In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published Wednesday, the 50-year-old Baywatch star recalled first meeting Assange “years ago” through punk designer Vivienne Westwood.
They’ve remained close since, with romance rumors about the two even swirling amid constant sightings of Anderson at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Assange has taken refuge there for the past six years, claiming political asylum in order to avoid facing extradition to Sweden over a rape allegation he has long refuted. The hacker is also wanted by the United States for espionage charges in relation to WikiLeaks’ publication of classified information.
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Though Anderson has remained coy about the nature of their relationship, she called him “one of my favorite people” in one of her many lengthy posts on her website.
As for their conversations, Anderson told THR that they often cover a variety of topics.
“We talk about everything. We talk about the Bible, we talk about what’s happening with my kids, what’s happening with his family,” she recalled. “It’s not just about politics, even though I do take a lot of notes and it’s so overwhelming, the information he gives me.”
That affection has lead Anderson to feel worried for Assange recently, though. She told THR she believes he’s in “grave danger.” It’s been nearly a month since they last spoke, with Assange’s Internet access cut off by the Ecuadorean government. Anderson said she was even denied access to see him during a trip to London in April.
“He’s cut off from everybody,” she told THR. “The air and light quality [at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London] is terrible because he can’t keep his windows open and he can’t get any sunlight. Even prisoners can go outside, but he can’t.”
And those charges against him stemming from U.S. intelligence services findings that, as THR put it, “WikiLeaks coordinated with Russia to release the hacked DNC emails in order to impact the 2016 election?” Well, Anderson doesn’t agree.
“He’s been wrongly accused of so many things,” she said. “But this is a way of keeping him down and keeping him ineffective. He’s just ruffling the feathers of people that are powerful. I always try to humanize him because people think he’s a robot or he’s a computer screen or he’s not this human being.”
She added: “He’s so misunderstood,especially in Hollywood, and really hated, because of the Clinton monopoly on the media.”
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Anderson is now living in the South of France, sharing a home with her new boyfriend, 32-year-old French soccer star Adil Rami. “He’s not a part of that [showbiz world],” she said of their romance. “That’s the best part.”
As for her move, Anderson explained, “I always knew I was going to live in the South of France at this time in my life. Since I was doing a lot of photo shoots here for Playboy, like 20 years ago, I wanted to live here so bad. I had done Malibu very well, you know? Like with Baywatch and Soho House and walking around with my dog. I felt like the mascot of Malibu. And I just wanted out of there.”