The former child actress and current star of television's "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" was hospitalized last week for pneumonia and bronchitis. This latest hospital stay comes shortly after Richards relapsed with prescription painkillers.
The actress had been sober for three years prior to the relapse.
Richards' alcoholism and drug use has been a reoccuring topic throughout the last three seasons of Real Housewives. The actress says she went to rehab in 2011 and maintained her sobriety up until the recent relapse.
But her costars on Real Housewives say that Richards' odd and sometimes violent behavior had them questioning whether the 50 year old was always sober. One incident that raised doubts about Richards' sobriety involved a physical fight between the actress, her sister Kyle, and another Real Housewives cast member.
Nevertheless, Richards' took to her blog last week to describe her health problems, saying that the pneumonia and bronchitis she had been struggling with for weeks led her to taking prescription pain pills. She admitted that her choice to take the drugs was a careless one and a mistake that she had learned an important lesson from.
Richards is currently under a lot of pressure. Her ex husband Monty Brinson is undergoing chemotherapy and preparations for her daughter's upcoming wedding are underway.
The stress of family matters along with growing tension among her Real Housewives costars (which includes sister Kyle) may have contributed to the actress' relapse. Fans of the show are hoping that Richards gets healthy again and returns soon.
Richards got her start as an actress in the 1970's when she starred in the television series "Nanny and the Professor". She then went on to star in a number of popular Disney films, including Escape To Witch Mountain, No Deposit, No Return, and Return From Witch Mountain.
Richards also appeared in a number of other films and television shows, including Little House On The Prairie, Diff'rent Strokes, and Magnum P.I. Richards showed a high level of acting ability and versatility at a young age by starring in children's movies as well as television comedies and thrillers. Her acting career slowed a bit as an adult with only a handful of roles.
Beginning in 2002, Richards began making appearances in films once again and also became a full time cast member on "The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills".
Richards has been married twice and has four children. She dated salesman John J. Collett who was murdered by a hitman while speaking to Richards on the phone.
Richards was devastated by the loss of her partner.
Richards' half sister is Kathy Hilton, mother of Paris and Nicky Hilton.
Throughout the course of The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills, Richards has been open about her struggles with alcoholism and prescription drug use. Her castmates doubts about her sobriety has created drama on the show.
They say Richards' erratic and confusing behavior is a clear indication of someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Their accusations, along with Richards' reactions, have fueled much of the drama on the show.
Oftentimes denial is one of the biggest indicators of prescription drug abuse. Richards was open about her recent relapse, but maintains her earlier claim that she stayed sober for three years after she left rehab.
Viewers are eager to see how the drama between Richards and her castmates will unfold once she regains her health and returns to the show. Hopefully the actress can get back on track with her recovery and maintain her health.