Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Netflix Brandon Thomas Lee, Pamela Anderson and Dylan Jagger Lee
For Pamela Anderson, revisiting her past was an immersive — and emotional — experience.
At the premiere of her new Netflix documentary Pamela, a love story on Monday night in Los Angeles, the 55-year-old actress told PEOPLE that going back in time was an essential part of the process for telling her story — for the film and for her Love, Pamela memoir, both out Tuesday.
“Of course it’s emotional for me,” Anderson says. “It’s just all these wonderful memories and hard memories too. But I wanted to go back into those feelings and feel those feelings.”
She adds, “That’s how I wrote my book. I wanted to go through all the chapters of my life and feel those feelings. It was hard. It was very hard.”
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Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Netflix Pamela Anderson
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And seeing the finished product was also moving for her two sons with ex-husband Tommy Lee: Brandon Thomas Lee, a producer on the movie, and Dylan Jagger Lee, both of whom attended the premiere with their mom.
“I think Brandon was a little emotional. Dylan was a little emotional when he saw it,” she says. “Brandon’s seen a ton of it. He’s been doing this for two years, so this has been a long process and as a mom, you never want to burden your kids. But this has kind of been a fun family project, but it had a lot of emotion tied to it.”
The documentary, directed by Ryan White and also produced by Jessica Hargrave and Julia Nottingham, is billed as “an intimate and humanizing portrait of one of the world’s most famous blonde bombshells.”
It “follows the trajectory of Pamela Anderson’s life and career from small-town girl to international sex symbol, actress, activist and doting mother.”
John Salangsang/Shutterstock Brandon Thomas Lee, Pamela Anderson and Dylan Jagger Lee
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The characterization of the Baywatch alum as the latter is nothing new to Brandon, 26.
“I’ve known her my whole life, but when I think of my mom, I think of an incredibly well-read, intelligent, well-spoken, kind-hearted, passionate person, and I just think the world has never really seen her like that,” he tells PEOPLE.
For Brandon, he feels like, before, people “may have noticed her looks or her compassion or things like that, but at the end of the day, I think people haven’t given her enough credit or really another chance to recapture herself before a lot of these really awful things happened to her.”
“I’ve always seen her as an incredibly talented and powerful woman with so much potential, and I still think I see her the exact same way,” he adds.
As for the memoir, Anderson had complete control of the narrative — something her sons “encouraged,” she recently told PEOPLE.
“[There’s] a little bit of anxiety before it comes out because this has been a year, basically, of therapy, going through my life from my first memory to my last memory,” she said. “I’m really proud of it. It is something I wrote every word of. I didn’t have a collaborator. I didn’t have any ghostwriter, nothing.”
She added, “It’s just one girl’s story of how I made it through: a small-town girl going to Los Angeles and just going through all the wild and crazy adventures I did and then circling back and going home.”
But often, with reflection comes other emotions. “I had no idea how much anger I had inside, or how therapeutic it was going to be for not just me, but for people around me, like my mother,” Anderson said. “It’s been a healing process. I’m so happy to share it and hopefully people will be inspired.”