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Charlie Sheen, Denise Richards

Larry Busacca/Getty Images, John Sciulli/Getty Images

Close friends to Denise Richards, who we finger-pointed last week for overly dropping her husband's name during that Plaza Hotel porn-actress fiasco, have come to her defense.

A tight Richards pal who was in constant contact with Charlie Sheen's ex last week during her extensive media tour insists Denise was put in an very "awkward" position, and that Denise did her best to navigate out of it.

"It's not her fault he decided to do what he did, yet she is the one who had to pay for it during her interviews," sighed the Richards confidante, who also tells us Denise actually...

Turned down numerous press opportunities last week, which is kind of hard to imagine, but we're assured it's true.

Richards, who was busy discussing mostly her ex husband's dubious activities on shows such as Joy Behar (when Richards was actually scheduled to discuss her Spike TV gig, Blue Mountain State), apparently had many more chances to not so delicately side-step the Charlie drama.

Richards campers insist Denise got "a million" press requests, including Larry King, and that she turned them all down, only sticking with the original media schedule that Denise had OK'd for Blue Mountain.

"She tried her best to do the 'no comment' thing," we were told when we asked why the hell Denise talked about it all so much—on those originally scheduled press stops. Is a shut-trap policy on such dicey topics as Charlie's relationship with drugs and women and woe so hard to follow? Apparently, so.

"The timing of this sucked," bitched our Richards insider, "and any journalist is going to press her while she is sitting in front of them on a live show. She did her best to not say much. It's just not fair."

On that I think we can all agree.

That said, though, all we're sayin' is Denise is a smart girl. She knows how to tell an interviewer to can it. Try it, next time, girl!