Pamela Anderson. Picture: Bang Showbiz

Pamela Anderson has credited Playboy magazine with "saving her life" after she was left traumatised by sexual assault.

The 50-year-old actress and model is known for her work as a Playboy bunny, and has said that after her alleged experiences with female babysitter - whom she claims molested her as a child - working for the magazine "empowered" her and helped her come out of her "shy" shell.

READ: Pamela Anderson shares saucy Playboy Mansion tale

She said: "I was molested as a child by a bad female babysitter, who is no longer alive. And my first experiences with men were not consensual. 

"I was painfully shy as a child. As a young girl, Playboy empowered me. It really saved my life. I felt very trapped inside and needed to free myself. It was a breakthrough for me, and there I met artists and activists and gentleman. It has been a fun and wild life."

The 'Baywatch' star admits her road to success wasn't easy, and has encouraged those in a similar position to "step outside their comfort zone".

She added: "I encourage everyone to be brave and step outside your comfort zone. It's a springboard into the unknown. And when you can do this, you can really live. We've all had some kind of tragedy in our lives. We just have to remember that and be good to each other."

Pamela has also hit out at the state of Hollywood since the recent sexual misconduct scandal, and says she is pleased to be living in France away from the mayhem.

Speaking to Us Weekly magazine, she said: "Hollywood is difficult. It is not my favourite place to be. But it is a business, and if this is the life you want, you play the game. I'm happy to be living in France now. Hollywood is too much. I'd rather use my energy in other ways."