Her life is much different compared to what is used to be 15 years ago and Denise Richards couldn’t be happier about it. She’s the proud mom to three kids, a new wife to husband Aaron Phypers and the latest star to make the cast of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills — so things are going quite well for the Wild Things actress!

During a recent Q&A interview with The Local Moms Networkthe 48-year-old opened up about her journey adopting her special needs daughter, 7-year-old Eloise Joni Richards. “To me, it feels like I always had Eloise — there’s no difference between an adopted child or biological child, or Eloise and my older daughters,” Denise explained to the outlet. “I’ve always believed that we choose our parents and she just chose me another way. She’s my daughter and she’s a part of me.”

Denise — who adopted Eloise as a single mother back in 2011 a few years after her divorce from ex-husband Charlie Sheen — is also the proud mama to her biological kids, Sam Sheen, 15, and Lola Rose Sheen, 13. Though Denise’s new hubby, Aaron, 46, took on the role of stepdad to her three kids after they tied the knot this past September, the blonde beauty reassured fans that she and the Two and a Half Men star, 53, still have a very amicable coparenting relationship.

“No matter what was going on with Charlie over the years, I wanted to maintain peace, and I didn’t want the girls to be privy to any discord — that meant never fighting in front of them or talking negatively in front of them about their father,” the Starship Troopers star admitted. “Even during challenging times, I never wanted them to feel in the middle or think badly about their dad.”

Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen during "Scary Movie 3" Premiere
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Denise then offered some kind words of advice for those who are having a hard time coparenting with their ex. “Parents have to come together, even if they don’t want to be in the same room, for their kids,” she explained. “Suck it up — because they didn’t ask to be born into a family that splits and shouldn’t have to deal with parents at each other’s throats. I’m not one where you bash your ex in front of your children. It’s very disrespectful to the kids.” 

She’s a mom to two teenagers, but Denise admitted she’s still learning something new every day about motherhood and parenting. The Blue Mountain State alum admitted that while she considers herself a “fairly strict parent,” she’s still getting used to her girls growing up. “I’m trying to find the balance. Our oldest daughter is a freshman in high school, so [I’m] giving her freedom and keeping consequences in place and keeping her accountable, but also picking my battles,” she shared. “It’s so difficult to be their parent, not their friend, right now. Later I can be their friend.” Denise is such an amazing mom!