Actress Tawny Kitaen has died at the age of 59. The California native was known for appearing in a slew of music ’80s music videos and movies, notably alongside Tom Hanks for the 1984 classic Bachelor Party. She was listed as Tawny Finley by the Orange County coroner’s office, who stated she died at her Newport Beach area home on Friday, May 7, according to Variety. No cause of death has been revealed.
Her daughters Wynter, 28, and Raine, 22, issued a statement about the tragic passing of their mother. “We are heartbroken and saddened to announce the death of our mom,” they said to TMZ on Saturday, May 8. “We just want to say thank you for all of you, her fans and her friends, for always showing her such support and love. You gave her life everyday. We miss her and love her and we know her legacy will live on forever,” they added. Learn more about Tawny below.
She was from California
Tawny was born Julie E. “Tawny” Kitaen on August 5, 1961 in San Diego, California. Tawny was one of three children born to her parents Terry and Linda Taylor Kitaen. After dropping out of Mission Bay High School, she moved moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting. She remained in the Southern California area throughout her life.
She struggled with substance abuse
Tawny was open about her struggles with substance abuse, particularly cocaine. She was charged with possession of the drug in Nov. 2006 at her Orange County home, prompting her to enter a six-month rehab facility for six months.
As a result of completing the program, her felony drug possession charge was dropped. In 2009, Tawny was arrested for driving under the influence, and was later sentenced to to two days in jail and 64 hours of community service. She documented her struggles on shows like Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew in 2009.
She was an actress
Tawny decided to pursue a career in entertainment after seeing Peter Frampton at Balboa Stadium in San Diego when she was just 14. The budding star got a first-hand look at the “VIP” lifestyle with a backstage pass, TMZ says.
In addition to the 1984 classic Bachelor Party, Tawny had roles in movies like White Hot, Dead Tides and Witchboard — even appearing in Seinfeld episode “The One With The Nose Job.” Beyond movies, she appeared in a slew of music videos — including RATT’s “Back for More” and Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again” in 1987 with ex-husband David Cloverdale. Other music video credits include “Still of the Night,” “Is This Love” and “The Deeper the Love.”
She was married twice
Tawny married musician and Whitesnake lead singer David Coverdale in Feb. 1989, however, the pair divorced in 1991. She later married Los Angeles Angels (then the California Angels) star Chuck Finley in 1997. The couple welcomed two daughters together, Wynter in March 1993 (now 28), and Raine in 1998 (now 22). Tawny and Chuck divorced in 2002.
She had an affair with OJ Simpson
O.J. Simpson had an affair with Tawny, according to Faye Resnick‘s 1994 book Nicole Brown Simpson: The Private Diary of a Life Interrupted. Resnick details the incident in which Nicole confronted O.J., then “savagely beat” her. During a cross examination during the trial following Nicole’s death, O.J. admitted that he had a one-year affair with Tawny and did tell Nicole about it, according to Associated Press.