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Denise Richards on why she chose to put her developmentally delayed daughter on reality TV.

“I’ve been in this business for a long time, so it’s a big deal for me to still be surprised.”

“Surprised” is the only way actress, model, and author Denise Richards can describe her initial baptism into the world of reality TV, when she became one of the stars of  The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and discovered the show was in no way scripted.

“It’s not even softly scripted, so that was a surprise to me,” the 48-year-old reality TV star told Mamamia while in Sydney. “I really like that because they keep it all very real. When you put together a group of women who are all strong, things are obviously going to come up where we have different opinions and sometimes things get heated.

“Look, there’s definitely a group chat going on between us all when the new episodes run, so if something comes up then we’ll talk about it.”

The actress is not kidding around when she says she’s a veteran of the entertainment industry. She was launched to stardom in 1997 in the blockbuster film Starship Troopers. She then followed that up with one of the most talked about flicks of the 90’s, Wild Things (I’ll save you a Google, yes, that’s the one where she has a threesome with Neve Campbell) before becoming a Bond Girl in The World Is Not Enough opposite Pierce Brosnan.

After she married her first husband Charlie Sheen, however, and he went through a very public meltdown her name became just as synonymous with tabloid fodder as it did with film credits and her only recourse was just to withdraw from the conversation as much as she could.

"I’ve been in this business for a long time, so it’s a big deal for me to still be surprised” The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star told Mamamia. Source: Foxtel and hayu.

"There have been so many stories about me over the years so I don’t read the tabloids now," she told Mamamia. "When I was going through a very public divorce I had to block everything out because I didn’t want any part of it."

Of course, when she was cast in the wildly popular The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills she knew she was further inviting cameras and press into the lives of her daughters,  Sam, 14 and Lola, 13, who she shares with Sheen and eight-year-old Eloise, who she adopted as a single parent in 2011.

So much so, that in February of this year she decided to speak for the first time about Eloise's chromosomal disorder, which she said “has caused a lot of developmental delays for her" in an interview with People.

She said she first noticed that Eloise wasn’t reaching typical milestones for babies when she wasn’t able to sit up on her own for a very long time and that she didn’t start walking until she was two years old with the help of psychical therapy.

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Her words about her daughter were quickly picked up by numerous publications around the world and triggered an outpouring of words, questions and sympathy form fans and parents alike on her social media channels.

While Denise said that her two older daughters and her new husband Aaron Phypers can choose when and how they appear on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills things have been a little different with Eloise and her appearances in the series.

"I was very touched by the support I've received after coming out about my daughter," Denise told Mamamia. "I made the decision to do that because doing this kind of show, she’s going to be filmed and I just wanted to put it out there that things are challenging and talk about delays that she has.

"It’s different with her (compared to my older daughters) because she’s younger. Even though she’s eight years old, she doesn’t have the maturity to understand and she has a lot of delays. So she’s not really aware of everything that's going on and what it means. She sees the camera, and I tell her, but she doesn’t have the same understanding as my other daughters do.

"I was just so touched by all the people in similar situations who have reached out to me about her and I’m very happy that I have a platform to be able to talk about it.

"I was very touched by the support I've received after coming out about my daughter," Denise told Mamamia. Source: Getty.

"Raising kids is is challenging, especially with kids who are going into young adulthood and all the mistakes we make as parents.

"I actually didn’t know my older daughters watched my show. That’s a real challenge for me because I don’t want to censor myself on the show by thinking about my daughters watching it. It’s a fine line that I have to walk with that.

"There are conversations we’ve had to have, where they have watched the show without me knowing. They saw it because they were at a friend’s house and their friend's parents had it on. So it makes for an awkward conversation at family dinner when they bring up the show.

"I’m sure I say things on there they probably wish I didn’t, but we’re human and that’s part of being on a reality TV show."

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills streams on Foxtel and hayu, same day as the US. New episodes every Wednesday.

For more stories like this, you can follow Mamamia Entertainment Editor Laura Brodnik on Facebook.  You can also visit our newsletter page and sign up to “TV and Movies”  for a backstage pass to the best movies, TV shows and celebrity interviews (see one of her newsletters here). 

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