Pamela Anderson‘s love for animals is well known, but in an emotional speech, the actress revealed that animals helped her survive years of sexual abuse as a child.
According to the Associated Press, Anderson made the shocking revelation at a Cannes Film Festival event to launch her new charity, the Pamela Anderson Foundation, which advocates for animals, human rights and the environment.
“I did not have an easy childhood. Despite loving parents, I was molested from age 6 to 10 by my female babysitter,” Anderson nervously told the audience, according to AP. “I went to a friend’s boyfriend’s house and when she was busy the boyfriend’s older brother decided he would teach me backgammon which led in to a back massage, which led in to rape. My first heterosexual experience. He was 25 years old, I was 12.”
The “Baywatch” star told the crowd of 200 that the assaults did not end there.
“My first boyfriend in grade nine decided it would be funny to gang rape me with six of his friends. Needless to say I had a hard time trusting humans and I just wanted off this earth,” she said, according to AP.
Anderson credits animals for helping her heal.
“My affinity with animals saved me, they came to me naturally. The trees spoke to me. I wasn’t sure why I was alive – a burning question, a quest,” she said, according to AP. “My loyalty remained with the animal kingdom. 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.”
Anderson’s rep did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.