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Heather Locklear's daughter praises her for helping with 'debilitating' anxiety

“My mom always made me feel heard. She never judged me and made sure I didn’t feel alone,” Ava Sambora writes.
/ Source: TODAY

Heather Locklear’s daughter, Ava Sambora, says her mother stood by her side during some dark days.

Sambora, 23, added that her TV star mother has been a guiding light while she deals with anxiety.

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I struggle with anxiety, but about a year ago it was very debilitating,” Sambora wrote in an essay for People.” I live almost an hour away from her, and when I would have anxiety attacks, she would drive over and visit me. Anytime of the day, she would stop what she was doing and come to comfort me.

“When I would insist she did not have to, she would stay on the phone with me late into the night, until I was calm enough to sleep. She did everything she could to help me get through those difficult months, from taking me to every doctor’s appointment to giving me tons of books on managing anxiety.”

Sambora, whose dad is former Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora, said anxiety comes with challenges, but Locklear makes sure her voice matters.

“My mom always made me feel heard. She never judged me and made sure I didn’t feel alone. This was so important to my mental health and helped me continue on with my life,” she wrote.

“I was also a full-time college student when this happened, and my mom’s kindness made me feel comfortable enough to open up to others about my mental health. She helped me see that it was possible for others to relate to me and understand my experience.

“My mom always taught me to be kind to whomever I met. She treats every person with respect and makes them feel important. While she embodies kindness in many ways, her ability to care for and give to others is what I admire most. She is selfless and inspires me to be selfless as well.”

The former “Melrose Place” star, 59, who earlier this year got engaged to Chris Heisser, had some kind words of her own for her daughter in a matching People essay she penned.

“In an era of ‘mean girls,’ Ava has always been a miracle to me,” she wrote. “She never has a bad word to say about anyone, and for a teenage girl, that is something. She has this innate sense of confidence and strength. She doesn’t feel the need to put others down in order to feel better about herself. I’ve often seen her transform a potential gossip fest into a conversation about that person’s most amazing attributes.”

Locklear, who celebrated one year of sobriety in April, recalled an incident where her daughter changed the tenor of a conversation with some of her friends.

“I remember one day Ava had a group of girlfriends over to our house, and the conversation turned to the one girl who wasn’t there. It started with, ‘She thinks she’s better than us,’ and I thought, ‘Oh no, here we go.’ Then, effortlessly, Ava said, ‘You know, the other day I was feeling bummed for no particular reason, and it was like she knew it. She came up to me and gave me a hug.’ It changed the whole vibe and brought the focus back to the good,” Locklear wrote.

Locklear explained that Sambora is an ideal person to emulate.

“Ava is an example to me to always try to find the good in someone. I have watched her from afar and up close throughout her life, and I aspire to be more like her,” she wrote.

“Her kindness is contagious. We are very close, and I am blessed to call her my daughter. She is completely unaware of all the good she brings to this world—it’s just who she is. I couldn’t be more proud of her.”