Denise Richards Discusses Her Daughter’s Struggles on ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ Reunion

The long-awaited three-part reunion of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills will be hitting the airwaves soon and fans are chomping at the bit to tune in.

Executive producer and moderator Andy Cohen led the often emotional discussions of Erika Girardi, Dorit Kemsley, Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave, Kyle Richards, Denise Richards, Lisa Rinna, and Camille Grammer. As previously announced, Lisa Vanderpump did not attend the reunion and is not returning to the show, according to Bravo TV.

During the conversation, Denise Richards got emotional when she spoke of her daughter Eloise and the developmental obstacles she’s had to overcome.

Deciding to adopt

Denise adopted Eloise as a single mom in 2011, according to People. Also mom to Sam, 14, and Lola, 13, with ex-husband Charlie Sheen, Denise chose to adopt due to her desire for more children. “I felt like I wasn’t done having children, and I’ve always wanted to have a large family,” she told People in 2012. “And so after my divorce I felt like, ‘Oh well, I’m sure I’ll soon enough get remarried and have my family [grow],’ and that wasn’t in the cards at the time, so I decided to expand my family on my own.”

The actress/reality star said from the start that Sam and Lola took baby Eloise under their wing immediately, and the process gave them a positive view of adoption. “They want to adopt when they get older and become moms,” Denise said in the interview. “I’m so very proud of them that they’ve really embraced Eloise. They’re so protective of her, they play with her, they love watching her grow and change, and so far I haven’t seen any jealousy. They’re the best big sisters,” but added, “but they still haven’t changed any diapers.”

Chromosomal disorder

Denise spoke to People again this past February, discussing the developmental issues Eloise is having to deal with. In the interview, she said that Eloise had a chromosomal disorder which “has caused a lot of developmental delays for her.”

Denise Richards | Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Denise detected a problem when she started noticing that Eloise wasn’t reaching typical milestones through infancy and toddlerhood. “She wasn’t able to sit up on her own for a very long time, and she didn’t start walking until she was 2, and that was with physical therapy,” Denise told People.

Two and a half years ago, Eloise was diagnosed with a deletion in chromosome 8, according to People. “She can only say a handful of words. And there are times when she feels like her age in understanding, and then other times where it feels she’s emotionally 3 years old. It’s been challenging,” Denise shared. Married to Aaron Phypers since September, Denise said she is navigating the challenges of having a special needs child. “I’m learning every day because they don’t really have a road map for her particular case,” she said.

Emotional at the reunion

According to the New York Post, during the highly anticipated reunion Denise shared with her fellow housewives and Cohen the journey she’s been on with Eloise, saying that her 8-year-old daughter is “doing really good” despite her obstacles.

“Eloise has a chromosome disorder,” Denise explained to the group, as reported by the New York Post. “She has a deletion in chromosome 8 which has caused many delays with her and it’s caused a lot with speech development.”

Co-star Girardi asked Denise some questions, including when Eloise was diagnosed. “It was a very difficult thing to diagnose,” Denise explained. “She went through a lot of (expletive). It was really hard. When I saw what was written on the medical report to get the blood test and all the testing done it was hard to see it in black and white.”

Verbalizing the details made Denise emotional, where she began to cry. “It’s just hard to see it with your kid, you know?” Her co-stars reacted with tearful emotion at Denise’s story, as noted by the New York Post. Yet Denise is determined to help Eloise through all of her challenges, telling People, “you take care of your children, no matter what is going on with them.”