Denise Richards Opens Up About 9-Year-Old Daughter’s Rare Disorder That Impacts Her Speaking

by Stephanie Kaloi

Denise Richards doesn’t share too much about her children with the public, and it’s understandable why.

Celebrities and people who are in the spotlight often try to avoid inviting extra scrutiny into the lives of their children, usually because it’s understood that their kids didn’t necessarily ask for the life that they have.

Recently, Denise did open up about one amazing milestone: Her 9-year-old daughter, Eloise, said “dad” for the first time earlier this year. Denise explained that Eloise has a rare chromosomal disorder known as Chromosome 8, Monosomy 8p.

As a result, Eloise has struggled with many developmental delays. Many of those delays have to do with her speech.

“It’s caused many delays with her and it’s caused a lot with speech, development. We found out probably two years ago exactly. It was a very difficult thing to diagnose, she went through a lot. It was really hard when I saw what was written on the medical report to get the blood test and all the testing done. It was hard to see it in black and white, to be honest.”

Denise shared her daughter’s new accomplishment in a sweet post for Father’s Day. She wrote, “Happy Father’s Day to my dad you are the best dad ever. Thank you for always being there & being an amazing role model. I love you so much. And happy Father’s Day to my beautiful husband I can’t imagine a better father for our Eloise & step father for sami & lola. I love you so much. And the greatest gift Eloise being able to say ‘dad’ for the first time a month ago.”

Denise has three children. She adopted Eloise in 2011 when she was a single mom. She has previously shared that the experience took around a year and a half, and that her husband, Aaron Phypers, plans to adopt Eloise. Denise has also noted that it was apparent Eloise had developmental delays early on, as she didn’t crawl until she was 15 months old.

The condition is known as Chromosome 8p, and currently only 350 people around the world have been diagnosed. Since it’s really rare, it makes sense that it took time for Eloise to be diagnosed. The symptoms of the condition can vary widely, and the condition is understood to develop spontaneously early in the development of an embryo.

Even though Denise and the rest of her family haven’t always had a diagnosis to work from, they’ve all learned how to encourage and help Eloise. Denise explained a little bit more about the condition during a reunion episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. “She has a deletion in chromosome 8, which has caused many delays with her and it’s caused a lot with speech development.”

Denise decided to adopt in 2011, even though she was fresh off her divorce from Charlie Sheen. She explained that she just knew she wanted more kids. “I felt like I wasn’t done having children, and I’ve always wanted to have a large family. And so after my divorce I felt like, ‘Oh well, I’m sure I’ll soon enough get remarried and have my family [grow],’ and that wasn’t in the cards at the time, so I decided to expand my family on my own.”

Denise and her ex-husband, Charlie Sheen, met on a set in 2000, and they were engaged by the end of the following year. The pair got married on June 15, 2002, and they starred in Scary Movie 3 together in 2003. Their first daughter, Sam, was born the following year, and then they welcomed their second daughter, Lola, in 2005. However, Denise had already filed for divorce before Lola was born.

The two were officially divorced in April 2006, though rumors of a reunification went flying around online when they were photographed together with their daughters in 2012. They were both quick to squash the new theories, with Denise saying, “We’ve actually become like brother and sister, we really have. Nothing more than that. We’ve become very, very good friends.”

After Charlie shared his HIV diagnosis publicly in 2015, he also revealed that he had known about his HIV status for four years. Denise shared that she also knew about it, and that she had even moved closer to Charlie to help support him. “I moved in the neighborhood where he was living, and being that close to him, it was very hard. But anytime that something would go on at the house or with him, he knew he could call me at 2 in the morning and I would be there — no matter what.”

The two would go on to experience more ups and downs, but in 2017 they seemed generally amicable once more. However, Charlie was not in attendance at Denise’s wedding to her current husband, Aaron, in September 2018. Denise said on Housewives that she did invite him. “It’s just, it is what it is. No matter what’s gone down with Charlie and I, I invite Charlie to anything having to do with the kids and I.”

Denise and Aaron met at his wellness clinic and just seemed to click. Denise says that Aaron and Charlie have connected, and the relationship they share is pretty solid. “They actually do get along. And when we got married, Aaron called Charlie to let him know that we were getting married, just out of respect, that he was going to be a stepdad to our girls.”

It also sounds like Denise and Aaron are really good for one another. “He and I are definitely great partners with the kids and we’re definitely on the same page, which makes it so much easier. We have a strong family unit, we’re very secure and I’m so happy that Eloise has such a wonderful dad and my girls have a great stepdad.”