“VIP” star Pamela Anderson has hepatitis C, she confirmed Wednesday. “It is true I have hepatitis C and have undergone outpatient treatment” at the University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center, the former “Baywatch” star said in a statement issued through her publicist, Marleah Leslie.
Anderson claimed she contracted the disease by sharing a tattoo needle with her ex-husband, Tommy Lee.
“He never disclosed it to me during our marriage,” she alleged in the statement.
Anderson is locked in a custody battle with Lee over their two children.
“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,” Lee’s publicist, Beth Katz, said in a statement.
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 patients, 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 due to hepatitis C infection.
Current treatments work by boosting the immune system rather than attacking the virus, and aren’t successful in many patients.