The Ugliest Breakups in Hollywood History

ByABC News
February 14, 2006, 8:14 AM

Feb. 7, 2006 — -- When Heather Locklear alerted the media last Thursday that she'd filed for divorce, the news hit the Internet, and within an hour, everyone seemed to know except Richie Sambora, her husband of 11 years. But by Hollywood standards, isn't that to be expected?

Hours after the announcement, as I was walking home, I couldn't believe my ears when a colleague at ABC News Radio called to say Richie Sambora was denying the biggest entertainment story of the day -- and insisting that he and Locklear were even making plans for Valentine's Day.

The press release from Locklear's publicist had left little doubt: "After 10 years of marriage, Heather Locklear has filed for divorce from Richie Sambora, This is a private matter and there will be no further comment at this time."

Sambora was in Washington, D.C., preparing for that evening's Bon Jovi show, when ABC's Leah Ricciuti asked him for comment.

"It's completely untrue," he insisted, as if another Internet hoax had been perpetuated -- and that seemed entirely possible in the moments after the interview. Did the media get it wrong?

After all, the press release from CeCe York, Locklear's publicist, said the breakup had come "after 10 years of marriage." Her client and Sambora had actually celebrated their 11th anniversary in December.

Nevertheless, York confirmed that her announcement was genuine, though she offered no further explanation.

Of course, as we tried to make sense of what happened, it only made sense to try to guess at the sort of spiteful games that estranged Hollywood spouses might play with the media to make each other look bad.

The question begged to be asked: Could Sambora be playing dumb? Could he have been pretending not to know his "Spin City" wife had filed for divorce in order to make her look infinitely more coldhearted than anyone on "Dynasty," the '80s primetime soap that brought her to fame as the sexy, conniving Sammy Jo Dean Carrington?

Sambora is, after all, one of the guys who co-wrote, "You Give Love a Bad Name."

But if Sambora were attempting some trick, surely Locklear's camp would have fired back a response, and in the days after the announcement both he and Locklear were mum.