Former friends Denise Richards and Heather Locklear have an ex in common.
After dating for more than a year, Richards and Richie Sambora ended their relationship "a few months ago," the actress' publicist, Jill Fritzo, confirmed to E! News.
The twosome began their romance shortly after their respective marriages to Charlie Sheen and Locklear fell apart. The coupling raised some eyebrows, as Richards was believed to be one of Locklear's closest friends at the time.
Though Richards and Sambora reportedly called it quits some time ago, one wouldn't know it based on a series of recent interviews in which Richards indicated they were going strong.
"Richie and I have been together for more than a year now," she said in Glamour magazine's June issue. "Recently we went to Hawaii and people came up to us and said, 'We're so happy for the two of you.' So people are starting to accept the relationship, realizing it’s not just a fling."
Apparently, acceptance was the kiss of death in a relationship rooted in controversy.
The actress acknowledged to Glamour that she knew Locklear would be hurt by her decision to pair up with Sambora, but said that their friendship had already gone downhill for reasons she declined to discuss.
"At that point, my friendship with Heather had been over for a while. I don’t want to go into the details of what caused our rift—Heather and Richie have a nine-year-old daughter and I don’t want her to read these personal things in the press," Richards said.
She spelled it out a bit more bluntly in a recent interview with OK! magazine.
"I hadn't spoken to Heather in quite a few months when Richie and I got together. I wasn't her best friend who said, 'By the way, I'm sleeping with your husband.' "
Whatever her relationship with Locklear may have been at the time, Richards has denied repeatedly that she and Sambora carried on an affair during either of their marriages.
She claimed she was surprised when she began to develop feelings for the Bon Jovi guitarist in the midst of her bitter divorce battle from Sheen, but soon realized she was unable to ignore their bond.
"I thought, I don't want to not be with this man because of what people might say about me. I can't worry about being judged; life is too short," she told Glamour.
However, she was unprepared for just how negative the public response to the romance would be.
"Suddenly, the world hated me. I was called a husband stealer and a backstabber in the press—and I can't even repeat most of what was said about me on the Internet," she recalled.
Though Locklear never commented publicly on Richards' involvement with Sambora, David Spade, whom she dated briefly, created a stir last year when he told reporters she was "still nursing the knife wound in her back."
Richards fired back, calling the comment "a betrayal."
"Heather knows why and when her marriage ended with Richie and she knows why my marriage ended with Charlie," she told TMZ last May.
Even now that Richards' relationship with Sambora is over, reconciliation with Locklear looks unlikely.
Richards told OK! that she did not expect to rekindle their friendship. "I'm okay with that. I wish her well."