Denise Richards' Daughter Eloise, 9, Recently Said 'Dad' for the 'First Time': 'Greatest Gift'

Denise Richards' youngest daughter, Eloise, has a chromosomal disorder that "has caused a lot of developmental delays," the RHOBH star told PEOPLE in 2019

One month before Father's Day, Denise Richards and Aaron Phypers' daughter gave them "the greatest gift."

On Sunday, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star praised her husband, with whom she shares 9-year-old Eloise, in a loving tribute on Instagram. (Richards adopted Eloise in 2011; she is also mom to daughters Lola Rose, 15, and Sam, 16, with ex-husband Charlie Sheen.)

"Happy Father's Day to my beautiful husband I can't imagine a better father for our Eloise & step father for sami & lola. I love you so much," Richards, 49, wrote on Instagram.

She went on to reveal that Eloise, who has special needs, said the word "dad" for the first time last month. "And the greatest gift Eloise being able to say 'dad' for the first time a month ago🙏🏻❤️," wrote the reality star.

Denise Richards
Eloise Richards and Aaron Phypers. Denise Richards/Instagram

The post also included photos of Richards, Phypers and her daughters, as well as throwback photos from her own childhood featuring her father, Irv Richards.

"Happy Father's Day to my dad you are the best dad ever," she wrote about her dad. "Thank you for always being there & being an amazing role model. I love you so much."

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Denise Richards
Denise Richards with her daughters. Denise Richards/Instagram
Denise Richards
Denise Richards as a child with her father and sister. Denise Richards/Instagram
Denise Richards
Denise Richards as a child with her father. Denise Richards/Instagram

In February 2019, Richards opened up to PEOPLE about raising her daughters — "I'm most proud of raising my kids, especially in a time that is very different from how I was raised," she said — as well as the unique set of challenges she has with Eloise.

A chromosomal disorder "has caused a lot of developmental delays for her," explained Richards, who first noticed that Eloise wasn't reaching typical milestones for babies.

"She wasn't able to sit up on her own for a very long time, and she didn't start walking until she was 2, and that was with physical therapy," she said.

Eloise was diagnosed with a deletion in chromosome 8 more than three years ago — but Richards is still navigating the best courses of care for her child.

"She can only say a handful of words," said the Bravo star, who married Phypers in September 2018. (Richards revealed last May that Phypers, 47, was also adopting Eloise.)

Denise Richards
Denise Richards' daughters. Denise Richards/Instagram

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"There are times when she feels like her age in understanding, and then other times where it feels she's emotionally 3 years old. It's been challenging," Richards shared. "I'm learning every day because they don't really have a road map for her particular case."

But the mother of three is remaining optimistic. "Every child is different," she said. "You take care of your children no matter what is going on with them."

"I don't know if [Eloise] is ever going to talk like a typical child. But as a parent, you want what's best for your children, and you just do it," the star added.

In addition to Eloise making progress with her speech, Richards also celebrated her youngest's ninth birthday last month alongside a smiley photo of her daughter in front of her cake.

"Our Eloise turned 9 yesterday ... happy birthday sweet angel," the Wild Things actress wrote on Instagram alongside the snapshot of Eloise. "We love you so much ❤️."

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