Friday, March 22, 2002
Los Angeles Pamela Anderson says she contracted the potentially fatal hepatitis C by sharing a tattoo needle with ex-husband Tommy Lee, but the former Motley Crï¿½e drummer insists he's never had the disease.
"It is true I have hepatitis C and have undergone outpatient treatment" at the University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center, Anderson said in a statement released Wednesday by her publicist, Marleah Leslie.
"I contracted hepatitis C while sharing a tattoo needle with my ex-husband, Tommy Lee. A mutual doctor confirmed this at the time. Tommy has the disease and never disclosed it to me during our marriage," Anderson said.
Anderson, 34, and Lee, 39, are fighting in court over custody of their two young sons, Brandon and Dylan. The star of the syndicated TV series "VIP," who gained fame in the '90s as a lifeguard on "Baywatch," said Lee leaked the hepatitis story, which appears in Friday's Star tabloid and first came out Wednesday on "Entertainment Tonight."
"In a pathetic attempt to discredit me, he has decided to go public with this very private information," Anderson said.
"Entertainment Tonight" quoted an unidentified spokesperson for Lee as saying, "Tommy has never had hepatitis C or any sexually transmitted diseases. Pam's ridiculous accusations are attempts to try to change the current joint custody arrangement for their children."
Lee publicist Beth Katz didn't comment on the "Entertainment Tonight" report, but released a brief statement on Thursday.
"Because the custody evaluation is ongoing and court proceedings are pending, further comment is not appropriate at this time," the statement said. "Her actions today are a clear attack on Tommy and hopefully she will realize that she is only doing more harm to her children and herself by trying to use the media as a tool to hurt Tommy and their two boys."
Meanwhile, Anderson's boy-friend, Kid Rock, said Thursday he didn't know she had hepatitis C.
About 3.9 million Americans have hepatitis C, which is spread through blood-to-blood contact, most commonly through sharing needles for intravenous drug use or through unprotected sex, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In some, it can cause severe liver damage.
It causes inflammation of the liver, which can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure. About 8,000 to 10,000 people in the United States die each year from complications of hepatitis C infection.