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May 03, 2006

Sambora / Richards...Locklear? 26

The DaBitchy Code
Jenice Armstrong | The DaBitchy Code

LIFE'S SO MUCH easier when you follow the rules.

For instance, love thy neighbor - but don't make love with thy neighbor's wife or husband, as actress Denise Richardsapparently has been doing with Heather Locklear'shusband, rocker Richie Sambora.

And when thy friend - in this case, Locklear - comes to you with her marital problems, don't goad her into divorcing her husband so you can get your hooks into him.

And if you're foolish enough to marry a bad boy such as actor Charlie Sheen, don't be surprised to discover that he has a taste for underage Internet porn or that he threatens to kill you one day, as Sheen is alleged to have done. It goes with the territory.

Richards, who's at the center of a juicy love triangle, has scandalized even cynical Hollywood - not because she's an adulteress but because she broke yet another rule: the Girlfriend Code. That's the unwritten but almighty edict that friends - especially those as close as Locklear and Richards were - don't get romantically involved with their friend's man.

It's the ultimate betrayal, and can be even more devastating than the death of the love affair itself. Unfortunately, such betrayals are not at all uncommon. I was chatting last week with Philly novelist Daaimah S. Poole, who immediately began sharing similar stories she'd heard. One involved two women raised as sisters. Another, close friends.

It makes you wonder about the sheer desperation of women who stoop so low. Why are they so hard up to have a guy that they'll jeopardize a friendship with another female just for a shot at a cheat? Where's their sense of honor or morality?

For answers, I turned to Susan Shapiro Barash, a gender-studies professor at Marymount University in New York, who has written nine books about women.

"The sense is that it's worth taking a risk for the guy while female friends are a dime a dozen. Guys are rare," she explained. "If we really valued our female friends, then we wouldn't think so little of stealing our best friend's husband."

When conducting the research for her newest book, "Tripping the Prom Queen: The Truth About Women and Rivalry" (St. Martin's Press, $22.95), Barash found that 40 percent of the 500 women she interviewed had been the victim of a love triangle involving a sister or friend. Another 25 percent admitted having played Richards' role of being the spoiler.

What makes Richards' back-stabbing so unsettling is that she and Locklear used to be such close friends. Sources say that Richards got even closer to Locklear and Sambora as they helped her deal with all of her marital woes with Sheen. Meanwhile, Locklear and Sambora were having problems of their own.

In February, Locklear filed for divorce. Then, on April 22, Richards was photographed kissing and flirting with Sambora. Locklear is devastated, as any woman would be.

Given that we women tend to live longer than men, female relationships sometimes are the one constant we can count on. Close female friendships can substitute for family and sustain us through the ups and downs of life, especially when love goes wrong as it so often does.

"It shows that something is lacking in Denise Richards. There's something wrong with her," said Laurie Puhn, a New York City-based lawyer and relationship expert. "She would do anything for the need to feel loved. That need to feel loved was overreaching, overreaching any other values she had.

"We can take a look at this and say this isn't going to last. She lost a friend and she lost a lot of people's respect," Puhn added.

All because she didn't follow the rules. *

Posted by riesambo at May 3, 2006 10:23 AM