She's renowned as one of Hollywood's most beautiful women for the better part of two decades.
And of course, there was her very high profile marriage — and subsequent split — to Charlie Sheen.
But Denise Richards is so much more than that, reports news.com.au.
It's a cold, overcast day in Sydney and in walks a glowing Richards, with a hot pink singlet, sparkly eyeshadow and glossy smile; looking as gorgeous as she did when she became a '90s pin-up girl in her earlier years.
She's caressing a teacup and sits in a plush chair across from me in a suite at The Langham.
"Hang on," she stops me before I get started. The chair isn't close enough, so she pushes it a few more inches toward me, ready for an engaging girls' chat.
The 48-year-old mother of three daughters is as real as you get. In a non-gossipy, very glass half full way, she is happy to talk about everything from her extremely personal breakup with Sheen, getting naked on camera and how she's coped through years of public trauma.
Her authenticity is why she's a perfect fit for the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, in which she is the new cast member.
Richards joined the hit reality show, which streams on Foxtel and hayu every Wednesday, for its latest season — but not without the advice of her controversial ex-husband. Yes, despite everything, the pair are still special friends.
ON CHARLIE SHEEN
As far as celebrity breakups go, Richards and Sheens' split was about as high profile as you could get.
It's been "hard word" keeping it civil, Richards admits to news.com.au, but worth it to keep a family unit intact for their daughters.
The pair, who met on the set of Loaded Weapon 1 in 1991, were married in 2002, having two children, Sam, 14, and Lola, 13. Richards also adopted daughter Eloise, 7, in 2011.
They announced their divorce in 2006, when Richards was pregnant with her second daughter.
It quickly turned ugly when Richards filed a restraining order, claiming Sheen physically and verbally abused her, while also threatening to kill her.
In 2008, Richards featured their daughters in her confessional reality program Denise Richards: It's Complicated, with Sheen blasting her as "greedy, vain and exploitative" and urging fans to boycott it.
The next year they appeared to patch things up, with Sheen, who was all over tabloids for alcohol abuse and bizarre behaviour, agreeing to give Richards sole custody of the children. Sheen said: "We had to do what's best for the girls."
And that's exactly what they did — and are still doing. Richards says the pair are good friends despite their messy past.
"You have to work at it. I've always made a point that no matter what is going on, even when the public got a glimpse of some challenging times in his life and at times I was a part of that, that I always wanted to maintain a peaceful relationship with Charlie," she says.
This is a remarkable outlook, given as recently as 2015 Sheen launched a since-deleted foul attack at Richards on Twitter, calling her a "terrorist" and the "worst mum alive".
"He is the father of my kids. Our daughters deserve peace. They should not be privy to any discord between me and their father and I'm a big advocate for that," Richards continues.
"I know it's not easy, there were times when it was challenging, especially when there's a lot of different emotions and feelings when you're going through a divorce or a split, but my parents stayed married right up until my mum passed away, so I've never come from a family of divorce.
"Even though we're divorced, I feel like the girls still have a family.
"So when the show (RHOBH) came about, I asked his thoughts on it, I wanted his opinion because I respect him as an actor, and he had a positive reaction."
ON HOW SHE COPED
When your private life is being splashed on front pages — not to mention everything else going on behind closed doors — it can be hard to cope.
Richards doesn't deny she struggled during rough times.
As for her coping mechanism, her ability to dust herself off comes from her parents, father Irv, 69, and mother Joni, who sadly died of cancer in 2007.
"My mum was a very strong woman, and so respectful," she says.
"She would always side with what's fair and that's how I was raised.
"I even had ex-boyfriends who would call my mum for advice, she really was such a remarkable woman.
"I think my parents really taught me to rise above things.
"Yes, I went through challenging times, but people have it way worse. Sometimes, when things would get really challenging, you have to go to that place.
"I am very lucky. I'm grateful to have healthy kids, a roof over my head, I'm able to work.
"We're given these lessons to learn about ourselves and it's so true that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
"I'm grateful for these lessons I've had because it's taught me you're a lot stronger than you think you are."
ON GETTING NAKED ON CAMERA
It's something people just want to know; Is it awkward taking your kit off for the camera?
Richards rose to fame in the hit 1997 action film Starship Troopers, which featured a hotly talked about naked shower scene, directed by Paul Verhoeven.
At the time, viewers were highly offended by nudity in film, which Verhoeven addressed saying: "Of course Americans get more upset about nudity than ultra-violence. I am constantly amazed about that.
"I mean, I haven't seen any sex scenes in American film that are anything other than completely boring. A bare breast is more difficult to get through the censors than a body riddled with bullets."
Richards, who didn't appear in the shower scene as it was her "first big movie", went on to appear naked in several magazines and movies, and hopes people have come to feel more empowered by nudity.
"I think the body is beautiful and there's certain movies where it is provocative and evokes emotion and feeling and I like that," she says.
"I can be a provocative person and I think that it's OK.
"I'm very comfortable with my sexuality and it's OK to explore different things.
"I'm not offended by it, I'd be a hypocrite if I was, as long as it's relevant to the script and it's not 'nudity just to be naked'."
Richards says Starship Troopers and the 1998 controversial drama Wild Things, in which she appeared in that threesome, were her favourite projects to date.
"I always think about where I was personally whenever I've done a job, or behind the scenes, and Starship Troopers launched a lot of our careers," she says.
"That and Wild Things. I filmed them right after each other and they came out within four months of each other. They launched my career.
"Those are the two that stick out the most."
ON THE FUTURE
Right now she's busy keeping up with her fellow housewives in Beverly Hills, starring in The Bold and the Beautiful, looking after her three daughters and enjoying married life with her husband Aaron Phypers, who she wed in September last year.
But as a self-confessed "spontaneous person", Richards admits she has no idea what the future holds.
"I am very spontaneous, I think that's why I've never been in a job where I was doing the same thing, or the 9 to 5," she says.
"I like not knowing what's in the future because then there's always cool surprise opportunities that come up.
"I never thought six months ago I'd be here in Australia promoting Housewives, but here I am. Not knowing what the future holds is exciting."