Speed Read

12 Stories From Denise Richards’ New Memoir

The juiciest bits from Denise Richards' new memoir, ‘Real Girl Next Door.’

Sonia Moskowitz / Globe Photos / ZUMAPRESS.com

On Modeling in Tokyo

Who said modeling was easy? Denise Richards started out her career working as a model. After graduating from high school, her agency sent her to Tokyo for two months. The apartment she was assigned to there had an infestation of cockroaches. Richards recalls: “It got worse when I turned on the lights. I saw hundreds of cockroaches run across the floor and the kitchen counters. They were in the drawers and cabinets, too. Scared and sick to my stomach, I grabbed the key and my purse and dashed out of the apartment” (page 38). Although she eventually grew more comfortable with working in the city, she became very ill toward the end of her stay. She wanted to check into the hospital, but one of the agency owners said it would sue her if she did not show up for work. Richards continued modeling with a terrible stomachache for the rest of the trip. She writes, “When I returned home, I weighed slightly more than ninety pounds … A trip to the doctor revealed that I had a parasite from the bad sushi. (I haven’t eaten raw fish since.)” (Page 40.)

On Refusing to Pose Nude

When modeling in Japan, Richards would not model underwear. She writes, “I refused any job that required me to pose in my bra and underwear, which infuriated the agency. I wasn’t altogether uncomfortable with my body, but I didn’t have a figure that allowed me to brim with self-confidence in all departments and being photographed in my underwear bothered me.” Later, while filming Starship Troopers, the film’s director, Paul Verhoeven, told Richards that he had written new scenes for her, including a love scene, which would require nudity. Despite the fact that this was only her first big-budget film, she said no. Richards writes, “I didn’t think it related to my character or the movie, which had more than enough going on between the action and the undercurrents of social and political commentary” (page 63).

On Making Out With Neve Campbell

She did not stay shy for long! Richards’ second big movie was Wild Things, which required her to appear nude and called for a lesbian kissing scene with Neve Campbell, as well as a threesome. Richard’s breasts became the focus of several storyboards, which were sent between her lawyer, the producers, and the director in order to determine how much would show. At first it was decided that only one would be filmed, though they eventually filmed both. Then, “the producers asked if I was okay French-kissing Neve on camera. Usually it’s that pretend movie kiss, but they wanted a kiss kiss. I thought, ‘Okay, I’m sure she has nice lips’ ” (page 65). In order to get ready to film their kissing scene, Richards writes that “Neve and I went into her trailer and shared a pitcher of margaritas before we did the scene. Neither of us had ever kissed another girl ... Everyone has a first time” (page 68).

On Her Lifelong Fear of Puking

Richards mentions numerous instances of her attempts to avoid vomiting. Eventually, she reveals that she suffers from a severe phobia of puking, which causes her to run out of a room if someone is the least bit sick. She says, “I was in my twenties before my mom explained that as a little girl I followed my dad into the bathroom while he was sick and saw him puke. I thought he was dying, she said, and it affected me for the rest of my life” (page 111). During her first pregnancy, this fear of vomiting caused her to stop eating salmon and broccoli, both of which made her nauseous. She now eats broccoli, but she has not touched salmon since (page 112).

On Her First Date With Charlie Sheen

After flirting heavily on the set of Spin City, Charlie Sheen invited Richards out to dinner as their first date. However, at the last minute he asked her if she wanted to eat dinner at his place so that they could watch the World Series. Instead of ordering out, they each ate their own plastic-wrapped, portion-controlled, low-calorie meals. At the end of the date, Richards recalls, “We had an awkward little moment by the door. I thought, is he going to kiss me? Do I make a move first? Do we not kiss at all? When he hesitated, I thought, screw it. I’ll be bold and make the first move—and so I planted one on him. It was spectacular. Definitely butterflies” (page 84).

On Tattoos

During his engagement to Richards, Sheen decided to surprise his fiancée and get a tattoo of her name. This especially surprised Richards because she thought he had been planning to get all of his older tattoos removed, including a tattoo of the letter “D” on his ankle, which is his first wife’s first initial. Showing her sense of humor, Richards joked, “He got lucky marrying two girls in a row with the same first initial” (page 98). After their marriage, Richards decided to follow suit and get a similar tattoo of Sheen’s name. Following the divorce, Richards “visited tattoo artist Kat Von D., who transformed the tattoo of Charlie’s name on my ankle into a beautiful, and feminine, fairy. It hurt like hell. But I expected as much. Changing your life, like a tattoo, isn’t easy—or without pain” (page 211).

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On Sheen’s Strangely Outfitted House

After the wedding, Richards moved into the house that had previously been Sheen’s bachelor pad. Even though it was decorated entirely in black, Richards felt “fine” about it. She quickly discovered that the home had some rather unusual amenities, “such as the bedroom door that was bulletproof. A fire pole was in the closet (which one of our cats fell through, but he was okay) in case a quick escape to the ground floor was necessary. And the house had a panic room” (page 102).

On Posing for Playboy

Eventually, Richards agreed to pose for Playboy. At first, the magazine suggested that Sheen take the photos himself, but he declined because he “couldn’t guarantee they would be in focus” (page 124). In the end, Sheen did not even accompany Richards to the Bahamas, where she posed for the photos. Instead, a bizarre entourage that included her hairdresser, her make-up artist, her baby, her mother, and her father accompanied her. When their plane finally landed in the Bahamas, Richards’ luggage did not arrive with it. Her mother remarked that Richards “was going to be naked the whole trip anyway and didn’t need clothes” (page 127). The shoot itself was done on a beach, and whenever tourist boats passed by, the photographer stopped, and Richards was covered up. Eventually, she realized the absurdity of this. “I thought, girl, there is going to be more than one boatload of people looking at you topless! I dropped the cover-up and said, ‘Let’s keep going.’ By the end, I felt good about the photo shoot” (page 129).

On Implants

Richards has openly discussed her breast implants. But few are aware of her decades-long odyssey it took to perfect them. Richards says she had been “a bit envious” of her sister’s C-cup since high school (page 229) After saving money from modeling early in her career, she decided to get small implants. Right before her surgery, she reminded the doctor, “Remember, I just want to be a little fuller. Not too big. A B-cup is fine” (page 231). But she woke up with a D-Cup. She lived with them for several years until the silicone in the implants hardened and needed to be replaced. This time, she instructed the doctor to shrink them, but he ended up giving her even larger implants. A few years later, she tried again, this time bringing a B-cup bra to show the doctor what size she wanted. These eventually ruptured, and she required a fourth surgery to fix them. Of the ordeal, she writes, “Now my breasts are the size and shape I wanted back when I was nineteen, though I wish I’d felt confident enough with my body to have never had surgery in the first place. It would’ve saved me a lot of pain and money” (page 235).

On the Incident at the Plaza

In October 2010, Richards took her daughters to New York to stay in the Eloise Suite at the Plaza Hotel. Sheen, by now her ex-husband, decided to come along. After a few uneventful days, Sheen invited Richards to join him and some friends for dinner. She met up with him in a private room at the back of a restaurant. He was there with three male friends and four women. At one point, Richards asked when the women had met the men at the table, to which one of them replied, “Tonight.” Richards eventually realized that she had been invited to dinner with four prostitutes. Richards writes, “To be honest, though I’m a fairly nonjudgmental person, I would’ve preferred a dinner where I wasn’t the only non-hooker among the women at the table. I also think that when you’re the father of five it might be wise to shut down that sort of behavior” (page 255). Later that night, Richards woke up to the sounds of walkie-talkies in the hallway and security guards entering Sheen’s suite, which he was occupying with his prostitute.

On Sheen’s 'Goddesses'

A few months later, Sheen invited Richards and their daughters to accompany him on a trip to Las Vegas, which Richards declined. On this trip, he met one of his “goddesses.” Soon after, Richards went to visit Sheen at his house to let him know how worried she was about him. He said he was fine and that he planned to move four women into his home; he wanted to create a “porn family.” He said he had the four picked out and that he would also buy Richards her own house very close by. Richards recalls, “I shook my head, trying to hide my sadness, not to mention my fear that the girls might be losing him. ‘I can’t even begin to explain that to our daughters,’ I said quietly. He said, ‘Tell them their dad marches to his own beat’ ” (page 264).

On Her Current Relationship With Sheen

Richards writes that she still wants to have a civil relationship with her ex-husband for the sake of her daughters, and that she will always be there for him. His behavior does not make it easy, and Richards notes that he publicly criticized her during his “Torpedo of Truth” tour. She sums up her feelings on the issue by saying, “I’ve been asked how I am handling this all lately, but the reality is I’ve been handling this on and off for seven years. The truth is: This is not the man I married; this is the man that I divorced” (page 266).