Denise Richards must sleep well knowing the karma gods will forever be on her side. Despite her ex-husband Charlie Sheen's antics in recent years (which included insulting her as part of his bizarre live show tour last year), the actress with the impressively sunny disposition has continually taken the high road time and time again, keeping up a friendly relationship with her ex, never uttering a disparaging comment about him, and even, mostly recently, agreeing to appear on his new TV series, which will surely help him out with his ratings.
But why be so … nice?
"I've always been a very forgiving person and I think that you should move on from situations. I don't like to have that toxic energy and hold on to things. I like to move on and move past it," she tells omg! from Yahoo in an exclusive interview.
But there are bigger reasons too. A couple of them, actually.
"As the world has seen … it's been up and down and I'm honest about that. There's times where it's good and times where it's not," she admits. "So I do it for myself to not hold on to that and also for the kids. I've always come from a place of putting things aside for our children. And, you know, everyone benefits from that, especially the kids."
Though Richards and Sheen divorced in 2006 after the couple had two daughters together — Sam, now 8, and Lola, who turns 7 next week — today, Richards is a mom of three after adopting daughter Eloise as an infant about a year ago.
"All I can say is I knew I wasn't done having children. And I believe that children choose their parents. With Eloise I feel that she found me, you know, in a different way," the Illinois native shares. "I started the process a year and a half before I actually adopted her. I made a decision. Do I wait until the right partner comes along or do this on my own? And I felt I just would keep moving forward with my life and whatever was meant to be and started the process on my own."
Richards adopted the little girl domestically, and dealt with heartbreak after a whopping dozen potential adoption situations fell through. "Eloise was number 13. My lucky, lucky 13," she gushes. "It's hard emotionally. It's a process. And, you know, a lot of people think celebrities want to adopt a baby and you get a baby, you know, a month later. And that's not the case."
Sam and Lola have become amazing big sisters, says their proud mom, but being a single parent can be chaotic, which is, in part, why Richards' father, Irv, lives with the family. "I think anyone with children, especially more than one, it's chaotic no matter who's around. Your life just becomes about your kids. And we have a lot of animals."
That one's an understatement. An avid dog lover, Richards has been involved with the Best Friends Animal Society for years, helping out with its "Pup My Ride" program, which shuttles dogs from kill shelters to humane societies. "And I always end up with many."
How many? "I always say too many to count," she laughs. "I converted my garage into a dog bedroom. And it's good for my girls. They're very nurturing, which is great for the animals too."
Richards proudly admits that being a mom is the thing she's most focused on, and with weekends often filled with her daughters' soccer games, she and Sheen have been spotted frequently cheering on their girls from the sidelines together. And Richards almost always has baby Eloise in tow. "He was very supportive when I adopted her," Richards says of her ex. "And he's very sweet with her."
[Related: Inside the Celebrity Adoption Trend]
Being a parent may be her favorite job, but the beauty has a full plate of outside work projects right now too. She'll star in the Lifetime TV remake of "Blue Lagoon," which premieres next month, as well as Tyler Perry's upcoming summer flick "Madea's Witness Protection." In it, she plays the wife of Eugene Levy's character (picture that couple). The two must move into a house owned by Perry's iconic Madea character after they enter a witness protection program. "I love working with [Perry]. We had fun on the set," says Richards. "It was really cool to see how he plays, I think, like four different characters in the movie."
The 41-year-old has also jumped into the world of beauty products, teaming up with Beverly Hills hairstylist-to-the-stars Christophe to create a new hair care line called Volume Extend. "I've actually been involved in the process from the ground up and creating the formula to the packaging, you know, and wanted something that I actually would use. So I'm putting my name on it," she says.
Richards launched the line on Shop NBC, which meant having to give her spiel on live television. "I was nervous because I thought, how long can I talk about shampoo? But it went by quickly. The hosts are amazing. They're great to work with and they're very helpful."
But of course, the TV appearance everyone's buzzing about is the one on Sheen's new comedy, "Anger Management," which premieres on FX next month. It won't be the first time the two have shared the small screen. Richards appeared twice on "Two and a Half Men" back when she and Sheen were married. (And both times, Richards notes, she happened to be pregnant.)
"This is the first thing that we've done together since our divorce. I'm very happy for him for the show," she explains. "This is a huge opportunity and you know, he asked me to do it and we thought it would be fun."
And what kind of fun is she having with 52-year-old Bon Jovi rocker Richie Sambora, her on-again—off-again boyfriend — who's currently on again?
"I'll tell you, I always put my foot in my mouth having anything to do with my real personal life always," she confesses. "So, all I will say is, I'm very happy."
You look it, Denise!
More Celebrity Features on Yahoo!:
- Mariska Hargitay and Amaya Play in Central Park
- Kate Gosselin: Jon and I Have Made Peace
- Charlize Theron: My Adoption Plan Had Been in the Works for 28 Years