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Denise Richards opens up about life with Charlie Sheen

By Caitriona Palmer

She is an accomplished Hollywood actress with a string of hit movies and television appearances to her name.

But despite her on-screen success and glamorous looks, all that anybody wants to know about Denise Richards is: What was it really like to be married to Charlie Sheen?

In a highly anticipated new memoir, the former Bond girl has finally lifted the lid on her tumultuous four-year marriage to the Two and a Half Men star, but fans hoping to get an up-close and personal look at the messiest divorce in Hollywood will be sorely disappointed.

Despite being publicly castigated earlier this year as a "loser whore" by her ex-husband, Richards (40) has refused to deal any dirt on the actor or the implosion of their marriage in her "inspirational" new book.

In The Real Girl Next Door, Richards offers this less than salacious tidbit about the demise of her marriage to Sheen. "Shortly after [becoming pregnant with second daughter Lola], our marriage changed drastically. It came out of the blue, and it was more than a rough patch. These issues are so personal I don't want to divulge exactly what occurred."

Since Richards filed for divorce from Sheen in 2005, he has had few positive words to say about his former wife.

Earlier this year, during his bizarre 'Violent Torpedo of Truth' road show, Sheen (45) said he would make former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi suffer by forcing him to marry Richards.

On stage in Cleveland in April, Sheen called Richards a "traitor" and a "vile kidnapper" and led the crowd in a "f**k that b***h" chant against the actress who is mother to his two daughters, Sam (7) and six-year-old Lola.

But despite weathering Sheen's public attacks, Richards has remained steadfastly loyal to her former husband, saying that the man she married is worlds apart from the man she divorced and that she'd marry him again if she had to start over.

"I believe people come into our lives and we learn different things... The man I fell in love with is very compassionate, humble, has a wonderful heart," she said recently. "And the behaviour that a lot of us saw in the last six months is not the person that I met and fell in love with."

In April, Richards -- who just recently adopted a newborn baby girl as a single mother -- offered to take in Sheen's twin toddler boys from his most recent marriage to actress Brooke Mueller after the tabloid website TMZ showed footage of Mueller -- who has battled drug addiction -- trying to pawn a watch and stereo in a seedy part of downtown Los Angeles.

Richards first met Sheen in 2000 on the set of the movie Good Advice and was immediately attracted to the star because of his "strength and courage" in battling his demons with drugs and alcohol.

"I have a different perception of my relationship with my ex-husband than what was really happening," she recently told CNN's Piers Morgan.

"And when we fell in love, he had been sober for three years. He was, you know, getting his life back together. He'd just gotten a job on Spin City."

Their first date was a classic Hollywood affair: the baseball-obsessed Sheen invited Richards over to watch a game on television. Richards brought her own portion of a chef-prepared meal from her house. Sheen pulled his own chef-prepared meal out of his fridge.

Between innings, Richards plotted her move. "I made the first move kissing him," she remembered. "He was Mr Polite, such a gentleman."

"When I left the next morning, I was a teeny bit embarrassed to walk through Charlie's lobby while wearing his T-shirt and carrying my high heels in my hand, but I knew it probably wasn't the first time the security guards had seen a woman leaving Charlie's place like that," Richards remembers about the morning after another special date. "And, hey, if every girl left with a shirt of his, he probably wouldn't have any left! I knew I was special."

The couple married in a candlelit Catholic ceremony in 2002, but very quickly things began to fall apart. By the time their daughter Sam was a year old, the press was already aware of tensions in the marriage.

"I was horrified when reporters called about Sami's first birthday and paparazzi staked out her party. Everyone advised me to cancel it. But no way was I going to cancel her celebration because Charlie and I were going through our s**t," she said.

Since their divorce, Richards' main priority has been protecting her two children, Sam and Lola, from their father's very public meltdowns and his repeated stints in rehab for alleged drug abuse.

"I'm tired of lying to my children about Charlie," Richards said. "They can read but they are not picking up tabloids and Googling us. They are reading their school books. The day that changes is going to be a difficult day.

"They are so young but the day is going to come with they start asking questions. Sam is seven. It's not going to be that long."

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