In the 1990’s, Denise Richards was the “it” girl splashed all over the media. Men wanted her and women wanted to be her. She was snapped up by actor Charlie Sheen, but the couple’s relationship came up as quickly as it went down. The split of the high profile couple led Richards to fall off the radar, but what happened?
At just 19-years-old, Richards stormed onto the modeling scene, being whisked away to locations including Paris, Tokyo and New York. Following this, Denise ventured into TV, taking up roles on popular sitcoms, but after a successful start, it took some sharp turns.
Did They Or Didn’t They?
Early in Denise Richards’ career, she was linked to actor and notorious bachelor Scott Baio. Baio has had his fair share of flings with beautiful women in Hollywood and he admitted that he counts Richards as one of his conquests. However, when Denise was asked about the alleged tryst, she denied having a relationship or any physical contact with him. While the truth will probably never come out, it seems that Richards always had a thing for the bad boy bachelors.
After being whisked off to Tokyo to model out of high school, Richards was horrified at the apartment she was given. She recalled, “I saw hundreds of cockroaches run across the floor and the kitchen counters. They were in the drawers and cabinets, too. Scared and sick to my stomach, I grabbed the key and my purse and dashed out of the apartment.” To make matters worse, Denise grew incredibly sick and the agency owners threatened to sue her if she didn’t show up for work.
When Denise ventured into the acting scene, she was working among some notable fresh faces, one of which happened to be young heartthrob Paul Walker. The two were co-stars in Tammy & the T-Rex and struck up a relationship from that in 1993. Richards was Walker’s first celebrity girlfriend and although the young couple didn’t last very long, both of their careers were on the up from then on. While they never commented or confirmed their relationship, it was recognized that they dated in the early years.
Baring It All
As a young model, Denise Richards was expected to bow to the demands of her modeling agency. While working in Japan, she was asked to pose in lingerie but declined, as she didn’t feel comfortable in that position. She recalled that it infuriated her agency but, “I wasn’t altogether uncomfortable with my body, but I didn’t have a figure that allowed me to brim with self-confidence in all departments and being photographed in my underwear bothered me.”
Bowing To Pressure
It wasn’t until 1997 that Denise Richards starred in Wild Things alongside Matt Dillon and Neve Campbell that she agreed to remove her clothes for the love scenes. Not only was she asked shoot nude, she was also required to have a lesbian love scene with Campbell, as well as a scene with multiple lovers. After much deliberation between her lawyers, the producers and director, it was mutually agreed upon. Richards recalled that before shooting, she and Campbell shared a pitcher of margaritas to calm the nerves.
During the filming of Wild Things, it was reported that Richards began a fling with her co-star Matt Dillon. The on-screen lovers were said to have carried on their relationship when the cameras stopped rolling on set. The fling was never confirmed and it was only the crew who suspected something more than a friendship behind the scenes. However, they were never seen together in public, nor did they ever speak of any fling so anything romantic could be put down to rumors.
In 1999, Denise Richards arguably had her biggest acting role in her career to date. Denise played Dr. Christmas Jones, an American nuclear physicist assisting James Bond in his mission. Denise said that the role was one of her favorites to date saying it was “brainy”, “athletic”, and had “depth of character, in contrast to Bond girls from previous decades.” She continued in saying,”These Bond girls are so outrageous and if I did really look like a scientist, the Bond fans would have been disappointed.”
Going For Slater
Denise took up a number of guest appearances on popular TV shows in the 90’s and one of her most famous stints was on famed teen sitcom Saved By The Bell. Richards played the role of a girl who was infatuated with teen heartthrob Slater, played by Mario Lopez, and it seems their characters manifested off screen. Denise has a past of falling for her co-stars so it was no surprise that the two developed an attraction for one other on the set.
After flirting up a storm on the set of Spin City, Charlie Sheen wasted no time in asking Denise out for dinner as a first date. However, Denise recalled that at the last minute, Sheen canceled the dinner date and instead asked her if she wanted to come over to his place and watch the World Series. However, at the end of the date, Denise made the first mov, after Charlie hesitated, and she said of the moment, “It was spectacular. Definitely butterflies.”
After just three months of dating, Sheen proposed to Richards in December 2001, and Sheen decided to surprise Denise by getting a tattoo of her name to cement their pending nuptials. The couple were married the following June at the private estate of Spin City creator Gary David Goldberg, and after saying their vows, Denise decided to get her own inking of Charlie to return the favor. However, Charlie had a bad history with women, but Denise turned a blind eye to it.
Upon becoming man and wife, Richards moved into Charlie’s home, which was strangely decorated entirely in black. However, it wasn’t the color scheme that alarmed Richards, it was the bizarre features within the house that were extremely revealing about her new husband’s personality. She explained how the bedroom door was bulletproof, there was a fire pole in the closet for an escape route to the ground floor and the large home had a panic room. Denise grew concerned about Charlie.
Posing For Playboy
Being one of the most sought after women in the 90’s to 2000’s, magazines were vying for a photoshoot with Richards, but there was one publication in particular who wanted her on their pages. After numerous discussions, Denise agreed to pose for Playboy but when the magazine suggested that Charlie take the photos, he declined. Eventually, the photoshoot took place in the Bahamas and Denise was accompanied by her mother, father and make-up artist while Charlie was absent.
In March 2004, Denise and Charlie welcomed their first child, a daughter named Sam, and the family of three were blissfully happy. Charlie encouraged Denise’s career and even got her a role on his show Two And A Half Men, on which she played the role of Lisa on seasons one and two. However, things began taking a turn when Denise became pregnant with their second child. There was trouble in the Sheen household and it looked like they were headed for a divorce.
Break-Up To Make-Up
It was reported that Sheen’s substance abuse played a large part in their separation, and Denise began going through the steps with lawyers at seven months pregnant. However, the couple reconciled briefly and sought marriage counseling, but it wasn’t enough to keep Charlie’s behavior at bay. Sheen was present when Denise gave birth to their second daughter, Lola, but there was no turning back. In January 2006, a representative confirmed that Denise was going forward with divorce proceedings.
Denise and Charlie’s divorce took a turn for the worse and the bitter custody battle was followed by Sheen allegedly sending death threats to his ex-wife. In response, Richards was granted a restraining order against her ex, promising to keep him away from her and their children. In November 2006, their divorce was finalized and it stated that Sheen was ordered to stay 300 feet away from Richards and his daughters, unless they were having a supervised visit.
Back On The Dating Scene
Denise had a history in dating her co-stars and when she appeared in I Do (But I Don’t) opposite Dean Cain, it appeared as if she had done it once again. Unlike many of her other co-star relationships, Dean and Denise were seen out on a handful of dates during the shooting of their movie and after. It was the first time that Denise had dated after her divorce from Charlie and although it wasn’t serious, she had to start somewhere.
Return To TV
After her difficult divorce from Sheen, Denise laid low in her career and focused on raising her children, staying out of the public eye. In 2008, she decided to make her return and this time, it was in the form of reality television. Denise Richards: It’s Complicated aired on the E! network in 2008 and the show followed the lives of Denise and her family. However, when Charlie found out his daughters would be in the show, he branded his ex “greedy, vain and exploitative.”
Denise spoke out after she was labeled exploitative saying, “Everyone says I’m exploiting the kids, but they haven’t even seen one episode.” She continued in explaining how she was at a loss saying, “I’m in a no-win situation. If I have my kids on the show, I’m exploiting them. If I don’t, people will think I’m not a hands-on mom.” Either way, Denise fully intended to to show her kids on her reality show, regardless of the judgements of others.
Following a lengthy legal battle, Denise won full custody of her daughters and the court case allowing her to include them on her reality show. However, Denise felt that she was unfulfilled and she wanted another child. In June 2011, she adopted a third daughter, named Eloise Joni Richards. Things were also on the up for Denise and Charlie in 2012. Charlie made a cameo appearance in Denise’s film Madea’s Witness Protection while Denise made an appearance in Charlie’s show Anger Management.
When Charlie went through a dark period with his new wife Brooke Mueller, and both of them were suffering with sobriety, Denise was given temporary custody of their four-year-old sons Bob and Max. Around this time, Denise was interviewed and asked why she got involved with Charlie, knowing his background, she replied, “He was 3 years sober and he was working and doing really really well.” Despite her turbulent background with the troubled actor, their relationship was improving.
In 2012, Denise finally moved on with her love life an began dating Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora. To make matters more confusing, Denise was friends with Sambora’s ex-wife Heather Locklear and Richards admitted, “When I got together with Richie, Richie was single. Heather had filed for divorce.” When Locklear found out that her ex and Richards had begun dating, Denise recalled that she was forced to change her phone number because Locklear was constantly calling and leaving angry voicemails.
Following a string of arguments it was said that Richie and Denise had split up. When asked in an interview, she confirmed, “We aren’t dating, but as lot of people have seen, I stay very friendly with my exes… All of them.” Richards also insisted, “We’re friends, we went through a lot. Years ago we both lost our parents at the same time and were going through other stuff, so we’ll always have a bond with each other and we will stay good friends forever.”
Blast From The Past
Prior to meeting Charlie, it was reported that Denise Richards had a short fling with prominent actor John Stamos. Following her divorce, Stamos and Richards were reported to have rekindled their romance. Unfortunately it didn’t last long and while there was much speculation of the reason why, Stamos was later asked by Howard Stern if her kids played a part in the break-up. Stamos candidly replied saying “That was the issue, and it uh, it was kind of a problem.”
Stamos was made to elaborate on his comment by Stern who asked how he got out of the awkward situation. Stamos exclaimed, “I barely did get out of that one! She was upset. It really kind of was the kid situation and what she’s going through. It just wasn’t the right time, you know, I’m friends with Charlie, I’m friends with Richie, I’m friends with Heather, it was a strange thing.” Stamos managed to maintain a friendship with Richards.
In late 2015, Denise found herself caught up in a scandal when ex-husband Charlie Sheen revealed he was HIV positive, something that he had been keeping a secret for four years. Questions then turned to Denise and if she contracted the virus from her ex-husband. However, it was later confirmed that both Richards and her two daughters were not HIV positive and Charlie had supposedly contracted the virus after the two had split up. Nevertheless, Denise was said to be well aware of his diagnosis.
During an interview with Howard Stern, Denise was asked about her past flings and relationships. When Stern asked if she had ever been with a woman, Denise admitted she had but it “happened a long time ago.” She continued in adding “I just met her through friends and work and stuff… I was just curious, we were curious. She was a girly-girl. She’s beautiful. You would know who she is.” Many people started speculating on the mystery celebrity but Denise wouldn’t give a name.
Taking A Turn
After co-parenting their children successfully, Richards and Sheen hit a rough patch in 2016. After Charlie evicted Richards and their daughters from a house he bought for them and raided a $7 million trust for their daughters, Denise sued him for $1.6 million. Denise expressed her feelings saying, “I’ve been asked how I am handling this all lately, but the reality is I’ve been handling this on and off for seven years. The truth is: This is not the man I married; this is the man that I divorced.”
Back On Track
The following year, Brooke and Charlie seemed to get their relationship back on track for the sake of their daughters. Denise posted pictures with Charlie and their daughters at a concert as well as a family dinner. Summing the relationship up, she wrote “We’ve had a colorful year, at the end of the day we’re still a family.” After all the ups and downs, it was pleasant to see the exes getting on and putting their issues in the past.
The Biggest Heartbreak
Although Denise’s divorce from Charlie Sheen caused her much heartbreak, it was the death of her mother, Joni, that really broke Denise’s heart. She spoke of Joni’s battle with cancer and how she dealt with it, explaining that, “Even though deep down I knew [my mom was going to die], I still had hope that maybe it wouldn’t happen. And I think that hope helped her. If you lose hope, your loved one loses hope too.”
Struggling With The Media
Denise’s divorce from Sheen attracted masses of media attention, and Charlie seemed to be feeding the rumors by talking about it. Denise however took a different stance and wanted to keep as quiet as possible about the details of her private relationship. She said in an interview: “I’m a little more private that way, I mean we’ve been written in every single tabloid and, you know, all I can say is … a painful, painful year.”
Kids Come First
Denise has always appeared as a hands-on mom, making sure that her kids were her number one priority. Despite this, she admitted it’s hard to keep everything together, stating: “Regardless of what industry you work in, as a working mom, it’s hard to keep it all balanced, I always make sure my kids are number one, and if they have something important, a recital, game, etc., and I have a meeting, I will try and change my meeting.”
Richards has always had a strong head on her shoulders, despite having a highly publicized Hollywood marriage and career, which can often take its toll on celebrities. She admitted that she has stayed grounded from her humble beginnings. She explained, “Everyone in Downers Grove and in Mokena, in the Chicago and the Midwestern area, is very grounded and genuine. It’s about family. My parents didn’t have a lot of money, so we found ways to entertain ourselves. My mom made dinner every night.”
Watching Out For Dad
Denise’s widowed father Irv had appeared on her reality show and expressed how he wanted to find love again, years after the death of his wife, Joni. Irv appeared on reality show Millionaire Matchmaker in an attempt to find a partner but nothing materialized. However, later on it was revealed that Irv was engaged after meeting a women on a dating website. Denise didn’t sound too thrilled about the prospect and said, “I think he could have maybe waited a little longer, but whatever.”
Saying It All
In 2009, Denise was photographed at the park with her two daughters Sam and Lola, and after pictures were published online, Richards was subjected to Internet trolls. Social media users accused her of glorifying her family life while her ex-husband’s was falling apart. After becoming infuriated by people’s comments, Denise took to her Twitter to hit back and defend her position of spending quality time with her daughter. However, she also promised “one day…I will spill my guts about EVERYTHING.”
In 2014, Denise and ex Charlie’s relationship had taken yet another hit after Sheen became engaged to his adult film star fianceé Brett Rossi. As a condition of their engagement, Rossi had allegedly given Sheen an ultimatum to cut all ties with ex-wife Richards, despite the fact they had two daughters together. It was reported that Charlie accepted Rossi’s demands and completely removed Richards from his life. Denise was said to have been banned from entering the couple’s home at any time.
In 2017, after staying out of the media for a while, Denise was spotted with a mystery man on a date at the Malibu Chili Cook-off. Denise had not been on the dating scene in a while and admitted that she was focusing on herself and her family so when the paparazzi photos were published, everyone wanted to know who her new man was. However, due to her past relationships, it is no surprise that she hasn’t commented on it and wants to keep it under wraps.
Denise Moves On
In recent years, Denise has channeled her energy into doing something she is passionate about, working with animal rights charities and caring for her daughters. She has been laying low in the public eye and her career, focusing on herself and her family. The actress is worth an estimated $12 million, so working to live isn’t a worry for her. Through the trials and tribulations of her tumultuous relationships, Denise has appeared to come out on top as a strong, independent woman.