Denise Lee Richards (born February 17, 1971) is an American actress and former fashion model. She came to fame in the late 1990s, after a string of films that highlighted her sex appeal, including Wild Things and The World Is Not Enough. Richards is also known for her marriage to (and divorce from) actor Charlie Sheen.
Richards was born in Downers Grove, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, to Irving Richards, who used to work for a phone company, and Joni, who owns a chain of coffeehouses named "Jitters". She is of Welsh descent on her father's side and of Croatian descent on her mother's, and was raised a Catholic. Richards moved to California with her family when she was 14 and graduated from El Camino High School in Oceanside, California, where she became a cheerleader.
Before she was an actress, Richards was a fashion model. Richards spent the majority of the 1990s appearing in lower-budget films, television movies, and guest starring in episodes of several television shows. Her first starring role in a wide theatrical release was Starship Troopers in 1997, which was followed by her role in the moderately successful cult film Wild Things in 1998. Richards was subsequently cast as Dr. Christmas Jones in the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough (1999), which had a high box office gross and contributed to Richards' renown. In addition to her film work, Richards has made regular appearances in the situation comedies Spin City, Two and a Half Men, Friends and Seinfeld. She also starred in the short-lived UPN series Sex, Love & Secrets in 2005. Throughout the early 2000s, Richards appeared in several film roles which both parodied and utilized her image as a sex symbol, including Valentine, Undercover Brother and Scary Movie 3. In December of 2004, she posed in a nude pictorial for Playboy magazine.
Richards has dated actor Patrick Muldoon. In 2002, she married actor Charlie Sheen, with whom she appeared in Scary Movie 3, where she played his character's dying wife. The couple have two daughters: Sam J, who was born on March 9, 2004, and Lola Rose, who was born on June 1, 2005. Richards was named the Sexiest Mom of 2005 by In Touch Weekly magazine.
In March of 2005, Richards filed for divorce from Sheen. The couple briefly reconciled and were seeking marriage counseling to mend their relationship. However, on January 4, 2006, Richards' representative announced that she was continuing with the divorce, and she has recently sought a restraining order against Sheen, citing his use of death threats against her.She has since been linked to actor John Stamos, whom she dated during her teenage years.
On April 25, 2006, it was reported that Richards is romantically involved with Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora who recently separated from Heather Locklear.