A former star of Melrose Place has told of how she lost her friends and her marriage after she crashed her car while drunk, killing another woman.

Last week, Amy Locane, 45, was spared more jail time after the family of the woman she killed in 2010 appealed a decision that released the actress after serving just 2.5 years.

The cast of the TV series, 'Melrose Place,' circa 1992. L-R: Thomas Calabro, Josie Bissett, Grant Show, Amy Locane,Andrew Shue, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Vanessa Williams. Photo / Getty
The cast of the TV series, 'Melrose Place,' circa 1992. L-R: Thomas Calabro, Josie Bissett, Grant Show, Amy Locane,Andrew Shue, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Vanessa Williams. Photo / Getty

Locane was three times over the legal limit when she rear-ended Fred and Helene Seeman's car in New Jersey.

Mrs Seeman was killed, and her husband was severely injured.

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The judge listed the welfare of Locane's daughters, aged 8 and 6, as the reason for not imposing a harsher sentence on her. One of them has Crohn's disease.

"I had worked so hard since 2010 on my sobriety, on adjusting to life in prison, on being released from prison, on acclimating to my children's lives, and to parole that having to go back would seriously interrupt, if not destroy, any progress I had made in becoming human again," Locane told nj.com.

Amy Locane in 1995 in New York City. Photo / Getty
Amy Locane in 1995 in New York City. Photo / Getty

Locane, who starred as Sandy Harling in Season 1 of Melrose Place and as Allison Vernon-Williams in the movie Cry Baby, said her friends abandoned her while she was in prison.

"Being in prison is almost like witnessing your own death," she said. "People write to you initially and then they disappear. Then, sometimes you hear from absolute strangers and they tell you to stay strong."

She said her stint in prison was "dehumanising".

"You take a shower with 60 other women. You have no privacy. I read a lot of books to distract me from my situation. Guards went through your mail. My girls would send me Mother's Day cards and the guards wouldn't let me keep them because they were too large or they contained glitter.

"Every time I left a visit with my girls, I had to endure a strip search in which I had to strip, squat and cough," she said.

The time in prison would also take a toll on her marriage to Mark Bovenizer, who served her with divorce papers just months after she was released in June 2015.

In handing down his decision not to send Locane back to prison, Superior Court Judge Robert B. Reed said the actress was a model prisoner and had attended weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meetings since being let out on parole.

Thomas Calabro, Josie Bissett, Grant Show, Amy Locane, Vanessa Williams, and Doug Savant at the FOX Television Party for New Fall Season, Museum of Natural History, New York City. Photo / Getty
Thomas Calabro, Josie Bissett, Grant Show, Amy Locane, Vanessa Williams, and Doug Savant at the FOX Television Party for New Fall Season, Museum of Natural History, New York City. Photo / Getty

"I know Judge Reed went out on the limb for me and I'm not going to let him down. When someone sees the good in you like that and gives you a second chance, you don't want to disappoint them. I haven't taken a drink since the accident," she said.

"There hasn't been a day that has gone by that I didn't think of Helene Seeman. I feel terrible for her family. I know that they are hurting. I know that they are grieving. I have said that I'm sorry over and over to them, but I feel like it falls on deaf ears."

Mrs Seeman's husband said the judge had "bent over backwards to let [Locane] walk free".

Locane says she plans to focus on educating others on the dangers of drink driving as well as helping women to better transition from prison back into regular society.