This big-haired blonde epitomized the 80s and reigned over prime time during the 90s. Too bad a long string of less-than-prime decisions sent her career and life careening catastrophically off the rails.
1. She Wasn’t Always A Train Wreck
At her peak, the press had anointed Heather Locklear “,” “Most Fascinating,” “Most Lovable,” and proud owner of the “Most Influential Female Body”—and her many fans would certainly agree.
No one could have predicted that her future held several scandals, 20+ trips to rehab, and some shocking run-ins with Johnny Law—but that’s exactly what happened.
2. She Is An Authentic California Girl
Heather’s early life could have been the inspiration for a Tom Petty song. Born on September 25, 1961, and raised in a middle-class suburb in the San Fernando Valley, Heather was a good girl who loved her mamma and papa, who, as a former Marine, taught his children the importance of academics, God, and country.
Kids will be kids, though, and by the time she was six, trouble started brewing.
3. She Was A Smooth Talker
The ability to talk oneself out of a sticky situation is a good one to have—and Heather started practicing early. According to her unauthorized biography, six-year-old Heather avoided a corporal punishment by using her charm to convince her parents to not only refrain on this occasion but to never get this type of punishment again.
If only the same tactics would have worked during her many run-ins with law enforcement.
4. She Didn’t Peak In High School
As hard as it is to believe, Heather claimed she “was nothing” in high school. She wasn’t smart or popular, and she didn’t make the cheerleading squad—gasp! She had acne and braces, and her peers often teased her for being flat-chested. Despite this, she ended up dating a boy for several years, only to break up and then reunite on prom night.
Strangely enough, that wasn’t the last time the two star-crossed lovers would rekindle the romance…but more on that later.
5. She Was A Nepo Baby
As soon as she left high school, this ugly duckling turned into a swan while at UCLA—where, coincidentally, her father was dean of admissions. At 5’5” tall, Heather’s newfound supermodel dreams fell apart before they could begin—at least until her father got her a gig modeling for the university’s BearWear clothing catalog.
Guess who made the cover? Too bad the rest of her career wouldn’t always flow this smoothly.
6. She Discovered The Curse Of Early Success
Many starry-eyed folks dream of making the jump from modeling to acting but few succeed—especially so early on in their career. At the age of 20, Heather landed her first meaty role on Dynasty, a glitzy 80s prime-time soap opera about an insanely rich Denver oil family.
She definitely had the look and charisma that the show’s producers wanted--but the acting chops? Um, not so much…
7. She Was In Way Over Her Head
Heather Locklear was suddenly thrust into the big leagues when she got the gig on Dynasty—and the consequences were devastating. She was so nervous that she had trouble following stage directions and saying her lines at the same time. During one humiliating incident, Heather was having trouble with a dramatic pause. Producer Elaine Rich finally exclaimed, “Oh my God! Have her learn to count to three!”
Rich also sent Heather to a vocal coach to “lower that screech a couple of octaves”. Yikes!
8. She Was Hot, Hot, Hot
The 80s were all about success and excess, and Heather was enjoying both. She was working on two hit shows at the same time—Dynasty and TJ Hooker, which starred William Shatner. The former Starfleet Captain himself called Heather “the ultimate pinup”.
Too bad her TJ Hooker uniform hid all of her famous curves. Fear not, though, the show’s producers had an, ahem, interesting remedy…
9. She Had A Pre-Kardashian Butt
To boost Heather’s figure—and the show’s ratings—producers came up with a bizarre plan. They gave her a padded bra and underwear. To her credit (or shame), Heather gave the bulky prosthetics a go for a few weeks before nixing them. This forced the show’s writers to get creative with gratuitous bikini scenes and even a turn as an undercover go-go dancer.
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10. She Walked So That Pamela Anderson Could Run
By the mid-80s, America’s sweetheart could pretty much take her pick of any handsome heartthrob, but after brief romances with Tom Cruise and Scott Baio, it was Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee who kickstarted her heart. When the two first met, Tommy kissed her hand and said, “Hi, nice to touch you”.
Although she didn’t know it, Heather was on the brink of kissing her squeaky-clean image goodbye.
11. She Was Very Devil-May-Care
Many folks were shocked when they learned that the angelic Heather had fallen head over heels for someone concerned parents’ organizations accused of making devil music during this era of “satanic panic”. One of Tommy’s songs was even on a list called the “Filthy 15”.
Heather quickly tried to laugh off any concerns, though, saying, “Tommy doesn’t worship the devil, he worships me”.
12. She Had A Very Merry Christmas
Apparently, Tommy did indeed worship Heather enough to pop the question—and he did it in complete rock cliché style. Picture it: Christmas Eve, 1985, a gleaming stretch limo is speeding along carrying the enamored pair to some glam event. Suddenly, Tommy bounces up, sticks his head out the sunroof, and calls out to Heather.
When she joined him, he gently placed a blinding 2.3-carat diamond on her finger, and with hair blowing wildly all over the place, Tommy screamed, “Will you marry me?!”
13. Her Marriage Was Off To A Rocky Start
Often the relationships that have the highest highs also experience some pretty low, lows—just not two days after the wedding. During the couple’s Cayman Islands honeymoon, the pair reportedly got into an altercation so serious that someone called the local authorities over to break it up.
Eventually, their lives settled down, but it would be far from domestic bliss…
14. Her Halo Was Becoming Tarnished
It appeared that Tommy had found the Bonnie to his Clyde, and Heather could match him drink for drink, which was a bit of a surprise considering that Heather didn’t even know how to act inebriated in her early Dynasty days. Tommy’s words from a 1986 interview sound ominous: “She’ll drink Jack Daniels like a rock trouper. She loves the stuff. We’ll slug our way through a bottle in a night”.
15. She Had Some Serious Competition
It’s a bit of a head-scratcher that at the age of 24, Heather Locklear decided to settle down with a 23-year-old heavy metal god who had legions of groupies pounding at his dressing room door. One could say, “the heart wants what it wants”—and therein lies the rub.
Heather heard the rumors of her husband’s on-the-road antics, but she tried to stay strong and, besides, she was dealing with something much darker than infidelity…
16. More Trouble In Paradise
In addition to Tommy’s enjoyment of booze and indiscretions, he had an even darker side. Heather’s unauthorized biography quotes insiders who spoke of his brutality and “the bruises he gave her”. A source described how Tommy screamed at Heather and “grabbed her by the shoulders [and] shoved her against the side of their house”.
Unfortunately, things were about to get better before they got worse.
17. She Had To Endure A Shocking Loss
Most people in the public eye have elaborate security these days, but unfortunately, in 1989 Heather Locklear did not. One day upon arriving home, she made a horrific discovery: Her Maltese toy spaniel was missing from the dog run! Heather, who was such an animal lover that she even posed for pin-up photos with her dog, started to lose her mind with worry…
18. Her Life Was A Nightmare
Shortly after Heather’s beloved pooch had gone missing, a neighbor made a disturbing discovery—the body of Heather’s beloved pup. Apparently, Heather had a stalker who watched her leave the house, snatched the dog, fired a couple of slugs into it, and dumped the body. To make matters worse, law enforcement was unable to find the suspect.
Sadly, this wouldn’t be Heather’s only pet who met a grisly demise.
19. She Didn’t Have A Fairy Tale Ending
If there are any surprises in the Heather and Tommy story, it might be that the marriage lasted a whole seven years. This wasn’t for lack of effort on Heather’s part, though. She had made Tommy attend AA and marriage counseling. She also asked Tommy to go with her to get an AIDS test because Althea Flynt, whom Tommy had once shared a needle with, had recently been diagnosed.
Someone may have given her a little push, but we’ll get to him later.
20. She Lost Her Best Friend
Divorce can get ugly for mere mortals—let alone superstar celebrities like Heather Locklear and Tommy Lee. The split reached its nadir in 1994 when Heather came home to an eerily familiar situation. Her little dog was lying there deceased. A source claims Heather screamed that Tommy’s Rottweiler had done it.
Tommy, however, denied any responsibility.
21. Her Life Was In A Nosedive
As Heather’s marriage was ending, her career was also circling the drain. After TJ Hooker ended in 1986 and Dynasty in 1989, she was not getting many Oscar-worthy offers. She did however star in The Return of the Swamp Thing, which earned her a Worst Actress Razzie. Everyone was starting to wonder if she had lost her magic touch.
22. She Started To Sweat
With her acting roles drying up, Heather Locklear decided to get creative. Since the late 80s aerobics craze was in full swing and she was famous for her bangin’ bod, it made perfect sense for her to throw on a pink thong and thrust her way through a workout video.
This got her the gig as a celebrity spokesperson for a fitness chain, which really rubbed another celeb the wrong way…
23. She Was In A Fitness Feud
Ah, the 80s…Aside from some subtle shaming, it’s hard to see how anyone could take offense at Heather’s cheery ads for Bally Fitness. But Cher, another thong lover, and Bally’s spokesperson, was incensed by them. “It was my concept…I didn’t write that commercial from my life to have some blonde bimbo of 25 stick her tongue out at the end of it!”
Ouch! Heather kept quiet—and likely prayed for a real acting gig.
24. She Was Good At Being Bad
It was now time for Heather Locklear to get nasty—in the best possible way. Producer Aaron Spelling, her lucky charm from TJ Hooker, had created a spin-off of Beverly Hills, 90210 called Melrose Place and he wanted Heather to play evil ad exec Amanda Woodward.
This became one of Heather’s most iconic roles, earning her spot on many best-of lists, including Rolling Stone’s “40 Greatest TV Villains of All Time”.
24. She Was Ready For Romance
Heather’s life was starting to look up. She was settling into Melrose Place, her divorce was almost final, and there was already a new guy in the picture: Bon Jovi guitarist Ritchie Sambora. Wait, what? Was it really a good idea to plunge into a relationship with another hard-drinking womanizing rock star so soon?
25. She Loves To Be In Love
Apparently Heather was more than ready because she started dating Ritchie Sambora right after her divorce—like right after. According to Heather’s unauthorized biography, it was Ritchie who convinced Heather to leave Tommy and get on with her life…for totally altruistic reasons, of course.
The pair then started dating in February 1994 and married in Paris in December 1994. Whew!
26. She’s A Daddy’s Girl
In an attempt to make it clear that her tumultuous history would not be repeating itself, Heather raved about her new beau. “Ritchie is more like my father,” she said. “He’s very gentle, very kind, loving, and mature—and very supportive. I’ve always wanted to marry my father”.
This could also be the reason Ritchie is the father of Heather’s only child, Ava Sambora.
27. She Suddenly Skedaddled
Eleven years of marriage is an eternity in Hollywood—so Heather’s sudden act of filing for divorce grabbed headlines. A source told People magazine that the busy couple was just having a few “bumpy” months because their careers kept them apart. The truth, however, was much more heartbreaking—especially for Heather.
28. Her Trust Was Destroyed
With endless online opportunities for infidelity, many people are left to wonder what secrets lay within their partner’s devices. Well, Heather confirmed her suspicions. Her heart must have been pounding when she opened Ritchie’s email and found a message containing provocative pictures…the name of the sender was a real kicker…
29. She Was Done Dirty
This betrayal hit hard—because it came from someone in Heather’s inner circle. The person rumored to have sent the raunchy photos to Ritchie was Heather’s “friend” Denise Richards. Heather was “absolutely devastated”. She had worked with Denise’s husband Charlie Sheen on Spin City and the two couples had become close.
Evidently a little too close—as Ritchie ended up dating Denise right after his split from Heather. Sadly, the subsequent years were not kind to Heather…
30. She Entered Her Meltdown Era
Heather was never one to opt for alone time after a big breakup. Case in point, she hooked up with soap opera legend Jack Wagner, her Melrose Place love interest, in April 2007. This was the same month that her divorce from Ritchie was finalized. As dashing as Wagner was, unfortunately, his love could not keep her out of trouble…
31. Her Doctor Went Above And Beyond
2008 was not a good year for Heather. In March, her doctor made two emergency calls in the space of 15 minutes begging the authorities to go check on Heather as he was certain she was going to end her life.
On one of the calls he can even be heard making a heartbreaking plea. He was recorded saying, “I want to know if someone has gone there and if she’s OK”.
32. She Needed Damage Control
In classic Heather style, she brushed off the concerned first responders, claiming it was just a big misunderstanding. The sheriff’s department later said that they didn’t believe her doctor had any reason to lie. Sure enough, two months later, Heather checked into a rehab facility.
With a passive-aggressive press release, that was proof no good deed goes unpunished. It said: “She requested an in-depth evaluation of her medication and entered into a medical facility for proper diagnosis and treatment”. Ouch.
33. She Had A Very Different Photo Shoot
For someone who once played an officer of the law, Heather Locklear was about to get into a lot of trouble. After her four weeks in rehab, someone saw Heather driving so erratically that they called the authorities. Officers pulled her over and charged her for drinking and driving.
She wriggled out of the charges, blaming her driving on prescription meds. Still, this was the first of what would be many mugshots…
34. She Was Becoming A Menace Behind The Wheel
As the saying goes, nothing good happens after 2:00 AM. It holds true, especially if the name on your license is Heather Locklear. In April 2010 at 4:00 AM, a neighbor saw her black BMW jump the curb and plow into a no-parking sign. Heather not only disrupted the silence of her posh gated community, but she also fled the scene without reporting it to authorities.
35. Her Love Life Crumbled
Could there be a correlation between Heather’s reckless behavior and her unraveling relationship with Jack Wagner? Even though Jack had proposed in August of 2011, the pair called it off in November. The final farewell came in late December, though, when someone called the authorities to Wagner’s house after an argument between the couple became physical, according to reports.
In the end, neither pressed charges but the relationship was definitely finito. Heather’s relationship with law enforcement, however, was not.
36. Her Family Was Freaking Out
Heather’s loved ones must have had emergency services on speed dial. Less than a year later, her sister called for help—and what they reported was chilling. They claimed that Heather had consumed a dangerous amount of pills and booze.
Sources blamed her long history with the bottle, the breakup with Jack, and the fact that she had just turned 50. Cue more mayhem after Heather ignored her family’s desperate pleas for her to enter rehab.
37. She Was A Hot Mess
Did the strain of turning 50 drive Heather Locklear to start dating a younger plastic surgeon? That’s exactly what happened in 2013. But immediately after the two broke up, Heather went on a bizarre social media spree. She posted a wedding photo with her ex Tommy Lee, as well as an old photo of them kissing with the caption “Happy 30 years baby”.
Heather didn’t wind up in Tommy’s arms—but she did go running back to a surprising old flame.
38. She Was Blinded By Love (Again)
Expert at all things rebound, after the breakup with her plastic surgeon, Heather rekindled with her high school sweetheart Chris Heisser. She introduced him to the world in 2017 via Instagram saying, “My favorite person on earth. 40 years later”. However, her new lover had a serious dark side.
Heisser has a rap sheet that includes identity theft and over 40 counts of forgery.
39. She Was Battling Her Demons
A new year meant a new attempt at sobriety for Heather Locklear, and in 2017 at the age of 55, she returned to rehab. Everyone was hoping this would be the beginning of brighter days—but it didn’t help the optics when a few days after her first post-rehab public appearance, she drove into a ditch…
40. The Devil Works Hard But Her PR Works Harder
Luckily for Heather, the authorities determined that she hadn’t been drinking or using substances. They also minimized many of the details, including the cause of the crash and the extent of her injuries. Heather avoided getting charged—this time. In only a few months, the boys in blue would be pounding on her door yet again.
41. She Went Way Too Far
Time for another mug shot. In February 2018, Heather’s brother called emergency services during a nasty fight between Heather and her unnamed boyfriend—most likely her high school sweetheart. When law enforcement attempted to take her in, she lashed out, earning four counts of misdemeanor battery on an officer and one charge of resisting.
Oh, she was also banned from owning a firearm for threatening to use one on the officers. But wait, it gets worse…
42. She Was Dangerous
In June of 2018, Heather Locklear went off the rails yet again. One day, her parents could tell that Heather was not in a good place. When they checked on her, chaos ensued. Heather choked her mother, tackled her father, and searched for a firearm so that she could end her own life. Her frantic mother called emergency services but the situation was far from resolved…
43. She Went Way Too Far
When the first responders arrived on the chaotic scene, Heather was allegedly extremely inebriated. They tried to pull her off of her parents, but she violently lashed out at an officer. Then, she struck a paramedic in the chest with her foot.
She was charged with two counts of battery and spent a night in the big house, but tragedy found her immediately after someone bailed her out…
44. She Was At The End Of Her Rope
Some people would kiss the ground after spending a night in lockup, but Heather Locklear was in a very dark place. In what was becoming a pattern, just hours after she was bailed out, an unknown person called emergency responders to her house, yet again. This time it was for a suspected OD. Would this be her moment of clarity?
45. She Edged Away From The Brink, For Now
After coming close to ending it all, Heather realized it was time to take sobriety seriously and checked herself into rehab. She was probably also motivated to be on her best behavior for her sentencing in her battery case which took place in August 2019. The judge sentenced her to a 30-day treatment program, with one big requirement.
If she didn’t complete the program, she’d have to spend four months in the slammer.
46. Her Comeback Was Overdue
After all of her troubles, it seemed that at 60, Heather Locklear was finally turning over a new leaf. She had been sober for two and a half years, she was acting again, she was engaged to her on-again off-again high school sweetheart, and had a good relationship with her daughter Ava.
She even told People that she was “in a great place”—fingers crossed that this time she’d stay the course.
47. She Reconnected With An Ex
We know that Heather likes to go back to her exes, but in May 2023 it was different. Heather Locklear and Ritchie Sambora joined together to support their daughter Ava as she graduated from her Master’s program at USC…with a degree in family therapy. According to a source, Ava’s interest in the topic stems from her own ups and downs.
Unfortunately, Ava would have a bit more worrying to do…
48. Her Paps Hit The Jackpot
Photos and videos don’t lie, and anyone who saw images of Heather’s bizarre behavior in July 2023 feared the worst. In the photoset, a disheveled Heather is talking to herself, holding the side of a building for support, and reading out loud from a notebook. An insider weighed in on the situation for the Daily Mail, and it wasn’t pretty…
49. She Was Skewered By An Insider
The source told the Mail that Heather had likely relapsed—and the reason why was disturbing. They claimed it was because she was never punished appropriately. “Heather got off so easy with no probation or accountability,” the insider said. It “has allowed her to continue to hide out on top of her mountain estate and drink her [booze] body into a much larger unhappier figure”.
Dang! Tell us how you really feel.
50. She’s Hard To Defeat
It would be hard to recover from the world seeing you at your lowest over and over again, but in late September 2023, the paparazzi snapped pics of Heather Locklear out for a walk looking healthy and happy. Was it a scheduled pap walk to ease our minds? Perhaps the butterfly on her baseball hat is a symbolic message that she’s transformed yet again.
If there’s one thing we can be sure of, Heather Locklear is nothing if not resilient.