The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills world is about to get a little bit bigger for season 9, premiering Tuesday, February 12. Following the transitional season of last year — fare thee well, Eileen Davidson, hello Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave — RHOBH is officially adding some new star power to the screen: actress and former tabloid staple Denise Richards.
As the Beverly Hills women will quickly and repeatedly mention in the 2019 premiere “Lucy Lucy Apple Juicy” Richards was famously married to controversial celebrity Charlie Sheen, who had a very public meltdown in 2011. However, by the time Sheen had revealed his boss Chuck Lorre’s phone number on live radio or spouted theories about “tiger blood” and “#Winning” on 20/20, Richards and her ex-husband had long been divorced. Their four-year marriage ended in 2006.
As we enter RHOBH season 9 and get to know Richards as a Housewife, we should look past the Bravolebrity’s old relationships. After all, the new reality star, who enters the Beverly Hills scene through longtime friend Lisa Rinna, is more than a celebrity ex. She’s a model, former Bond actress, the star of an iconic horny late '90s film, and a mom. So, you probably have a lot of questions about Richards’ long career and her life outside of her most infamous coupling. Thankfully, we answered them all. Keep reading to learn everything about Richards' modeling past, wild (things) film career, and new marriage.
How did Denise Richards actually get her start in Hollywood?
Richards, now 47, is a Chicago area native who entered showbiz through modeling as a teen after her family moved to California. Old school photos show her on the cover of ‘90s ‘Teen magazine and serving face for an old school Bonne Bell ad. However the best relic of Richards’ 1990s model past is this video titled “Modeling: What It Takes.” At one point in the instructional clip, Richards explains in voiceover which sounds are best to “express with the mouth” in modeling, whatever that exactly means. The recommended sounds are “Ooh,” “Aah,” “Wow!” and “Gee.”
Eventually Richards made the jump from listing three-letter words to the arena of acting. Her first credited role came in 1990 with a bit part in Midwest-set drama Life Goes On. The next year Richard picked up guest parts in an iconic trio: Saved by the Bell, Doogie Howser, M.D., and Married with Children. However she didn’t get a multi-episode TV arc until 1996, when she appeared in three installments of Melrose Place.
Melrose Place is also the show that helped push soap star and RHOBH pot-stirrer Lisa Rinna into the spotlight.
So is Melrose Place what made Richards famous?
Well, not exactly, but it did likely put Richards on many producers' radar. Just one year after the actress appeared on the iconic primetime soap, she got her breakout role in Starship Troopers, where she played pilot Carmen Ibanez. The next year, Richards cemented her place in the teen pop culture canon forever with 1999's Wild Things.
The late-90s flick — about an increasingly elaborate double crossing scheme involving two teen girls (Richards and Neve Campbell) and their guidance counselor (Matt Dillon) — features one of the most famous movie threesomes in history. The sex scene is so memorable, it’s used as a sexed-up touchstone in Hulu’s middle school-set Pen15, which takes place in 2000.
Since Starship and Wild Things solidified Richards as a '90s sex symbol, James Bond came knocking. The actress was tapped to be the “Bond girl” for the last Bond film of the 20th century, 1999’s The World Is Not Enough. She played Dr. Christmas Jones, a nuclear physicist with the world's silliest name. While many claimed someone who looks like Denise Richards could never also be a PhD, she and new RHOBH co-star Erika Jayne are poised to drag such limited thinking in season 9.
World is exactly two decades old — what has Richards been up to since then?
A lot. Richards has almost 95 credits to her name. Right now, five of those projects are either filming or in post-production. Some notable 21st century appearances include that Friends season 7 episode where Ross (David Schwimmer) had an unsettling crush on her character (who is his cousin). She also has a small part in Love Actually, a starring role in Undercover Brother, a few appearances on 30 Rock as herself, and a single-episode stint on Jane The Virgin as herself again.
Outside of acting, Richards was on the cover of Playboy and tried her hand at reality TV in the years following her breakup from Sheen. Her E! show, which ran from 2008 to 2009, was called Denise Richards: It's Complicated.
Since you brought up Charlie Sheen, what's been going on in Richards' private life since the divorce?
The actress permanently split from her headline-making ex when she was six-months pregnant with their second daughter, as Richards told People in February 2019. Lola, whom Richards was carrying at the time, is now 13; her older sister Sam is 14. Richards adopted her daughter Eloise, now 7 and diagnosed with chromosome-related special needs, as a single mom in 2011. When Sheen’s ex-wife Brooke Mueller was in rehab in 2013, Richards also took care of the twin boys they share, Bob and Max.
Over the last 13 years, Richards has fully moved on from Sheen and is married to Aaron Phypers, ex-husband of Desperate Housewives star Nicollette Sheridan. Fans will see the pair’s gorgeous September 2018 Malibu nuptials during this season of RHOBH. Now, we're all #winning.