look

The star looked almost unrecognizable when she walked the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival last week wearing a navy blue ruched dress with a puffed neckline and sleeves. She paired the dress with minimum accessories, wearing statement de Grisogono earrings and bangles. Her famous blond hair was swept back in a sleek look.

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Following her Cannes jaunt, she stepped out in Monaco on Friday wearing a risqué, cleavage-baring black gown that turned heads.

Amber Lounge 2017 In Monaco
Credit: Marc Piasecki/Gett

An Unlikely Twosome

Anderson has recently been linked to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after a series of visits — not to mention colorful blog posts about the famed whistleblower, who is currently hiding out in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden on rape charges. The actress has been vocal in her defense of Assange, whom she calls a “hero” and “one of my favorite people.”

Sex Tape

In the midst of her breakthrough role on Baywatch, Anderson made news by marrying rocker Tommy Lee on a beach in Mexico after dating for just four days. The couple went on to have two sons — Brandon, now 20, and Dylan, now 19 — before divorcing in 1998.

But before the couple ultimately split, they were at the center of a scandal when their safe, which contained an almost hour-long sex tape of the two, was stolen by a former worker. Anderson and Lee tried to block its release, with the actress suing the video distribution company. The tape was, however, eventually released online and Anderson dropped her suit.

“I’ve never seen it. I made not one dollar. It was stolen property. We made a deal to stop all the shenanigans,” she said on Watch What Happens Live! “I was seven months pregnant with Dylan and thinking it was affecting the pregnancy with the stress and said, ‘I’m not going to court anymore. I’m not being deposed anymore by these horny, weird lawyer men. I don’t want to talk about my vagina anymore or my public sex — anything.”

1996 File Photo of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee
Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee in 1996
| Credit: Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage

Hepatitis C Diagnosis

In 2002, the actress revealed that she had contracted Hepatitis C from her ex-husband Lee after the two shared tattoo needles. Anderson publicly spoke about her struggle with the disease before she was cured in late 2015.

“I think anyone struggling with a disease that they say you can live with is still – it still plays into a lot of your decisions in your life,” she told PEOPLE soon after she was cured. “Twenty years ago they told me I would die in 10 years. And 10 years into that, they told me I would be able to live with it and probably die of something else, but it all was very scary stuff.”

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Banned Ads

Anderson has appeared in several racy ads throughout her career — and some have gotten her into trouble.

In 2010, the actress posed in a bikini for her work with PETA, leading Montreal officials to ban the ad amid accusations it was sexist. “In a city that is known for its exotic dancing and for being progressive and edgy, how sad that a woman would be banned from using her own body in a political protest over the suffering of cows and chickens,” Anderson said in a statement. “In some parts of the world, women are forced to cover their whole bodies with burqas — is that next? I didn’t think that Canada would be so puritanical.”

Two years later, the actress was featured in an ad for Crazy Domains in Australia that was banned in the U.K. after the British Advertising Standards Authority received several complaints. The ad featured Anderson and another female costar in bikinis, slathered in a creamy substance.