Heather Locklear: What Happened To The ’80s Icon?

By Rick Gonzales | 2 months ago

heather locklear

Heather Locklear has been a part of a number of high-profile TV series, but she may be better known for her high-profile marriages. We haven’t seen the actress in some time, so what has she been up to?


heather locklear young

Heather Locklear came out of UCLA guns a blazin. She knew being an actress was her future, so she made it her present in the early ‘80s with small roles on TV series such as CHiPS, 240-Robert, and Eight is Enough. Locklear also was part of two movies made for television, The Return of the Beverly Hillbillies and Twirl, before she met the man who would make her career.



Even though her resume was not impressive early on, Heather Locklear caught the eye of mega-producer Aaron Spelling. He liked what he saw so he invited her to join the long-running hit series Dynasty during the show’s second season. At first, her role was recurring as Sammy Jo, the conniving niece of Krystle Carrington (Linda Evans). Her character was very well hated for her machinations. Greed is her motivating factor as she beds Blake (John Forsythe’s) gay son, Steven, resulting in her pregnancy and claim on some of the Carrington money.

Dynasty was not the only Aaron Spelling production Heather Locklear was involved in. During her first few years on Dynasty, she also appeared in the long-running William Shatner-led series T.J. Hooker. She appeared in nearly every episode as a series regular and when the series ended after five seasons, she was elevated to a series regular on Dynasty.

Heather Locklear would return to her Dynasty roots one more time on the TV mini-series, Dynasty: The Reunion, a 1991 two-parter that cleaned up the cliffhangers when the series ended in 1989.


melrose place

Heather Locklear’s long-standing relationship with producer Spelling continued after both Dynasty and T.J. Hooker ended. In 1993, Locklear took on what may be her best-known role as Amanda Woodward in another of Spelling’s long-running hit series, Melrose Place.

Melrose Place lasted seven seasons and it was the epitome of nighttime soap operas, filled with sex, backstabbing, and schlocky storylines. Locklear’s presence was at first to be a rating booster, which was accomplished, but her character was so disliked that she was kept on as a series regular, though her billing was always that of a “special guest star.” Her time on Melrose Place was marked by Locklear receiving four consecutive Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress – Television Series Drama.

During her association with Spelling, Heather Locklear has appeared in a total of eight Spelling-produced projects. Dynasty, T. J. Hooker, Matt Houston, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Hotel, Melrose Place, and even a TV movie titled Rich Men, Single Women.


spin ciy heather locklear

Nighttime soap operas were not the only thing in Heather Locklear’s wheelhouse. She also had a penchant for comedy and did quite well on a few notable TV sitcoms. Going Places was her first jump into the TV sitcom landscape, but that series lasted but one season. As Melrose Place took up much of her time, Locklear wouldn’t try her hand at sitcoms again until 1999 when she joined the Michael J. Fox series Spin City. She played opposite Fox until he left the series for medical reasons, then she played counter to Charlie Sheen, who took over for Fox. Her role won her two more Golden Globe nominations, this time for Best Actress in a Television Series – Comedy.

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With comedy being her new calling, Heather Locklear joined the sitcom Scrubs on a recurring role. She also appeared on Two and a Half Men, Rules of Engagement, and Hot In Cleveland.



Heather Locklear would return to the world of Melrose Place one more time. The new series was to introduce a younger generation of stars and Locklear was there to mentor them. Unfortunately for those involved, which included original series regulars such as Locklear, Thomas Calabro, Josie Bissett, Laura Leighton, and Daphne Zuniga, fans didn’t accept the new generation, and The CW series was cancelled after one season.


heather locklear swamp thing

With all her success on the small screen, it was only a matter of time before Heather Locklear would also give feature films a go. Her first role was a small part as Drew Barrymore’s mother in the 1984 movie, Stephen King’s Firestarter. Locklear wouldn’t hit the feature film circuit again until the 1989 campy film, The Return of Swamp Thing.

Throughout her career, though, even with all the notoriety she was gaining on TV, Locklear continued to press her luck on features, to some degree of success. She was seen in movies such as The Big Slice, Wayne’s World 2, Money Talks, Double Tap, Uptown Girls, and Game of Life. Nothing mind-blowing, but Locklear did show the ability to handle features.


heather locklear music video

With everything Heather Locklear had going for her on the small screen, and to some extent on the big screen, she is probably more famous for her off-screen antics. By that, we mean her two high-profile marriages.

Her first was to Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, a marriage that lasted seven years, ending in 1993. It was stormy from the start and Locklear obviously didn’t learn her lesson, as evidenced by her next relationship.

Shortly after Locklear and Lee’s marriage dissolved, she began dating Bon Jovi lead guitarist Richie Sambora. The couple moved quickly and tied the knot in December 1994. This one lasted almost 13 years before the two called it quits in 2007. During their marriage, Locklear had her only child, Ava, in 1997.



Heather Locklear’s personal life has also been beset with trouble. In 2008, 9-1-1 was called to Locklear’s residence on the fear that she tried to commit suicide. When emergency responders arrived, Locklear was fine, though they reported it looked like the call was genuine. Later that same year, Locklear checked herself into a medical facility in Arizona for anxiety and depression.

After spending four weeks in the facility, Locklear found herself in more trouble when she was arrested for driving under the influence. She pleaded no-contest and the DUI charges were dropped.

2012 saw Locklear once again was in the hospital for a possible suicide attempt, though at the time her parents claimed differently.

2018 was not a good year for Locklear. Early in it, she was arrested for domestic violence on her boyfriend and also battery against a police officer. When sheriff deputies arrived at her home, she kicked three of them while also threatening to shoot them if they ever show up at her house again.

Later that summer, Locklear was arrested once again, this time on two counts of battery against first responders. When they arrived from a call that Locklear was overdosing, she greeted them by kicking them.


fresh off the boat

Since her last run in with the law, first responders and such, Heather Locklear has led a thankfully quite life. After her 2017 roles on the sitcom Fresh Off the Boat and the series Too Close to Home, it looked like Locklear’s legal troubles were keeping her away from work. She made her return to professional acting in 2021 with the release of the Lifetime TV movie Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: The Kristine Carlson Story. The biopic put Locklear in the titular role of a woman trying to recover and raise two children alone after the death of her husband.