The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills alum, who called it quits with the Two and a Half Men actor in 2005 while six months pregnant with their second child, opened up about their highly publicized breakup during the Aug. 10 episode of Dear Media's Divorced Not Dead podcast. Remembering it as a "difficult" split, Denise told host Caroline Stanbury that there were "many things" that led to the demise of their marriage.
"The behind-the-scenes stuff was way worse than what was out there," she explained, adding that while they had often put on a united front in public, they weren't actually happy at home. "It was really bad."
Ultimately, Denise walked away from Charlie—with whom she shares kids Sami, 18, and Lola, 17—after asking herself: "Would I want my daughters to be married to this man?"
"No offense to him, but I think he would take that and understand what I'm saying," she continued. "It was very toxic."
But despite their complicated history, the actress said she doesn't regret marrying Charlie "because I really do feel that he and I were brought together to have our daughters."
In fact, Denise noted that the two reconciled "for a very brief time" following the birth of Lola, but the reunion only made her realize more that she needed to end the marriage. "It made me also know I could one day tell my girls that I did everything I could possibly do to make this family unit," she said. "I felt the most guilty splitting up the family unit. I struggled with that for years."
She added, "There is a lot that the public doesn't know, and you never know what goes on behind closed doors. It was not a good situation."
E! News reached out to Charlie's rep but did not receive a comment.
While her marriage with Charlie didn't work out, the Wild Things star said their relationship has "evolved" over the years to be in a better place. "To this day, Charlie does know he can call me at any time, no matter what," she said. "I don't care what he says or does, I will show up and be there because I always wanted him—and still do—to be the best dad for our daughters."
And when Denise called out Charlie for disapproving their daughter Sami's OnlyFans account earlier this year, the actor responded that his ex "has illuminated a variety of salient points, that in my haste, I overlooked and dismissed."
"Now more than ever, it's essential that Sami have a united parental front to rely upon, as she embarks on this new adventure," he added. "From this moment forward, she'll have it abundantly."