Heather Locklear was one of the biggest stars of the ’90s. Now she’s known more for her legal troubles.
Heather Locklear — arrested Sunday after authorities said she kicked emergency personnel responding to calls to come to her home — used to be one of TV’s biggest stars.
“All giggles and blond mane, she is a G-rated pinup dream — a TV phenom (on both Dynasty and T.J. Hooker) whose multimillion-dollar career hasn’t impinged on her Val Gal simplicity,” reads a 1986 People magazine story.
“The killer-legged bombshell from Melrose Place, suddenly America’s hottest sex symbol,” proclaimed a 1995 cover of Cosmopolitan.
In the heyday of big blond hair, Locklear was a pop culture phenomenon, a regular fixture of People’s “Most Beautiful” list and the recipient of undying adoration in the “Wayne’s World” orbit.
She got her start with guest roles on a smattering of TV shows before starring in some of the biggest prime-time soap operas. Locklear found success working with Aaron Spelling, then the king of prime-time drama; her breakout came in 1982 with his police series “T.J. Hooker,” and she would simultaneously appear as a series regular on “Dynasty.”
But the role Locklear is most known for is Amanda Woodward on “Melrose Place,” which premiered in 1992 and ran for seven seasons on Fox (before getting a short-lived reboot in 2009). The actress joined after the series began, an addition that helped boost its ratings.
The Spelling prime-time soap opera followed the lives of a group of sexy young adults living in a West Hollywood apartment complex called Melrose Place. The show became a smash hit, and Locklear stood out. She lampooned her bad-girl role during a 1994 guest-hosting spot on “Saturday Night Live” and was nominated three times for a Golden Globe.
After the series ended, Locklear would go on to work in television and movies, but she never recaptured the height of fame she had in the 1980s and 1990s. She starred for two seasons of the comedy “Spin City” (earning two Golden Globe nominations) and had guest roles on “Scrubs,” “Ally McBeal,” “Two and a Half Men,” “Boston Legal” and, just last year, “Fresh Off The Boat.” She also starred in some ill-fated shows, including “LAX,” and made several pilots.
Asked whether she worried about getting typecast as Amanda Woodward (confident, sexy and, depending on who you ask, manipulative and cold), Locklear said in 2009: “There’s a window where it’s so good that people want you for different things. And then there’s a window when it’s too long, and that’s when you get typecast.”
Her personal life became as entangled and dramatic as her shows. In the 1980s, she was romantically linked with several stars, including Scott Baio, Mark Harmon and even Tom Cruise (“It’s not ladylike to talk about previous romances,” Locklear said when asked if the two ever dated).
In 1986, she married Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee after the pair had met at an REO Speedwagon concert in Los Angeles. Lee was at the height of his career, and he and Locklear were together for seven years before splitting.
She married Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora in 1994, and they had a daughter together before divorcing in dramatic fashion in 2006. Sambora was on tour and didn’t know Locklear had filed for divorce. Even as her publicist was spreading the news, Sambora said that “it’s completely untrue.” After the pair finalized the divorce, Locklear dated her former “Melrose” castmate Jack Wagner. They were engaged in 2011 but called off the wedding.
At the same time, Locklear’s personal struggles became tabloid fodder. The actress took a break from working in 2008, and after an ambulance was called to her home, she checked into a facility.
“Heather has been dealing with anxiety and depression,” her spokeswoman said at the time. “She requested an in-depth evaluation of her medication and entered into a medical facility for proper diagnosis and treatment.”
Two months after leaving the facility, in September 2008, police were called after Locklear was spotted getting into a car while displaying erratic behavior, and she was arrested just outside of Santa Barbara. Locklear tested negative for alcohol, but the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s office filed a complaint alleging she had been under the influence of prescription drugs.
Former Us Weekly editor Jill Ishkanian saw Locklear and took photos of the arrest that she then sold to TMZ for $27,500 via an intermediary. Ishkanian denied setting up the actress, and, according to her lawyer, had called police to report Locklear’s driving.
Locklear returned to acting work, including roles in the short-lived “Melrose Place” reboot, “Hot In Cleveland” and “Scary Movie 5.” Her rehab visits also became public, and amid what was reportedly her fifth time in rehab, she told media outlets: “I am feeling great and am taking steps to enrich and better my life. Currently I am working on tying up some loose ends regarding certain issues so I can hit 2017 full steam ahead.”
In February, police went to her home after a report of a domestic incident between Locklear and her boyfriend. Ventura County sheriff’s deputies said she was “extremely uncooperative and physically combative,” CNN reported, and Locklear was arrested and charged with four counts of battery on a peace officer and another count of resisting, obstructing or delaying. In April, the actress pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Then on Sunday, authorities responded to Locklear’s house twice. Ventura County Sherriff’s Department spokesman Eric Buschow told CNN that Locklear was “extremely intoxicated and very uncooperative,” kicked a sheriff’s deputy in the leg and, during a medical check, kicked a medic in the chest. She was arrested and charged with battery.
A lawyer did not immediately return The Washington Post’s request for comment on the case.
Correction: An earlier version of this post misidentified Richie Sambora’s role in Bon Jovi. He was the guitarist.