Model-turned actress Heather Locklear started making a splash in the ’80s with roles on Dynasty and T.J. Hooker, then she started locking down Golden Globe nominations in the ’90s, thanks to her popular part as Amanda Norwood on the hit series Melrose Place. Despite continued acclaim for her role in Spin City in the early 2000s, Locklear’s star power has faded. Today, she’s better known for making tabloid headlines than for her acting work. What went wrong? Keep reading to find out.
Aaron Spelling was a major force behind her fame
Three of Locklear’s biggest roles (Dynasty, T.J. Hooker, and Melrose Place) were made possible by famed producer Aaron Spelling, who essentially ruled television in the ’80s and ’90s, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Without Spelling, Locklear’s career might have never gotten off the ground, and he kept her on the airwaves until the end of Melrose Place in 1999.
When Spelling died in 2006, Locklear told People: "He called me his lucky penny, but I am the lucky one because he graced me with his encouragement and talent."
She’s been spinning her wheels since Spin City
Despite earning two Golden Globe nominations for her work on Spin City, Locklear struggled to repeat that success when the show ended in 2002. Her sitcom Once Around the Park never made it past the pilot stage because "it’s hard to see Heather as a mom," Hollywood insiders told Entertainment Weekly. Her next attempt saw her return to TV drama with the NBC series LAX, which was cut short after just 13 episodes. While Locklear continued to land guest spots on hit shows such as Scrubs, Two and a Half Men, and Hannah Montana, her opportunities as a major television star seemed to have stalled.
She had a nasty feud with Denise Richards
As Locklear’s career began to lose its luster, her 12-year marriage to Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora also took a turn for the worse in 2006. Following the couple’s separation, People reported that Sambora began dating Locklear’s best friend, actress Denise Richards, a little too quickly. The situation became tabloid gold as the two actresses allegedly feuded about betrayals and romantic timeline. While the press feasted on the juicy gossip spilling out of Locklear’s divorce, the situation took a toll on her career.
Her mental health hit a rough spot
In 2008, someone presumed to be Locklear’s physician reportedly called 911 and requested that someone check on the actress over concerns that she may be suicidal, according to People. Thankfully, authorities found the actress to be safe and sound, and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department released a statement saying that she did not require mental-health emergency assistance. The department also said that it did not believe the caller was "lying or fabricating the information." Three months later, Locklear checked herself into rehab for anxiety and depression, but her troubles were far from over.
She was arrested for DUI
A few months after her stint in rehab, TMZ broke the news that Locklear was arrested for suspicion of driving while intoxicated. According to People, a witness called the police after allegedly seeing Locklear driving erratically and exiting her vehicle in the middle of a busy highway. When police arrived, they found the actress inside her car, but it was partially blocking the roadway. A police spokesman told People, "Alcohol was ruled out as a factor, but based on the officer’s observations, we believe Locklear was under the influence of prescription medication."
In January 2009, People reported that Locklear pleaded no contest to reckless driving and agreed to take a DMV safety class. In exchange, the DUI charge was dropped. It was a lucky break for the actress whose reputation wasn’t doing so hot.
She couldn’t save the Melrose Place reboot
After ducking her DUI charge, Locklear had a chance to relive her TV glory days when the producers of The CW’s Melrose Place reboot announced that she was reprising her role of Amanda Woodward. While the cast was excited to see the original "bad girl" return after earlier reports suggested she’d sit this one out, Locklear’s involvement still wasn’t enough to boost the show’s struggling ratings. The CW cancelled Melrose Place in May 2010 after just one season. That news couldn’t have come at a worse time.
She was arrested for hit-and-run
Shortly before The CW officially pulled the plug on Melrose Place, TMZ reported that Locklear was arrested for a hit-and-run that occurred near her home. According to People, police had sufficient evidence to conclude that Locklear’s BMW had hopped a curb and ran over a parking sign, but there wasn’t enough evidence to prove who was driving the vehicle at the time of the crash. Locklear was off the hook, which was fortunate, considering she was still on probation from her 2008 arrest.
She struggled with prescription drugs
In 2012, Locklear was hospitalized after she allegedly consumed a "dangerous mix of alcohol and prescription drugs," according to TMZ. Once again, a 911 call had been placed warning authorities that the actress was in danger, but this time it was his her own sister who was concerned.
In the days following Locklear’s unfortunate episode, Us Weekly reported that the actress had secretly checked into rehab some time between her breakup with fiancé Jack Wagner and her hospitalization.
In January 2017, Radar reported that Locklear was back in rehab again after having a "meltdown" over the holidays and consuming "alcohol and benzos." That same year, she’d have yet another incident behind the wheel.
She’s still crashing cars
On Sept. 15, 2017, Page Six reported that Locklear had been hospitalized after accidentally driving her Porsche down an embankment. This time, Locklear was "alert and cooperative" with police, who reportedly did not believe drugs or alcohol played a role in the crash. Even so, the situation didn’t look good for the actress and stirred up fresh press about her problematic past.
Hollywood is hard on women
While there’s no definitive reason why Locklear’s career took a downturn, it’s no secret that Hollywood has a problem when it comes to older actresses. According to Variety, ageism is an epidemic in the industry, and one need look no further than the Harvey Weinstein scandal for further proof that being a women in Hollywood is no picnic.
Fortunately for Locklear, she has landed a role on the Tyler Perry drama series Too Close to Home. We hope this is the start of seeing a whole lot more of the original Melrose Place boss queen.