When they split up in 2005, Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen began a very public and very contentious divorce process. Richards was six months pregnant with their second child when she filed for divorce. And while she has acknowledged that it was a difficult thing to do, in a new interview, she opened up about the moment that she realized she couldn’t stay married to Sheen.
Now, the exes are in a better, friendlier place. In her interview with the podcast Divorced Not Dead, Richards spoke candidly about their past issues and the effect their relationship has had on their daughters. Read on to see what Richards had to say about deciding to end things.
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Richards (then known primarily as an actor who had appeared in movies including The World Is Not Enough and Wild Things) and Sheen got married in June 2002, after less than a year together, as reported by People. In March 2004, they welcomed their first daughter, Sam Sheennow 18. Then, in March 2005, Richards filed for divorce while she was six months pregnant with their second daughter, Lola Sheenwho is now 17. Their marriage was officially over in 2006.
Still, the proceedings went on for quite some time, since the custody agreement for their children also had to be finalized. At one point, a judge ordered that Sheen stay at least 300 feet away from Richards after she alleged that the Two and a Half Men star threatened to kill her. Sheen denied the claim, as reported by People.
In her Aug. 10 podcast interview, Richards said that “many things” led her to divorce Sheen, but that there was one moment that made her realize that she had to do it.
“I said to myself, ‘Would I want my daughters to be married to this man?'” the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star recalled. “No offense to him, but it’s true. And I think he would take that, he would understand what I’m saying. And that’s when I was like, ‘Well, why am I accept this?'”
In addition to Richards’ claims that Sheen threatened her, Sheen has also been open about his struggles with substance abuse.
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Richards explained that she pretended that she was happy in the lead-up to their split.
“It’s very funny, because a lot of people think on the outside, things are great,” she said. “I filed for divorce—I’ll never forget this—probably less than a week after we were at the SAG [Screen Actors Guild] awards, I believe, an award show.” She said that it’s not uncommon for couples to get into arguments on the way to award shows and then pretend that nothing is wrong once they arrive on the red carpet. “That was our last red carpet. as a couple … You have to put on the facade when you’re at an award show,” she said.
Richards continued, “Theres a lot that the public doesn’t know, and you never know what goes on behind closed doors, so it was not a good situation.”
Richards shared that she tried to protect Sam and Lola from the struggles she was experiencing with their father as they were growing up. In addition to her two daughters with Sheen, Richards also has an adopted daughter, Eloise Richardswho is 11.
“I never wanted the girls to—and I don’t know, maybe I did them a disservice. I’m not sure, and there’s really no handbook for this, especially when you’re in the public too, and you have to deal with all this crap. But I never wanted them to sense any discord between us, because I didn’t want them to feel unsettled,” the Drop Dead Gorgeous star said.
She explained that she lied on Sheen’s behalf, too. “I did shelter them a lot, and then they would start to get to an age where ‘so and so said this,’ and I lied my [expletive] off and covered for him.” she said. “Now as they’re starting to get older, they’re more aware of more things. That’s why I say I don’t know if I did them a disservice when they were younger.”
Richards is now married to Aaron Phypers, and she and Sheen have gone through some dark times. But she said in the podcast that, when it comes down to it, Sheen knows he can always turn to her for support. Even though they fed publicly just recently.
“To this day, Charlie does know he can call me at any time, no matter what,” she said. “I don’t care what he says or does, I will show up and be there. Because I always wanted him—and still do—to be the best dad for our daughters.”