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Denise Richards said she "always did whatever I could to hide Charlie's behavior" from their daughters

By Natalie Stone
Updated May 20, 2020 07:00 PM
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Denise Richards Charlie Sheen daughters
Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen with daughters Lola and Sami

Denise Richards is recalling the final days of her marriage to Charlie Sheen — a time she remembers as being "very dark" and "toxic."

During Wednesday's episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, the Wild Things actress opened up about parenting her two teenage daughters — Sami, 15, and Lola, 14 — with the Two and a Half Men star. (Denise, who is now married to Aaron Phypers, adopted daughter Eloise, 8, in 2011.)

On the episode, Denise's hairstylist, Laura, came over to help Sami get "homecoming ready" and color the high schooler's long locks, which had previously been dyed a "magenta" hue.

"Last year, Sami went to her first homecoming dance with a group of friends, which was a big deal for me to wrap my head around," Denise explained in a confessional. "And this year, she has a date with a boy that she likes very much, so it's a little different too."

Prior to Laura doing a test strand on Sami's hair to see how new pink color would turn out, Sami showed a photo of how dark her mane had been.

"She didn't tell me, and I opened her bedroom door and her hair was bright pink," Denise explained to Laura, adding that "it's faded a lot."

Denise Richards
Denise Richards with daughters Sami, Eloise and Lola
| Credit: Denise Richards/Instagram

In a confessional, Denise admitted, "I am struggling with parenting right now with my teenagers."

"Sami I think sometimes, she does things hoping to get a reaction out of me. It's not easy," Denise continued.  "A lot of people have an impression of me being wild and crazy, but Charlie was sober when we got married, so we were not this swinging couple that people might assume. We weren't."

Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen
Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen
| Credit: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Denise and Charlie, 54, first met while shooting the movie Good Advice in 2000, but it wasn’t until the actress guest-starred on Charlie’s former sitcom Spin City in the fall of 2001 that a romance began to blossom. They married in June 2002.

But by March 2005, it was over, with Denise filing for divorce while Charlie was in the midst of a drug and alcohol relapse.

On RHOBH, Denise recalled her decision to end the marriage while she was six months pregnant with Lola.

"When I got pregnant with Lola, things started to change rapidly. It was a very dark time and very toxic," Denise said in the confessional. "And I filed for divorce when I was six months pregnant with her."

She added: "I always did whatever I could to hide Charlie's behavior."

"How do you tell kids what's really going on? I would say, 'Dad had to go to work, but he loves you so much. He wants to be here for you girls,' " said Denise. (As fans will remember, it a very public and contentious divorce — one that only got worse after Charlie relapsed on drugs and alcohol, going on bizarre rants about tiger’s blood and “winning.”)

Before talking about hairstyles for the dance, Denise asked Sami to show Laura the four dresses that she ordered and had to choose from.

RELATED VIDEO: Denise Richards Shares How She Avoids ‘Judging’ Her Daughters’ Decisions

While Denise liked one of the "simple" options, Sami told her, "Mom, you act like I'm like 5 years old."

Sami then showed a blue mini one-shoulder dress, which Denise nixed. "Mmm, no. Maybe if you're 17 or 18."

"No, I read the reviews," said Sami.

"I read the reviews and it said —" said Sami.

"What did the reviews say?" asked Denise, with a laugh. "Moms approve?"

Denise Richards holiday card
Denise Richards and Aaron Phypers with her daughters
| Credit: Denise Richards/Instagram

Later in the episode, Denise arrived late to Erika Girardi's dinner party (where an astrologer gave readings to all of the ladies) after sending Sami to the high school dance.

While meeting Erika's husband Tom, to whom she said, "You're probably the only lawyer I love," Denise explained her tardiness.

"I'm so sorry, my daughter was going to homecoming with a date this year," explained Denise, who said of Sami's date: "He's very sweet."

"We had a little chat with him without my daughter there," she said.

Denise also explained to castmates Sutton Stracke, Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave, Garcelle Beauvais and Kyle Richards that "Sami, she's taller, and I was showing her how to move so that she's not as tall."

"He's a good boy," she added of her daughter's date.

But when Garcelle asked, "Do you think there'll be a kiss at the end of the night?" Denise gave a head tilt and said nothing.

Currently, Denise and Charlie are in the middle of a child support battle, but the mother of three doesn’t want their disagreements to negatively impact the relationship he has with their daughters.

On an episode of RHOBH that aired last month, Denise opened up about her problems with Charlie.

“There’s a lot that the kids don’t know about their dad and I want to keep it that way," she said then.

In spite of the ongoing drama that Denise has experienced with her ex, she’s chosen to not engage in negative commentary about the father of her two eldest daughters.

“Even though he’s Charlie Sheen, that is still to them their dad,” she continued. “I never talk badly about him and I want him to be part of their lives because I met a lot of the women that Charlie entertained and a lot of them had father-daughter issues. And I do not want that to be our girls.”

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.