Heather Locklear is no longer sweating her return to the medium that made her a household name.
The “Melrose Place” alum is making her TV comeback with a new Lifetime flick produced by former “The View” co-host Meghan McCain — and Amanda “Bitch” Woodward looks very different this time around.
Fully shedding the sexy ’80s nymphet style that endured for decades after her “Dynasty” and “T.J. Hooker” debut, Locklear, 59, is charting wholesome new territory in the upcoming “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: The Kristine Carlson Story.”
The drama is based on the inspirational book of the same name, co-authored by Kristine and her late husband, Dr. Richard Carlson, which spent more than 100 weeks on best-seller lists and is still considered one of the fastest-selling reads of all time with over 15 million copies sold worldwide.
The veteran actress opened up Tuesday during Lifetime’s Fall Movies promo event about her fear of returning to the small screen — in an against-type role no less — after four years away.
“The challenging part of it was so fearful for me,” Locklear said of her first acting role since she experienced much public scrutiny in 2018 after an “overdose,” followed by a rehab stint and her arrest for the alleged assault of an EMT worker called to her home during a domestic dispute.
“Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” marks her return to the screen after she last appeared in the Tyler Perry series “Too Close to Home,” from 2016 to 2017 on TLC.
To prepare for the film, the “Perfect Man” star consulted with the real-life Kristine herself, namely for an emotional scene where Locklear’s character learns her husband died of a pulmonary embolism.
“She said, ‘It’s almost like a child dying’ — and that stopped me in my tracks,” explained Locklear — mother to Ava Sambora, her 23-year-old daughter with Bon Jovi guitarist and ex-husband Richie Sambora, 62. At first, she wasn’t sure if she could access the feelings to deliver the scene — but Locklear said she ultimately “felt very safe” and delivered the goods on camera.
Locklear later spoke about how coming back to filming ended up being “so easy” for her after a public hiatus. “I don’t know why I was so fearful of memorizing lines, how about getting emotion across,” she said of the challenges she conquered.
Food Network star, fellow ’80s “it girl” actress and friend Valerie Bertinelli, 61, soon to be seen in an equally against-type role as Demi Lovato’s mom in the NBC sitcom “Hungry,” gave her much encouragement to get back into the acting game. Locklear said it “felt really good to hear from someone else fearing the way I feared.”
The “Spin City” actress was last spotted back in June looking fresh-faced when she was snapped by paparazzi going makeup-free while getting a bite to eat. In 2020, Locklear celebrated a big milestone — one year of sobriety. A friend of the actress told People at the time that “she is doing great and looks great.”
“She is gardening and taking walks and cooking like a fiend,” the friend said, noting that Locklear cooks for her elderly parents. “It’s so thoughtful. She’s strong and clear-headed and she’s thoughtful about others.”
“Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” will drop Oct. 16 on Lifetime.