Denise Richards insisted Wednesday she never asked for her ex-husband Charlie Sheen’s sperm, despite a document released exclusively to NBC News by Sheen containing a purported e-mail that Sheen claims proves she asked him in April 2007 to father a third child via artificial insemination.
“The e-mail’s not legitimate. It’s a doctored e-mail,” Richards told TODAY’s Matt Lauer Wednesday. She said that the message, which Sheen says Richards wrote to his current fiancée, Brooke Mueller, represents another attempt by the actor to discredit her.
The he-said, she-said about the alleged sperm request has been tabloid fodder, but until Wednesday, no one had seen the e-mail that spawned it. The document Sheen’s representative, Stan Rosenfield, provided to NBC reads:
“I don't want to have a baby with Charlie. I am having a baby in the next year. By myself...my girlfriend suggested Charlie be the donor. SO, I did bring this up to him. There are so many couples having unhealthy children. Charlie and i have very beautiful healthy children together. I was strictly looking for a sperm donor if it's any of your business. If it were him, I said we would sign a document that he couldn't come after me and I couldn't come after him..this wasn't to have sex with him, it was him donating..that's it. I didn't want him to tell you at this time because it was something very personal that I'm doing myself.”
'I would have asked for Richie’s’
Richards told Lauer that the document is simply not true. At the time, she said, she was caring for her mother, Joni, who had terminal cancer that would take her life in December 2007. The actress was also raising the two young girls she had by Sheen. The last thing she wanted was another baby.
“I was taking care of my dying mom. That’s what the public doesn’t understand,” Richards said. “I was raising my little girls. They’re young; they need me. My mother was the closest person to me. She was dying.”
Richards said that if she had wanted another child, she wouldn’t have asked for Sheen’s sperm, noting she was dating Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora at the time. “If I wanted anybody’s sperm, I would have asked for Richie’s,” she told Lauer.
Sheen released a statement through Rosenfield that essentially called Richards a liar.
“Her claims that her email has been fabricated or altered in anyway to create this story are absurd,” the statement reads. “The mere fact that she continues to publicly discuss and harass both Brooke and me three years after our separation, which for the record is longer than the actual length of the marriage, is beyond desperate and speaks volumes,” it went on.
“I’m standing by my allegations,” Richards said after seeing the statement on a studio monitor. “I’m telling you that e-mail is false.”
‘Embarrassing personal matter’
The exchange was just another example of why the ongoing war between Sheen and Richards is being called the nastiest in Hollywood history — which is like being called the worst recovering drunk at a national Alcoholics Anonymous convention.
Richards said she’s been unfairly blamed for much of the nastiness, which dates back to April 2006, when Richards asked for and received a restraining order against Sheen after she claimed in court that he abused drugs, gambled, used hookers, and was checking out underage-looking girls and boys on the Internet. She also claimed that Sheen was physically and verbally abusive to her in front of the children, and that Sheen let their daughter Sam sleep with him, which she called inappropriate contact.
She said that the perception that she made those accusations publicly is wrong. She made the statements in court filings that she had hoped would remain private, she said.
“The one thing I will clear up a lot of people don’t understand — I filed a declaration with the court. I never went on different shows and blasted my husband and aired our dirty laundry,” she said. “This is a private, embarrassing, personal matter.”
The 37-year-old Richards was born in Downers Grove, Ill., and confesses to growing up a tomboy. She became a model and worked her way into television and then into movies, landing her first starring role at the age of 26 in “Starship Troopers.” In 1999, she starred as Dr. Christmas Jones, a nuclear scientist who dressed in little shorts and tight tank tops, in the James Bond flick “The World Is Not Enough.” Her most recent role was as Dawn St. Dom in the 2008 release, “Blonde and Blonder.”
A short-lived reconciliation
Richards met Sheen in 2000 on the set of “Scary Movie 3.” They married on June 15, 2002, and within two years welcomed a daughter, Sam, to the family.
But in March 2005, one year after Sam’s birth, Richards filed for divorce. In June, she gave birth to the couple’s second daughter, Lola, and in August she and Sheen started seeing a marriage counselor together and got back together.
But the reconciliation didn’t last long, and by January 2006, the divorce had moved into nasty mode, where it remains stuck.
Besides the ongoing war over the alleged sperm request, Richards and Sheen are also battling over custody of their daughters. Richards retains primary custody, and when she signed to do a nine-episode reality show on E! called “Denise Richards: It’s Complicated,” Sheen went to court in an unsuccessful effort to prevent her from having their daughters on the show.
Richards told Lauer that even that battle has been misrepresented by Sheen. She said that initially, he agreed to allow her to have Sam and Lola on the reality show, but in return for his consent, he asked for increased custody of the children.
“Charlie wanted me to agree to custody changes in our situation,” she said, addressing the issue for the first time. “I didn’t want to change the custody arrangement.”
Richards said that through it all and even after living with Sheen, she doesn’t know who he is.
“Charlie’s a stranger to me,” she told Lauer. “The most bizarre thing is, I had children with him and lived with him. Every ex-boyfriend I ever had, there’s a bond. But he’s the father of my children, he’s my ex-husband, and he’s a stranger.”