Pamela Anderson launched her animal advocacy organization at the Cannes Film Festival by revealing episodes of childhood abuse that made her distrust humans and led her to find solace in animals.
"I feel now might be the time to reveal a few of my most painful memories," the actress and glamour model, 46, said at the launch Friday of the Pamela Anderson Foundation, according to British media.
"At the risk of overexposing myself, again, or being inappropriate, again, I thought I might share with you why I am doing this."
The longtime supporter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals then explained, "I did not have an easy childhood. Despite loving parents, I was molested from age 6 by a female baby-sitter. I went to her boyfriend's house, and his older brother decided to teach me backgammon, which led into a back massage, which led into rape -- my first heterosexual experience. He was 25 years old and I was 12."
Anderson went on to describe how sometime later her first boyfriend "decided it would be funny to gang rape me with six friends. I wanted off this Earth. This meant I had a hard time trusting humans."
Fortunately, she explained, "My affinity with animals saved me. They came to me naturally . . . My loyalty remained with the animal kingdom and I vowed to protect them and only them. I prayed to the whales with my feet in the ocean, my only real friends until I had children."
Her representative told People magazine Sunday, "We're not commenting any further regarding Pam's speech at Cannes."
Anderson spoke at a beach-party backgammon tournament that raised $150,000 for her designer friend Vivienne Westwood's charity, Cool Earth.