The Untold Truth Of Denise Richards

Denise Richards has been part of the Hollywood scene for decades. After traveling the world as a teen model in the late 1980s, the leggy blonde with the permanent smile turned to acting. In 1991, Richards appeared on "Doogie Howser, M.D." in an episode called "Doogstruck" in which Doogie (Neil Patrick Harris) interviews her character as "a potential girlfriend candidate." This bit part was among the aspiring thespian's early television roles. Around that time, she also appeared on such small screen hits as "Melrose Place," "Beverly Hills, 90210," "Seinfeld," and "Saved by the Bell."

Eventually, Richards moved on to the big screen. In 1997, her turn as Carmen Ibanez, an Argentinean fleet captain in Paul Verhoeven's sci-fi flick, "Starship Troopers," helped prove that she is, indeed, movie star material. The following year, she nabbed the juicy role of Kelly Van Ryan alongside Neve Campbell, Matt Dillon, and Kevin Bacon in "Wild Things," and since then, Richards has acted in all kinds of films and television shows, some roles more celebrated than others.

With all that in mind, consider how Denise Richards continues to experience high drama — one way or another — as she goes through the paces of her glamorous Hollywood life. This is her untold truth.

Denise Richards was just a small town girl, growing up in the Midwest

Denise Richards had a pretty chill childhood, far away from Hollywood's prying eyes. She grew up in a Chicago suburb, where her mom, Joni, owned a coffee shop and her dad, Irv, worked as a telephone engineer, according to The Washington Post. The outlet said that her father grew "tired of climbing power poles in the frigid Illinois winter and simply longed for a locale with a more pleasant climate." 

Enter Oceanside, a sunny Southern California city almost 80 miles from downtown Los Angeles where Richards lived beginning at age 15. Not long after arriving, the lanky beauty was spotted by a talent scout, and so she began pursuing a modeling career, reports The Washington Post, who added that Richards was highly successful in this endeavor.

However glamorous that life had been, what this young woman really wanted to do was act. When Richards' dad learned of these plans, he went so far as to cite the Screen Actors Guild's "statistics of actors and ... saw how many don't work." She shot back, "I promise I'm going to be one of the ones who work." And so, being as good as her word, Denise Richards started making a living as an actor.

Denise Richards was cast as a Bond girl opposite Pierce Brosnan's 007

With her full lips and long luscious locks, Denise Richards was a shoo-in to become a Bond girl. However, after playing gritty and brainy Dr. Christmas Jones opposite suave and irrepressible Pierce Brosnan in 1999's "The World Is Not Enough," she won a Worst Supporting Actress Razzie Award for her efforts. This type of negative criticism was really hard on Richards who was, err, razz-ied for "wearing skimpy attire" in her role. She told The Washington Post, "I was so crushed. But I was thinking, I'm a Bond girl playing a scientist. Would they want me wearing a lab coat and dressed conservatively? It's tongue-in-cheek."

"I try to block out a lot of stuff, but I'm also human. I've had to develop a very, very thick skin over the years," Richards also explained to The Washington Post. Carrying around that much armor while still possessing a healthy dose of eternal optimism helped this star get over that early career bump. Indeed, after appearing in "The World Is Not Enough," the actor shamed for her work went on to book many more roles on both the big and the small screens. Doing so proved that this acting thing was not just a part-time gig for Denise Richards — she'd become fully ensconced in a successful Hollywood career; a career that often comes with more highs and lows than the most insane roller coaster.

Denise Richards played Monica's comely cousin on Friends

On April 19, 2001, Denise Richards appeared on "Friends, playing the role of Monica and Ross's cousin, Cassie Geller. The actor appeared in the popular sitcom's episode entitled — you guessed it — "The one with Ross and Monica's cousin,"  where the former model had been cast as a gorgeous woman. She mesmerized Chandler at first glance when she shook out her long, luscious hair in what he perceived to be done in slow motion. She also bedazzled cousin Ross, who actually attempted to kiss her while they were watching a movie on his couch. Even Phoebe was immediately enchanted by this young woman when, upon meeting her, the "Friends" regular said to herself, "Ask her out. She's not your cousin." There was no way around it: Cassie Geller was a vixen. 

That was all fine and good for this particular gig, but Richards preferred to be viewed as more than just a "sex symbol," stating that this particular status had kept her from landing certain roles. As Richards told Smashing Interviews Magazine, "I couldn't get cast as 'the girl next door' even though that was how I always saw myself."

Denise Richards posed nude for Playboy

For the December 2004 issue of "Playboy," Denise Richards stripped only five months after giving birth. She sat down on NBC's  "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" to talk about the "Playboy" shoot, which took place in the Bahamas. For the trip, she was accompanied by her parents and her new baby. So, did the whole family watch as nearly naked Denise posed for those infamous pictures? No, and as Richards told Leno, "They were at the pool."

Also during their television confab, Richards admitted to her host that before she decided to pose for "Playboy," the magazine had asked her to do so a number of times. She had previously turned them down but finally decided she should secure the gig, saying she did so "before they never approach[ed] me again." Richards also told Leno about the time when they were young that she and her sister discovered some issues of "Playboy" belonging to their father. After leafing through the magazines, the girls' initial thought was that their dad planned to divorce their mother "to marry a playmate." And no, this did not happen.

Richards admitted to Redbook that for "Playboy" she "was selling a sexy image." However, her at-home persona is quite the opposite. "...I don't think of myself as sexy," she said before giving graphic examples of what happens in her real life. "I scoop up dog poop and clean up my kids' vomit when they're sick," she explained.

Denise Richards married Charlie Sheen, a dream-turned-nightmare

Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen were both given small parts in 1993's "Loaded Weapon 1," but they did not appear in any of the same scenes. That synchronicity happened eight years before they formally met on the set of the romantic comedy, "Good Advice," and once again when she guest-starred on "Spin City," reports Showbiz Cheatsheet. Their time making the movie and sharing the spotlight on the television show created a love match for the pair. In fact, when she married Sheen, Richards felt as if she had found her "soul mate," something that she wrote about in her memoir, "The Real Girl Next Door." 

"At the time, [Sheen] was sober and Richards chose to believe he'd changed from his hedonistic past," reports The Washington Post. Unfortunately, that status didn't appear to last because, by the time they had been wed for three years, the good part of their union had completely unraveled. Sadly, the man she once considered to be her ideal partner turned out to be quite the opposite. As she wrote in her memoir, "the bottom dropped out of that fantasy. Dolly Parton once said, 'If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain,' and let me tell you, there were times it felt like torrential downpours." 

After much thought, Richards finally admitted that her marriage to Sheen had become an irretrievable train wreck with which she could no longer cope.

Denise Richards' divorce from Charlie Sheen was complicated

Denise Richards dubbed the period of time when she called it quits with Charlie Sheen as "toxic." Not only was her marriage kaput, but she was six months pregnant with the couple's second daughter when she filed for dissolution, per People. Richards made this drastic move "while Sheen was in the midst of a drug and alcohol relapse," reported the outlet. "When I got pregnant with Lola, things started to change rapidly. It was a very dark time," she said during a confessional on "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" (via People).

Richards talked openly about her split from Sheen. "It was hard for me to comprehend that my public divorce affected my work," she told the outlet, adding, "I didn't understand it at that time because I thought, 'How come? That's my private life. It shouldn't affect my work.' But it did."

The actor, who had wed Sheen in 2002, started divorce proceedings three years later. However, this high-profile uncoupling became more complicated after the final decree was granted. According to The Blast, the situation continued to be worked out through at least 2019. At that point, Richards claimed her ex "owe[d] her almost half a million dollars" in back child support. She figured Sheen had been "hiding the money to avoid paying up."

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Denise Richards commanded her own E! show

Before appearing on "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," Denise Richards put her life on blast via "Denise Richards: It's Complicated." The E! reality show's premiere bowed in 2008 to focus on the actor following her divorce from Charlie Sheen. Her dad, Irv, who had recently become a widow, lived with his daughter and her daughters. As the episode commenced, Richards' close confidants felt their famous friend needed to start dating again. Complaining that she hates the entire process, after much urging, the newly single star went on one fix-up. It was a dud. 

In a subsequent episode, Denise's dad noticed that his daughter's swearing was getting out of hand. To try to break her of the bad habit, the concerned father and his foul-mouthed daughter made a pact that each time she swore, the shoe-aholic would donate a pair of designer footwear to the Goodwill. Many pairs were dropped off there.

Throughout each "It's Complicated" episode, Richards showed how different she was when compared to the person the tabloids tended to write about. To "set the record straight," the star invited a Redbook journalist to her home for an interview. The actor told the outlet she decided to do her reality show because her mom had wanted the world to get to know the real Denise Richards. This meant discussing everything, including the particulars about her relationship with Richie Sambora, Heather Locklear's ex-husband. Keep reading for more on that hot topic. 

Denise Richards dated more than one rock star

After her divorce from Charlie Sheen, Denise Richards dated Bon Jovi's lead guitarist, Richie Sambora, for about a year starting in April 2006, People reported. Although rumor had it that she broke up her friend Heather Locklear's marriage to the rock star, Richards made it clear to Redbook that at the time, Sambora was on the road to divorce just like she was. "I was no longer friends with Heather months before Richie and I got together," she told the outlet, emphasizing that she "didn't have an affair with him... In the beginning Richie and I just talked as friends because we were dealing with similar situations. We never planned for anything to happen." 

Richards readily owned up to "the repercussions" regarding her time with Sambora. "I get why the public thinks I'm an awful person who stole someone's husband," she admitted to Redbook, adding, "... in my heart, I know I did not break up their marriage. If either Richie or I had felt our marriages were fixable, we wouldn't have crossed that line." As for how she felt when she dated him? "Being with Richie... brought a sense of happiness to my home that hadn't been there in a long time." 

Richards has a history of dating rock stars. Besides dating Sambora, she also dated Mötley Crüe's bassist, Nikki Sixx, who is her neighbor. The casual liaison only lasted "a few weeks," reports Rolling Stone.

Denise Richards is a big animal advocate

A quick scroll through Denise Richards' Instagram proves that pets are a cherished part of this actor's household. She is often seen holding one dog or another, many of whom she fosters as a way to be sure those puppies won't be euthanized. According to WebMD, Los Angeles' area shelters know to call on Richards in order to save these furry fellows.

Meanwhile, dogs aren't the only pets living under Richards' expansive roof. On the first episode of her E! reality show, "Denise Richards: It's Complicated," the actor introduced her other animals, including several cats and a few pigs. All have the run of the house, with accidents being a regular occurrence. 

Meanwhile, if they want, the dogs can retreat to their own room "in a space so cushy it would make most mutts — and even a few humans — green with envy. In fact, the number of dogs in Richards' home is irrelevant. From her point of view, the more, the better," asserts WebMD. The actor said she had her garage transformed expressly for the family's canine members. "Everyone who sees my dog room wants to come back as one of my dogs," Richards points out. As an added treat, this dog lover pipes in their favorite music genre, which is reportedly classical, and when anyone isn't feeling well, she cooks them "pumpkin with rice and chicken." Say pretty pampered pooches six times fast!

Did Denise Richards have an affair with Brandi Glanville?

In 2019 when she appeared on "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," Denise Richards may or may not have had an affair with Brandi Glanville. Ultimately, the real scoop regarding Richards and Glanville was never settled, let alone confirmed. Still, the rumor mill continued to go on about this situation for what seemed like forever. 

At one point, the Daily Mail stepped in to try and sort out the matter. The outlet claimed that a source said the two had been an item for the first half of 2019 and that Richards told Glanville that she and "husband Aaron Phypers were in an open marriage." Not so, says Charlie Sheen's ex. "If I had an open marriage, I would be open about it," Richards cheekily told The Washington Post

None of this back and forth quieted the salacious discussion. In fact, a good 'ole Twitter war broke out, with Glanville saying her fellow "RHOBH"-ite lied after insisting the two never hooked up. Glanville also said she met with Richards and Phypers, during which time the women discussed their threesome experiences, according to Daily Mail. Richards didn't weigh in on those allegations, but she emphatically told The Washington Post that she "did not have an affair" with Glanville. Richards also did not stay on "RHOBH." After Season 10, the actor called it quits, and since then, the incessant Glanville/Richards chatter has quieted down. Well, a little, anyway.

Denise Richards married Aaron Phypers as the RHOBH cameras rolled

Denise Richards married Aaron Phypers on September 8, 2018, with the wedding airing on Season 9 of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." This was apparently a rush-rush affair. In fact, Richards' only had just two weeks to plan and execute the special occasion while her dress designer, Mark Zunino, was only allotted 24 hours to come up with her strapless, high-low romper ensemble, reported ET. The bride talked about her very special fashion statement on the Bravo TV site, saying, "I really wanted something relaxed, beachy, and authentic to who I am, plus I felt [the romper] was more appropriate [for] riding off after the wedding on Aaron's motorcycle with the 'Just Married' [sign] on the back, of course!"

When Richards walked down the aisle during her outdoor wedding held at Malibu's Cypress Sea Cove, the music playing was Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters." Richards wrote that she was not alone as she headed toward the official who would make this union legal. Instead, she took the meaningful saunter alongside her three daughters and her future husband. After that, the soon-to-be-wed pair stood oceanside while in front of a massive floral display in the shape of the infinity symbol and said their vows, cementing the legal culmination of this particular love match.

Denise Richards put off an important surgery

Denise Richards ignored her symptoms before ultimately needing to have four hernias surgically removed in 2019. "I waited way too long [and] didn't even tell my husband how bad I was feeling (I know it was stupid)," she wrote on Instagram on December 17, 2019, adding, "Gotta always listen to our bodies [and] take care of ourselves."  

In April 2020, Richards shared the painful experience on Bravo's "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," as well as on another Instagram post. Accompanying the latter was a picture of the star, who was wearing a hospital gown and sunglasses as she sat on the end of a hospital bed. Richards wrote that she felt "very vulnerable" being filmed both before and after the procedure, but she also emphasized the importance of paying attention to any untoward symptoms. After that, she admitted that she had learned a "big lesson" from the experience, saying that this was her "wake up call." 

Women's Health explained that hernia symptoms are different for each individual and that they typically depend on where on the body the hernia occurs. The outlet summarized that hernias are often accompanied by "sudden pain" in the hernia's location. In addition, "stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting" are all symptoms of this particular malady,

Denise Richards became an author with The Real Girl Next Door

Denise Richards spilled her life's story when writing "The Real Girl Next Door," published in 2011. The reason she wrote her autobiography was because this Midwestern girl with her Midwestern values wanted to show how people "going through difficult times '[will] have hope that [they] can get to the other side.'" They can do so just as she did after she 'hit rock bottom'" following her split from husband Charlie Sheen, according to Richards who shared her thoughts with Matt Lauer during a "Today" show chat (via HuffPost).

During their on-air discussion, Richards made it known that, in her time, she did not skirt the big issues concerning what HuffPost dubbed "her tumultuous life." In fact, the actor wrote candidly about what happened with her ex-husband and the subsequent downfall of their union. Richards stressed that Sheen had changed. "The man I fell in love with is very compassionate, humble, has a wonderful heart." In contrast, she said Sheen's behavior in the last six months of their marriage "is not the person that I met and fell in love with."  

Still, the author did not use this particular platform for the sake of "bashing" her ex. She submitted, "I still care for him very much and want him well... he's a survivor and if anyone can pull themselves together, it's Charlie." 

What is Denise Richards' net worth?

Largely as a result of her ability to constantly keep working in her field — as an actor, as a voice actor, and as a producer — no matter what she had going on in her personal life, Denise Richards' fortune grew. By November 16, 2020, her net worth was approximately $12 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

Richards' wealth was greatly helped by her participation on "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." Richards was paid a million dollars per season, reports Just Richest. In contrast, the outlet claims that Lisa Vanderpump earned the same amount per season for her work on the reality show while Kim Richards (no relation to Denise) takes home $100,000 for each season of the program on which she is featured. 

As for her time on "RHOBH"? Richards, who earned a healthy paycheck, let her true personality shine through, sometimes even to her detriment. "My openness definitely bit me in the a** a bit," Richards told The Washington Post, adding "I am who I am. People can believe whatever they want, but [her movie] 'Wild Things' was not a documentary."

Meanwhile, Richards continues to rake in the bucks as a regular cast member on "The Bold and the Beautiful." She has embodied Shauna Fulton on the CBS soap opera since 2019, reports Celebrity Net Worth.

Denise Richards is a devoted mom

In March 2021, Denise Richards told Hollywood Life that co-parenting their two daughters, Sam and Lola, with their dad, Charlie Sheen, was "getting along well." Meanwhile, her daughter Eloise, whom Richards adopted as an infant, "has a neurological condition" and so is "nonverbal," The Washington Post notes. However, the young girl still manages to say some words, and some are quite endearing, like the moment when she referred to Aaron Phypers after he adopted her as "Dad," reports Access Hollywood.

Not only has Richards been raising her own children, but in 2013, she was also granted temporary custody of Sheen's sons, per People. This situation happened after the boys' mom, Brooke Mueller, lost the twins when Los Angeles' Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) took them away due to her "erratic behavior." The arrangement lasted a few months until Richards gave up caregiving for the four-year-olds given the twins' capacity to display "extreme violent mood swings," as described in the actor's letter to DCFS (via Radar).

Richards explained to Extra how she approaches mentoring her own kids. She said, "I teach my daughters whatever it is they believe in, to believe in it and not be swayed by peer pressure or what others might think of them, and to stand strong in that, and it's okay if there are differences. That's what's really great about our world, even though someone might have a different opinion, you still need to respect their opinion, respect who they are."