Tragic Details About Heather Locklear

Heather Locklear was one of the most celebrated and in-demand actresses in the ’90s, but in later years, her star power began to fade. Is this because of bad decisions she made in her career, or because of her personal struggles? The “Money Talks” actress has had many challenges to deal with over the years, some of which found her in rehab multiple times. She’s also experienced her share of heartache and relationship drama and had run-ins with the law.

“She has so much talent and beauty, and we hate to see that wasted,” a source close to Locklear told Page Six in 2018. “But she’s fighting a lot of demons. The only thing she can do is go back to rehab and try again.”

Locklear’s life has been filled with ups and downs, and there have been tragic moments as fans watched their favorite star fall from grace. She may have needed to hit rock bottom before she could bounce back, but the silver lining in Heather Locklear’s life is that things appear to be looking up for the actress…

Heather Locklear’s substance abuse issues have been well documented, and it has been reported that she sought help multiple times. In 2019, she once again entered a treatment facility, and a source commented on the situation in an interview with People magazine, noting how those who cared for Locklear were optimistic about the future.

“Everybody is hopeful that this time will be different, but it’s just hard to tell,” the source said. “She’s not going into anything new is the problem, though; she’s just going back to something she has done before. She has been to rehab more than 20 times, perhaps 25 times.” The source also commented on how expensive these programs were and how treatment often included detoxes.

As for what Locklear’s specific problems were? A source shared with the publication that she was seeking treatment for issues concerning “alcohol, pills, and her mental health,” adding, “She doesn’t want anybody to hold her accountable.”

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

The downside to living in the public eye is that all of your problems or indiscretions become tabloid fodder. Every mistake an actor makes is well documented, and every challenge they have to face becomes a juicy headline. There was no exception for Heather Locklear, whose personal struggles with substance abuse and mental health concerns have become common knowledge.

Rather than being able to deal with these challenges quietly, Locklear’s admission to an Arizona rehab facility in 2008 was reported on by the media. At the time, her representative made a comment to E! News, saying, “There is no statement, and we will not be commenting about Heather’s location.” While she was afforded some level of privacy, the publication notes that her stay was about four weeks. It was reported that Locklear had checked into the Sierra Tucson treatment facility to focus on her mental health.

“Heather has been dealing with anxiety and depression,” the actress’s spokesperson said at the time. “She requested an in-depth evaluation of her medication and entered into a medical facility for proper diagnosis and treatment.”

Heather Locklear has been fortunate she has many people who love her and want to see her healthy. But her recovery is hers alone, and the desire to get help had to come from her. In 2018, she made headlines again, this time not just for her struggles with addiction and mental health challenges but also because she had reportedly denied help from her friends and family. The news was tragic, and the anguish her loved ones were experiencing was apparent.

“[Heather] is clearly not getting the proper medical and mental health help she needs. It’s not just about rehab for addiction issues, but about getting a proper evaluation and help for the underlying mental health issues,” a source close to her told People. “She isolates herself, which only feeds into the other issues. Of course, you can’t force someone to get help — they have to want to — but it’s hard for someone who is sick to make smart choices and keep at it. She has family and friends who are desperately trying to help.”

The silver lining in this situation is that Locklear eventually received the help she needed, and in 2020, she celebrated her first year of sobriety. She took to Instagram to share her thoughts (or rather, she posted a quote credited to Maya Angelou). In the caption, she wrote: “Hugs will come later! 1 year sober today!!!”

Heather Locklear has been unable to escape public interest in her private life, and fans have kept tabs on her over the years. This includes the challenges she faced when trying to deal with her addiction. Luckily, she had constant support from family and friends who wanted to see her get better. At the time, this was not something Locklear wanted to share with the world (which was her decision), and although she would later celebrate her sobriety publicly, in general, she has been much quieter about the journey it took to get there.

She gave a glimpse into her mind’s inner workings with an Instagram post in 2018. “Addiction is ferocious and will try to take you down. Recovery is the best revenge,” she wrote. “Be kind to everyone you meet, your light just might change their path.” The message was followed by an acknowledgment of someone she had lost, who she claimed “touched her heart.”

There was nothing to suggest Denise Richards and Heather Locklear were best friends, but they did appear to be on good terms. They were also neighbors. The friendship part of their relationship would change very quickly after Richards began dating Locklear’s ex-husband, Richie Sambora. But how did Richards and Locklear know each other? Their connection was initially through Charlie Sheen, a friend and former co-star of Locklear’s — the pair worked together on the series “Spin City.” 

The relationship between Richards and Sambora isn’t believed to have begun until after Sambora’s divorce. (At the time, Richards and Sheen were also breaking up.) Still, the news must have been a sting to Locklear. “Unfortunately, our friendship had to dissolve, and I’m sad about that. The last thing I would want to do is create a media frenzy like this, especially as I’m trying to get through a divorce,” Richards told People in 2006. She also downplayed the friendship in an interview with Us Weekly in 2011. 

“We [Richards and Sambora] were friends, and we were both going through divorces, and that’s what drew us to each other… I did not steal someone’s husband,” she told Us Weekly (via Sydney Morning Herald). “Did I date a former friend’s ex-husband? Yes. Did I break up a marriage? No. If I was still friends with [Locklear], that never would have happened with Richie. There was no friendship anymore prior to Richie and I getting together.”

Her career has slowed down, but she’s kept fighting for a comeback

Heather Locklear was a big star in the ’80s and ’90s, perhaps most notably for her work on the television series “Melrose Place” in which she starred as Amanda Woodward. While she continued to land roles after the show wrapped, there has been a noticeable decline in the leading parts she’s secured in recent years. Hollywood is not a place that is kind to aging actresses, but Locklear also had to contend with her struggles.

Was she content to give up her career for good? Nope. Locklear was excited to be cast in the TV movie “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: The Kristine Carlson Story” in 2021. Many saw this role as her comeback and expected great things from the actress — another milestone achievement for her, in addition to her being sober for over two years. She was also embracing her sixties. 

“I’ve always loved getting older because it means I’m alive,” she told People, on turning 60 in 2021. “I’m so grateful. I don’t really give a hoot. I don’t give a hoot about how I look. My parents still love me. My daughter loves me.”