The “Wild Things” actor famously broke up with Sheen in 2005 while six months pregnant with their second daughter, Lola, according to E! Online. Their divorce led to endless gossip and tabloid rumors.
“The behind-the-scenes stuff was way worse than what was out there,” Richards told “Divorced Not Dead” podcast host Caroline Stanbury in an episode posted Wednesday. “It was really bad.”
Richards married the “Two and a Half Men” actor in 2002 and gave birth to their first daughter, Sami, in 2004, according to Us Weekly. She took a recurring role on the show, joined him at red carpet events and posed for pictures — but told Stanbury this required putting on a “facade.”
“There is a lot that the public doesn’t know, and you never know what goes on behind closed doors,” Richards told Stanbury. “It was not a good situation.”
Richards filed for divorce in March 2005, and it was finalized in 2006. Sheen has a long history of landing in the news, including for charges that he assaulted ex-girlfriend Brittany Ashland in 1996 and then-wife Brooke Mueller in 2009, according to USA Today.
“Would I want my daughters to be married to this man?” Richards said she asked herself. “No offense to him, but it’s true. And I think he would take that, he would understand what I’m saying. ... It was very toxic.”
She told Stanbury that Sheen’s infamous ABC News interview in 2011 — in which he defended his drug abuse and claimed being fired from “Two and a Half Men” was an instance of “winning” — led her to further shield her daughters from their troubled father.
“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,” Richards told the host. “I felt the most guilty splitting up the family unit. I struggled with that for years.”
Richards adopted a third daughter in 2011 and went on to marry Aaron Phypers in 2018. She clarified in the podcast interview that she didn’t regret her marriage to Sheen, “because I really do feel that he and I were brought together to have our daughters.”
“To this day, Charlie does know he can call me at any time, no matter what,” Richards told Stanbury. “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.”