Denise Richards is making her kids reality television stars and her fuming ex-husband Charlie Sheen is powerless to stop her. Daughters, Lola, 2, and Sam, 3, are headed for Hollywood, as Denise is making the rounds on the nation's talk show circuit this week promoting a new reality show about her home life called Denise Richards: It's Complicated. But what this star is also highlighting is her ruthless decision to showcase her two toddlers on television in an attempt to jumpstart her career.
Denise won a court order allowing her to proceed with filming her life with the children (she has physical custody) as a reality television show for E!, which premieres next week. Charlie had objected, claiming the public exposure is a bad idea that will harm the kids, but a court disagreed. The reason Sheen lost his court battle was because he previously signed a waiver allowing the girls to be filmed. When the show itself became a reality, he apparently changed his mind. But the judge ruled a deal was a deal, and that Charlie had legitimately signed off on the project.
Why would Charlie have signed if he were against his daughters appearing on the show? In my opinion, he probably made a tactical error as his custody battle was ensuing. He may have initially given his consent with the hope of gaining leverage in a "give a little, get a little" move, thinking the reality show would never come to fruition. But Denise eventually successfully inked a deal to air her daily life (as if we are all that interested), and Charlie may have then realized he made an awful mistake.
It seems the so-called bad-boy actor (Denise has accused him of gambling and substance abuse problems, as well as a pornography habit) has really cleaned up his act and made a dead-on correct parenting judgment by attempting to shield the toddlers from a potentially harmful and frightening experience of being followed by television cameras 24/7. (I had a taste of the so-called reality "good life" when I appeared as a contestant on The Apprentice with Donald Trump in 2006. I know what these little girls have in store for them. The lack of privacy and the incessant presence of a camera crew are unnerving and stressful, and I imagine would be especially traumatizing for young children). Moreover, broadcasting the children's images on a national TV show also makes them easier targets for potential kidnappings and paparazzi followings.
Denise Richards appears desperate and is missing the point if she thinks a reality show featuring her children will help her without hurting her kids. With all the previous alleged nasty disclosures painting Charlie as the less effective parent, I am beginning to wonder here if Denise is the one who lacks sound judgment. Is she trying to gain sympathy over her ongoing feud with Sheen and the couple's embarrassing public divorce revelations by turning her agenda into entertainment? It would be a shame if the real reason for making her children TV stars were that complicated.
Stacy Schneider, Esq. is the author of He Had It Coming: How to Outsmart Your Husband and Win Your Divorce.