Childhood & Early Life
Thomas Lee Bass was born on October 3, 1962, to David Lee Thomas Bass and Vassiliki Papadimitriou in Athens, Greece. He has a younger sister named Athena Lee and is of American-Welsh descent.
When he was just a year old, his family moved to West Covina, California. He got his first drum at the tender age of four and his first drum kit when he was a teenager. He quit high school to pursue a career in rock music.
As a teenager, he was inspired by the bands, ‘Queen,’ ‘Kiss,’ ‘Judas Priest,’ and ‘Led Zeppelin.’ He was also influenced by the works of the drummer, Peter Criss.
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After quitting school, he debuted with the band ‘Suite 19’ in the 1970s, where he met future band members of ‘Mötley Crüe.’ On January 17, 1980, ‘Mötley Crüe’ was formed with members, Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, and Vince Neil.
The band released their first album, ‘Too Fast for Love’ in 1981 under their very own record label, ‘Leathür Records.’ However, ‘Elektra Records’ decided to sign the band and recirculated their debut album the following year.
Throughout the 1980s, the ‘Mötley Crüe’ released a sequence of hit albums, including ‘Shout at the Devil,’ ‘Theatre of Pain,’ ‘Girls, Girls, Girls,’ and ‘Dr. Feelgood,’ establishing the band as one of the most versatile hard rock/metal bands at the time.
During the 1990s, Tommy Lee became involved in turbulent relationships and was even imprisoned after being accused by Pamela Anderson for hitting her in front of their children.
In 1999, when he was still in prison, he left his band ‘Mötley Crüe’ and created another band, ‘Methods of Mayhem.’ However, his partnership with this band was short-lived.
In 2002, he released his debut solo album, ‘Never a Dull Moment,’ which was a mix of electronica and rap metal. Two years later, he reunited with his former band for a brief period of time and released the double-disc album, ‘Red, White & Crüe.’ The same year, he published his autobiography, ‘Tommyland.’
In 2005, he appeared in a reality television show, ‘Tommy Lee Goes to College,’ where he was up to his usual frolics, except this time, he was shown attending a college. The same year, he went on a reunion tour with ‘Mötley Crüe’ to support ‘The Red, White & Crüe.’ The tour was called ‘The Red, White & Crüe Tour 2005: Better Live Than Dead.’
In 2006, he formed a new band, ‘Rock Star Supernova’ and released their debut self-titled album on November 21. Two years following the release of ‘Rock Star Supernova,’ he appeared in the reality show, ‘Battleground Earth’ opposite Ludacris. The same year, he also got back with his band ‘Mötley Crüe’ to release their latest album, ‘Saints of Los Angeles.’
In 2010, he appeared in ‘Tosh.0.’ which was aired on ‘Comedy Central.’ He also agreed to appear in an episode of ‘Californication’ as a singer.
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He has also appeared with artists like Deadmau5 and DJ Aero in the ‘Meowington Hax’ tour in 2011.
In 2014, Tommy contributed as a drummer for an album titled ‘Monuments to an Elegy’ by the popular rock band ‘The Smashing Pumpkins.’ The same year, Lee went on a farewell tour of ‘Mötley Crüe’ and the bandmates signed a ‘cessation of touring agreement,’ prohibiting them from touring under the band’s moniker beyond the end of 2015.
In September 2018, Mötley Crüe’s lead vocalist Vince Neil announced the band’s reunion. A biographical drama movie titled ‘The Dirt,’ which was based on ‘Mötley Crüe,’ was released on Netflix in March 2019. The film was based on the collaborative autobiography of ‘Mötley Crüe,’ ‘The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band.’
‘Too Fast for Love,’ Mötley Crüe’s debut album, which was released in 1981 and re-released in 1982, was awarded platinum status by the ‘RIAA’ in the United States. The album peaked at number 77 on the ‘Billboard 200.’ ‘Too Fast for Love’ features the band’s first hit single, ‘Live Wire.’
‘Shout at the Devil,’ which released in 1983, featured a number of singles including, ‘Looks That Kill,’ ‘Shout at the Devil,’ and ‘Too Young to Fall in Love.’ This album was considered the band’s breakthrough success album, as it appeared in the ‘Mainstream Rock’ chart and the ‘Billboard Hot 100.’ The album was also awarded 4x Platinum by the ‘RIAA.’
‘Never a Dull Moment,’ which released on May 21, 2002, is Lee’s first solo album and features the hit single, ‘Hold Me Down.’ The single was featured in the ‘Mainstream Rock’ chart and the album peaked at number 39 in the ‘Billboard 200.’
In September 2005, Lee published his autobiography ‘Tommyland’ through ‘Atria Books.’
Personal Life & Legacy
Tommy Lee married model Elaine Margaret Starchuk on November 24, 1984, and divorced her in 1985.
In 1986, he married an actress named Heather Locklear and divorced her in 1993.
In 1995, he married the popular pin-up girl and ‘Playboy’ Playmate, Pamela Anderson, who made headlines by wearing a bikini on her wedding day. They were blessed with two sons.
While he was on vacation with Anderson, the couple’s sex tape was stolen and was released on the internet. She sued the video distribution company ‘Internet Entertainment Group,’ but the company and Anderson got into a mutual agreement as per which they agreed to make the video accessible to the subscribers of the website.
Pamela Anderson accused Lee of physically abusing her in front of her sons, for which he was imprisoned. They split in 1998, reunited once again, and then split again in 2001. In 2008, he announced that he was back with Anderson and that they were living together with their children. However, they parted ways sometime later.
On June 16, 2001, a four-year-old boy drowned in Lee’s swimming pool on Lee’s son’s birthday. Lee was sued for negligence by the parents of the deceased boy.
In 2007, he was thrown out of the ‘MTV Video Music Awards’ when he got into a fight with Kid Rock.
In 2010, he started dating a singer named Sofia Toufa. In February 2014, he announced that the two were engaged. However, they parted ways after three years of engagement in 2017.
On February 14, 2018, Lee announced that he got engaged to social media celebrity Brittany Furlan. They got married on February 14, 2019.