Oct. 22, 2004 — -- Tommy Lee ran wild with the heavy metal band Motley Crue, wooed and wed two of America's most desirable women, starred in the most talked-about vacation video ever, and is now sharing details about his raucous life in a new memoir.
The 42-year-old has seen his share of drama. His second marriage to Pamela Anderson ended in divorce amid charges of spousal abuse. Lee then endured a jail term and would later watch helplessly as a 4-year-old boy drowned in his pool during his son's birthday party.
His book, "Tommyland," captures his heartache and his hedonism. But before the headlines, Thomas Lee Bass was a kid from the Los Angeles suburbs who grew up craving the romance he saw his parents share.
"My mom would walk by the kitchen and my dad would pinch her butt … It was really cool to see, you know?" Lee told 20/20. "One of my favorite things in the world is to be seeing two people that are really old, still holding hands, still kissing."
And when he looks, there's one part of a woman's body that always catches his eye first. "The very first thing I look at on a woman is her toes," said Lee. "I'm totally telling the truth."
Millions of TV fans may have no trouble identifying Heather Locklear on their set, but Lee admits he initially mistook his first wife for another TV siren.
"I go … 'You're on TV right now,' " said Lee. "And she's quiet for a second and then she goes 'Tommy, that's Heather Thomas, that's not me.' … And I'm like, oh my God, I'm an idiot."
Regardless, they clicked, and the two wed in 1986. At the time Lee was the drummer for the metal band Motley Crue and faced the temptations of life on the road. Despite working on albums like "Girls, Girls, Girls," and "Dr. Feelgood," Lee said he was monogamous during the marriage.
"Absolutely," said Lee. "When I'm in love … I don't even look."
But Lee's marriage to Locklear would not last: they split after seven years.
He became a husband again in 1995 thanks to his torrid, tempestuous marriage to "Playboy" centerfold Pamela Anderson. Their romance was so blissful that capturing it on video must have seemed like a good idea, until a safe containing the tape was stolen from their garage. The video was leaked to the public and the media meltdown began.
"It was ridiculous. It was a total invasion of our privacy. This is, like, sacred, you know," said Lee.
Their tape is the biggest-selling explicit video of all time, with sales in excess of $77 million, of which the couple didn't see a dime."Not being able to do anything … about it was adding so much frustration and stress to our relationship. It was just consuming us," said Lee.
The passion that had always fueled their love was about to destroy it. While Lee rejoiced in the birth of the couples' sons, Brandon and Dylan, by 1998 he missed having his wife's total attention, now that she was so focused on the children.
One night Lee says, he was "frustrated" and started taking it out on Anderson. As the confrontation escalated, Lee said he kicked his wife in the behind.
"And the next thing I know I was in my house in the playroom and I just hear from behind me you know, 'Please stand up and put your hands behind your head,' " said Lee. "Nobody … should ever touch anybody in anger ever. It's just not cool."
Several months later Anderson had filed for divorce and was dating surfer Kelly Slater. At the time, Lee was sitting in a Los Angeles county jail cell serving a 180-day sentence. Finding out that his wife was dating another man while he was in jail was hard for Lee to deal with, "I can deal with a lot, but that was rough," said Lee.
After two divorces and a stint in jail, the drama was far from over for Lee. In 2001, the musician made national news again when a horrible tragedy took place at his home. A boy drowned during his 5-year-old son Brandon's birthday party.
The male nanny of young Daniel Karven-Veres told Lee he was going to a rock concert, leaving the child in the care another child's nanny. "All of a sudden I hear a scream," said Lee. "I look over and I see … this girl pulling … you know, Daniel up out of the pool."
Lee said he couldn't find the nanny who was appointed to watch the boy. "And that just blew my mind that she'd left him in the pool by himself."
The boy died later that day.
"He just didn't make it. It was terrible. It was the most terrible thing I've ever seen in my life," said Lee. "The parents came here understandably, you know, very freaked out and crying, wanting to know what happened.
Lee said he sent the parents a "very heartfelt letter" but did not hear back from them. Daniel's parents then filed a $10 million negligence suit against Lee saying he should have provided more supervision at the party. A jury ruled the case in Lee's favor.
"I wish I could bring their son back. Unfortunately, it's not a possibility," said Lee. "As a parent, you know, I'll always feel responsible. I wish I could have done something or I wish I would have seen it. I wish I could have done anything. "
It's been a few years since the tragedy, and Lee is now looking toward new projects in his career. When he's not making music, the former high school dropout is attending the University of Nebraska for a reality TV show due to air next year on NBC.
And, after two marriages, he's still looking for true love.
"Going through life solo isn't very exciting if you can't share it with somebody, you know?" said Lee. "I need someone to play with all the time."