It’s been 14 years since her exceedingly public divorce from Charlie Sheen, but Denise Richards says she has no regrets about their union — or the subsequent drama she dealt with for nearly a decade.
“I was never bitter about my divorce,” says Richards, who split from Sheen when she was six months pregnant with their second daughter Lola, now 13. (Their daughter Sam is 14, and Richards is also mom to 7-year-old Eloise, whom she adopted as a single mom in 2011).
“Going through everything, it changed me,” she adds. “But I love life and I’m a glass-half-full kind of person. And I did my best to rise above it.”
Still, Richards, 47, admits that being pulled into a difficult time in Sheen’s life (he was open about a drug and alcohol relapse and went on bizarre rants about tiger’s blood and winning) was “extremely disheartening.”
“Times were extremely negative and I would have to tell myself, this too shall pass,” she says.
Now, the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star is happily remarried to wellness practitioner Aaron Phypers, whom she met in 2017 and wed last September. And she’s grateful for the lessons she’s learned in life and love.
“We have an amazing relationship,” Richards says of Phypers. “We love each other for who we are and we don’t judge each other. And for him to embrace a single woman with [three] daughters and an ex-husband with a wonderfully colorful past, it’s a lot. That made me fall in love with him even more.
Phypers “is amazing with the girls,” she adds. “He’s such a great stepdad, and they’re close to him.”
When it comes to Sheen now, Richards says despite their once contentious relationship, she is supportive of her ex, who is now sober, as well as his connection with their daughters.
“I’m supportive of the girls having a relationship with their dad,” she says. “Whatever is going on with a couple, the children should not be privy to it. Obviously, there are times when emotions might flare up. But we’re human beings and we make mistakes. I know that when someone is struggling with addiction, sometimes choices are made that are not in the best judgment, and I have empathy for that. I want Charlie to be the best person and father he can be.”
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Richards was by Sheen’s side when he learned of his HIV-positive diagnosis in 2011 (he went public with it in 2015), and when Sheen’s ex-wife Brooke Mueller was in rehab in 2013, Richards took care of Bob and Max, Sheen’s now 9-year-old twin boys with Mueller.
“No matter what happens, Charlie can call me at any point,” Richards says. “I don’t see our relationship as a failure. It’s a journey. It went a different way than we anticipated, but that’s okay. And I will always be a good friend to him.”