Former Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson has revealed how she wanted to vanish from the earth after being sexually abused and raped as a child.

She shared her traumatic experiences of her youth at the launch of her animal rights charity -The Pamela Anderson Foundation - at the Cannes Film Festival to explain how her "affinity with animals saved" her.

She told guests at the beach event on the French Riviera it was time to reveal her "most painful memories" when she was molested by a female babysitter from the age of six and was raped by a 25-year-old when she was 12.

She also said how her first boyfriend when she was 15 or 16 "decided it would be funny to gang rape me (with six of his friends)".

"Needless to say, I had a hard time trusting humans," Anderson said. "I just wanted off this earth."

The actress admitted she did not tell her mother what she went through because she didn't want to "break her heart".

"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. My loyalty remained with 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", she said.

She said Baywatch was a "turning point" for her and soon realised she could use her voice to campaign against animal cruelty worldwide.

"I contacted People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, (Peta). I asked them for information to share in these interviews about any animal issue in that country. We have changed animal welfare laws all over the world and over the last 20 years I've spoken to press, parliament, presidents, kings, queens. I've had the ear and admiration of people like Castro, and crazy enough, Putin."

Anderson's speech can be read in full here.