Heather Locklear was probably one of the most prolific actresses on television from 1980 to around 2005. Guest appearances on multiple popular shows, her own starring roles in sitcoms and dramas, along with quite a few roles in major features made her a massive pull for any Hollywood production, but she’s unfortunately been absent from the screen lately.
Born in Los Angeles in 1961, her mother a production executive and her father a college admin, Heather had everything she needed to jump on the nepo-baby train and ride the easy life to stardom. Locklear decided differently though, eschewing the child star route and finishing school in peace before going off to attend UCLA.
Detectives and Dynasties
She would end up discovering a love of acting later in her teen years, joining drama club and dropping out of college not long into her education to become an actress instead. Initially cast in small guest roles on shows like Chips, it wouldn’t be long before Heather would land her first recurring role on the primetime drama Dynasty as Sammy Jo, niece to main character Krystle.
While her role would only be recurring on Dynasty starting in 1981, she would quickly hop into a regular starring role on the police drama TJ Hooker the following year, starring alongside William Shatner. Shatner played the title role, a hard-boiled badass cop with a sense of justice, while Heather Locklear would play officer Stacy, a younger recruit to the force. The show is just as melodramatic and unintentionally funny as you would expect.
Locklear gained massive success between the two roles, appearing in eighty-five episodes of TJ Hooker until the series ended in 1986, quickly moving over and turning her recurring Dynasty role into a regular one. Even while starring in both shows she managed to also make film appearances in blockbusters like Firestarter in 1984.
Going Places (Slowly)
Dynasty would carry her until the end of the decade, finishing out with a plot about Nazi gold (this was a family drama) just in time for Heather Locklear to land a role in a new show called Going Places alongside Alan Ruck and Staci Keanan. The show went nowhere and was canceled after one season with Locklear moving on to finish out Dynasty with a two-part miniseries the same year.
Heather would famously find love with Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee, marrying in 1986. Considering it was Tommy Lee, the marriage lasted longer than it had any right to, with the two divorcing in 1993.
The early 90s became a strange liminal space for Heather, not quite finding a place to settle as she had for the last decade. A few made for television movies here and there, most of them ‘meh’ at best ranging to ‘who the hell wrote this’ at worst. She would finally find steady footing again in 1993 with the drama Melrose Place, originally a spinoff of the popular Beverly Hills, 90210 that grew into a whole separate monster.
The success of Melrose’s first season and a new love would help elevate Heather’s year in 1994 when she married Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora. The couple would have a daughter together in 1997.
Living at Melrose Place
Melrose Place would run until 1999, with early seasons leading to additional big-screen roles for her in the late 90s as well. Upon the end of Melrose Place Heather immediately took up residence with former co-star Alan Ruck and Michael J. Fox in Spin City for season four. She would be a regular on the show through the switch from Fox to Sheen (like trading a shiny Rayquaza for a Spearow made of cocaine, in Pokemon terms) and the eventual end of the series in 2002.
The 2000s would find Heather adrift in Hollywood, landing a few film roles like in Uptown Girls or Looney Tunes: Back in Action starring motherf-king OSCAR WINNER Brendan Fraser alongside drag-icon Bugs Bunny. While the films would do moderately with critics and the box office, Heather Locklear began to have struggles with her mental health and personal life that lead to multiple admissions for treatment.
Through all this she was also dealing with a divorce from her husband Richie Sambora and a custody battle for their daughter, eventually settling and finding new love with former Melrose Place costar Jack Wagner in 2007. She would end up also starring in the failed Melrose Place revival on the CW at the end of the decade.
Rough patches of mental health and personal issues continued for Locklear, leading to a DUI charge (despite no alcohol or narcotics in her system) and a split from Wagner in 2011 and Locklear entering treatment again.
What is Heather Locklear Doing Now?
Things weren’t necessarily the same after that, with Locklear taking on only small roles like Hot in Cleveland and a ten-episode run on Franklin and Bash. She probably prefers not to remember her part in Scary Movie V. I don’t think anyone wants to remember Scary Movie V.
Heather would only take a few smaller roles in the later 2010s on shows like Fresh Off the Boat and Too Close to Home. Since then her only credit has been in a Lifetime movie playing Kristine Carlson in 2021. She hasn’t announced any retirement from acting but mostly seems to be just taking it easy and at her own pace. Instead, she’s focusing on her mental health and a re-sparked romance with a highschool-sweetheart she reconnected with in 2020, posting often about him and her daughter on Instagram.