"In the situation with the show, they are in it very minimal. The thing is, I've been singled out. There hasn't been one reality show with a family where there are no kids," said Richards as a guest on Wednesday's The View broadcast. "There's Jon and Kate Plus 8 [on TLC], there's Kimora Lee Simmons' [Style network show], there's the Kardashians' [Keeping Up with the Kardashians E! reality show]. Every reality show has children in it and mine are very minimal."
Scheduled to debut Monday, May 26, Denise Richards: It's Complicated will follow the 36-year-old actress and single mom in her everyday life, which includes caring for her 3-year-old Sam and 2-year-old Lola -- whom she had with her ex-husband Charlie Sheen.
"It's a chance for me to work at home," said Richards about It's Complicated. "I'm a single mom raising two little girls, and movies shoot on location a lot of times. So I get to be home. I don't want someone else raising my kids. They come first before any job. So people can say what they want, but I get to work at home and raise my children."
Richards added her mom passing away in December due to cancer also contributed to her decision to do the reality show.
"For me the timing's good. I've been approached the last few years, but I've had a horrible -- horrible -- last three years. I watched my mom die," she said. "My mom really wanted me to do the show. She was wanting the public to see who I really am."
While It's Complicated was being developed, Sheen refused to allow Sam and Lola to appear onscreen due to what he felt was "exploitative of the children for the mother's own vanity and greed." However Richards said her ex wasn't initially so disagreeable.
"The fact of the matter is when I went to him I needed a waiver for E! Television so they know that both parents consent to it," she explained. "Charlie had no problem, he signed the waiver. Then he changed his mind and he wanted me to agree to custody changes that he wanted. One has nothing to do with the other. I wasn't going to sacrifice the protection I had in place for the show. So I asked the judge."
Richards subsequently got the okay in Los Angeles Superior Court to allow the two children to appear in the show.
"My kids are in it very little. They're not child actors," she said. "I'm not forcing them to do anything. If they said, 'You know mom, I can't stand all these people here.' I'd say, 'It's done.' They're my first priority."
Richards wed Sheen in June 2002 before filing for divorce from the actor in March 2005.
"I filed for divorce actually when I was six-months pregnant with Lola," Richards said on The View. "After I had her, I was very vulnerable. I had two babies and just wanted to know that I did everything I could to make the marriage and the family unity work. I had a lot of guilt splitting up our family -- I didn't come from a family of divorce."
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While the couple briefly reconciled, they moved forward with their divorce in January 2007 and it was finalized in November.
"There's a lot that the public doesn't know. I've never publicly said what happened," she said about the divorce. "I filed a court document, which I got a lot of flack for -- people saying I aired our dirty laundry. But at that point I was a mom who was protecting my children and I didn't know what's going to be public, what's going to be sealed -- that I have no control over. I was a mom protecting my children and it's turned into what it's turned into. It's devastating."
Despite having their personal life become public fodder, Richards said she's hopeful there's a day when she and Sheen can at least be amicable.
"Everything's a battle, and I hope that one day he and I can get to a place where we can co-parent together," she said. "This is not a healthy situation for my kids."
Richards described the current climate of her life as "calmer," and said part of that has to do with her father recently moving in to live with her.
"He's amazing. We're so close," said Richards about her dad. "He was married to my mom for 37 years and they were really happily married."