The Incredible Story Of Heather Locklear

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Known for her roles on Melrose Place and Dynasty, Heather Locklear is one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood. But fame often extracts a toll from those in the limelight, and Heather has been no exception.

Price She’s Paid

While Heather may have been a Hollywood natural, easing into her career while she was still in university, it’s been a bumpy ride since then. Even though she’s earned accolades for her work, Hollywood’s left her struggling with her demons. This is her story.

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Blind Sided

While the seeds of the demons currently gnawing away at Heather Locklear were planted long ago, her problems really began when her second marriage to Richie Sambora began to break up. Though there had been rumors for months during the end of 2005, both Heather and Richie insisted their marriage was strong. While celebrities often present a united facade in public no matter the troubles beneath the surface, Richie was genuinely shocked when Heather blindsided him with a divorce filing. But how did they get there?

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The Photos She Found

It was the final straw for Heather. The day before she filed for divorce, she happened to find an email from a mutual friend of the couple, which included a number of scandalous photos. Richie insisted it was nothing, the woman had sent them unsolicited, but Heather still felt betrayed. A friend of theirs told People, “She’s devastated. Absolutely devastated.” Richie continued to insist that nothing had happened with the other woman, but finally, issues they’d been having for years came to light.

An Inauspicious Start

Heather’s marriages all had a theme to them. When she met Richie Sambora in 1994, she was fresh off the break up of her first marriage, to Mötley Crüe rockstar Tommy Lee. Rather than looking inward and healing herself, she dove headfirst into her relationship with Richie, whom she was introduced to through a mutual friend, but the relationship was difficult from the get go. Locklear and Sambora lived on opposite coasts, and their long distance courtship should have been a sign of what was to come.

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Poor Communication

Locklear didn’t even bother to call her husband before she filed for divorce. While couples often jointly decide to get a divorce, Sambora heard the news from a reporter just minutes before he was scheduled to perform with Bon Jovi. A country away from his wife in, Richie dismissed the reporter’s question as yet another rumor manufactured by the press. People reported, “Richie told one friend that if his marriage was on the rocks, it looked like he was the last to know.”

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The Question Of Children

So what was it that sowed the seeds of discontent between Locklear and Sambora? Though Locklear had already given birth to their daughter Ava in 1997, it seemed that Sambora wasn’t content with just one child. Friends leaked hints to the press in the early 2000s that the question of whether or not to have more children was a raging debate between the couple. Sambora told reporters that he wished another child was on the way, but Locklear “didn’t want to go through that again”.

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Taming The Rockers

Locklear’s attraction to rockstars seemed to have been a symbiotic draw, as she pulled them in and tamed their wild lifestyles. Or at least, that was the story with Richie Sambora. A friend of his shared,“He’d sown some wild oats in his day,” but when he met Locklear, he put those days behind him, and became utterly devoted to his family, even flying home for a day just to support his young daughter. What more could Locklear have asked for?

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Attracted To Tumult

Despite the outward similarities in Locklear’s choices of romantic partners, Sambora could not have been more different than her first husband, Tommy Lee. The two even had a rockstar beginning, meeting backstage at an REO Speedwagon concert. Lee was instantly smitten, to the point that Locklear once said, “Tommy doesn’t worship the devil,” laughed Locklear. “He worships me.” But such obsessions don’t last, despite the young Locklear’s assertion that “I’ve only thought of getting married once. I plan for this one to last.”

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Lee’s Obsession

Following Tommy Lee’s brief introduction to Locklear, he nearly stalked her by telephone, repeatedly calling Locklear’s manager in order to try and get in touch. Lee admitted, “I had called like a million times,” admits Tommy. “I wanted to send her flowers or invite her to something…anything just to talk to her.” Perhaps Locklear’s childhood insecurities had gotten the better of her, causing her to find Lee’s groveling flattering. But somehow, the pair connected, and Locklear agreed to date the bad boy.

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Dating In The Big Leagues

It’s not that Locklear had never dated famous stars before. In the early 80s, she was linked to a number of Hollywood men, including Scott Baio, Tom Cruise, and Mark Harmon. Following their break up, Harmon made a piercing observation about Locklear, one that should have foretold her future struggles. He said that Locklear was “an emotional cup of coffee”. But true to form, Tommy Lee couldn’t have cared less what others thought of Locklear, after all, there was a reason they’d broken up.

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Pulling Sandy

When Locklear met Lee, she was known as the innocent girl next door from Dynasty. As she recalled their first date, she shared that he looked so rock and roll, that she “ran back upstairs to make my hair wilder.” Locklear may have been able to make over her image, but keeping up with Mötley Crüe’s hard partying ways was a different animal all together. To her detriment, she still tried to keep up with the band, which would eventually take its toll on her psyche.

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Disaster On The High Seas

Tommy Lee’s easy charisma was a sharp contrast to the Tom Cruise’s awkward self involvement. Locklear’s romance with Cruise was incredibly short lived. She finally opened up about their relationship, sharing that their first date was such a disaster that it was also their last. She was put off by his dance moves, which were reminiscent of the dance he later did in Risky Business. “Do you dance around him?” she said. “It was weird. I just sat down.”

Locklear’s Early Defiance

Despite the picture she presented of being America’s sweetheart, with her big blue eyes and sweetly curled, blonde hair, Locklear had a defiant streak to her. When she was in her first year at University of California, Los Angeles, Locklear was in an acting class that required she recite a monologue to an audience made up of her classmates in order to pass the class. Despite her father being on staff at the university, Heather refused, taking an F, rather than giving in.

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Shocking Her Father

Though her parents may not have been ultimately surprised when one of their daughters brought home a tattoo covered rockstar, Tommy Lee was worried about their reaction to all of his ink. He recalled the first time he met Locklear’s parents, “I’m pulling earrings out, putting on a long-sleeve shirt, and when he comes in I’m sitting like a gentleman on the couch.” Though Locklear’s straight laced father seemed shocked at first, Lee managed to win him over quickly.

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Wild Wedding Antics

In an effort to match up with Lee’s ever more ridiculous antics, Locklear engaged in a bachelorette party centered around a theme of naughty items, both objects and clothing, for ladies. Lee still managed to one up her though, surrounding himself with a mud wrestling display, enacted by women who were only clad in bikinis. While Locklear might have laughed it off as fun at the time, after all they were both young at 24 and 23 respectively, it was a bad omen for the pair.

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The Early Seeds Of Her Jealousy

Locklear, it seems, didn’t always have any easy time with female friendships. In high school, she tried out for the cheerleading squad, but didn’t make the cut. Of course, with a successful Hollywood career under her belt, it seems that Locklear got the last laugh, since it was her rejection from the cheer leading squad that pushed her towards acting anyway. On the other hand, it was also Hollywood that coaxed out her darker side.

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Damage Control

Locklear’s marriage to Tommy Lee seemed to be characterized by her efforts to reel him back in whenever he was getting too out of control. Under her influence, Tommy Lee got some semblance of help for his various demons, but as much as Locklear wanted to play the “good girl” there was only so much she could take before she reached her breaking point. But with a flippant disregard for Locklear’s emotional needs, Tommy Lee doomed their marriage through infidelity.

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Why She Stayed

Heather muscled through her doomed marriage for 7 years before ultimately crumbling under the weight of her sadness. Years later, Heather finally discussed her marriage, she said staying with her careless and out of control first husband was the right thing to do. “I gave it my best shot,” she reflected in a later interview. “But when it was hurting more to be in than out, I had to do something. I was losing myself. I had to stop. I had to find myself again.”

Stabbed In The Back

Heather lost more than just her husband when she filed for divorce for the second time. Somehow, her marital split concurred around the same time as a feud began with her then-best friend, Denise Richards. The betrayal ran deep between the two beauties, with Locklear claiming that Richards was the only one of her friends who went to see Sambora play a local show with Bon Jovi. All of Locklear’s other friends stayed away from the show in support of Locklear.

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Too Much To Bear

Something didn’t quite add up in the feud between Locklear and Richards, but it was going to get far worse. The impact of losing both her husband and her best friend was too much for Locklear to handle emotionally, and she entered into a downward spiral that was only eased by psychiatric medication. By 2008, Locklear’s mood was severely destabilized, to the point that her doctor dispatched an emergency team to her house for evaluation, though once they arrived, they determined Locklear appeared “fine.”

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How She Handled Round One

Locklear’s first divorce didn’t trigger nearly the same reaction as the second, though she said she “was truly devastated”. Even harder to believe, Locklear said that after being with Tommy Lee, she felt like she was damaged goods, and no one would ever date her again. Of course, she proved to be completely wrong, as she met Richie only a few months later. But her second heartbreak, concurrent with her best friend’s betrayal, was too much for Locklear.

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The Nail In The Coffin

As if Locklear couldn’t feel worse, before her divorce was even finalized, Heather received the shock of her life when it was revealed that her ex-best friend was dating her soon to be ex-husband. Meanwhile, Denise Richards claimed that she only got involved with Sambora because her friendship to Locklear had already dissolved. Even if Richards thought the friendship was irreparable by that point, the new relationship was the nail in the coffin for Locklear.

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Denise’s Side

What horrible thing did Denise Richard’s claim Locklear did to ruin their friendship? According to some of their friends, Locklear supposedly hired Charlie Sheen’s lawyer when she decided to divorce Sambora, which Denise took as a slight given the messy divorce battle she was engaged in against Sheen. While she may have pretended her subsequent relationship with Sambora had nothing to do with Locklear, to an outsider, it certainly looked a lot like revenge, especially considering she was the lone friend to attend Sambora’s concert.

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The Necessity Of Healing

Locklear’s devastation came to a head in the middle of 2008. She had never stopped to take stock of herself, running straight from Sambora into the arms of another, just like she did following her divorce from Tommy Lee. In July 2008, Locklear checked herself into an in-patient hospitalization program in order to get her mental health under control. To the general public though, it looked as if Tommy Lee’s demons had been taken on by Locklear.

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Uncle Jesse’s Unimpressed

In 2015, John Stamos revealed to Howard Stern that Heather Locklear was among the gorgeous Hollywood women that he’d been involved with at some point or another. But their encounter soon soured as the two of them had met at a raging party, and both had consumed their fair share of alcohol. Stamos said he was still young during their encounter, and therefore accepted Heather’s offer to come to her room, but that it ended before it even began.

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Reckless Driving

Heather has had a number of driving incidents since her dark years began in 2008. Shortly after she was discharged from the treatment center she had been in, she was pulled over for erratic driving. To law enforcement officials, it seemed that Heather had turned to partying, but after her medical records were returned, the truth was far more tragic. It was concluded that Locklear’s driving was most likely impaired by the medication she was taking to control her depression and anxiety.

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An Ace Of Spades

The depths of Heather’s heartache wouldn’t catch up to her for another two years, partially because she buried her hurt by jumping into a relationship with the comedian David Spade. As recently as April 2017, TMZ caught up with Locklear and asked just how he managed to land so many attractive women. Heather’s responses were filled with a dry cynicism as she suggested that it was the combination of his sense of humor in addition to his physical assets.

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Behind The Scenes

A 2001 Redbook interview with Heather asserts that she is just as sweet as the rumors make her out to be and never has a bad thing to say about anyone, but while both Locklear and Richards kept the details of their feud to themselves, behind the scenes they were nearly at one another’s throats. In an alleged incident that Locklear still denies, reports say that Locklear parked outside of Richards’ home and blasted “Livin’ On A Prayer” on a boombox.

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She Hasn’t Recovered

It would seem that the girl next door from the 1980s primetime soap operas still hasn’t managed to recover from her string of heartbreaking relationships. At the end of 2016, Locklear reentered treatment to try and get a handle on her life. The spiral that began with her split from Sambora has waxed and waned, but ultimately, Locklear is still within its grasp. When she returned from her treatment, she issued a public statement that she was taking some time for herself, but it still wasn’t enough.

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Escaping The Cycle

Unfortunately for Heather, the toxic cycle that began with her marriage to Tommy Lee has just continued. Reports surfaced of a nasty fight with her current flame immediately prior to Locklear getting into a car accident this September, and it’s unclear how stable her mood is. But one thing is certain, her marriage to Richie Sambora may have been the one thing she shouldn’t have let go of, as he seemed to be the most solid relationship she ever had.

Heather Locklear at the Lakers game.

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