Julie "Tawny" Kitaen (born August 5, 1961) is an American actress and media personality in Southern California. Julie Kitaen was born in San Diego, California in 1961 to a Jewish-American father, Terry Kitaen, who was an employee of a neon sign company, and Linda Taylor Kitaen, a housewife and a former beauty pageant queen. Julie began using the name "Tawny" at the age of twelve, on her own initiative.
Kitaen attended Pacific Beach Junior High and Mission Bay High School in San Diego but never graduated. Kitaen is 5' 7" (1.70 m) tall.
Kitaen's first significant work away from home was in modeling.
She began her acting career in 1983 with a minor role in a television movie, Malibu. In 1984, she starred as the title character of the erotic-adventure movie the Perils of Gwendoline (a.k.a. Gwendoline). She also co-starred in the movie Bachelor Party as the bride-to-be of a young Tom Hanks and was the star of the 1986 horror movie Witchboard.
Kitaen soon became associated with the "glam metal" scene due to her dating a "high school" sweetheart, Ratt guitarist and founder Robbin Crosby. Her legs appeared on the cover of Ratt's self-titled EP wearing black stockings and red pumps, pictured with white rats. Then, in ripped-up clothes, she appeared on the cover of Ratt's Out of the Cellar. She also can be seen at the beginning of the Ratt video "Back for More" as the girl in the 50s-style skirt at the juke box.
In 1987, depicting her budding love with David Coverdale, the lead singer of Whitesnake, she appeared in several of the band's music videos. Probably most famous was "Here I Go Again," in which she did the splits and rolled around on the hood of a Jaguar wearing a white negligee. She also appeared in the videos for Whitesnake's "Is This Love" and "Still of the Night". In 1989, she appeared in videos for "Fool For Your Loving" and "The Deeper The Love." Kitaen married Coverdale in 1989, but the two divorced in 1991.
Riding the publicity from her music-video appearances, Kitaen took on a number of television roles. She was co-host of America's Funniest People with Dave Coulier from 1992 to 1994, and she was a regular cast member on The New WKRP in Cincinnati from 1991 to 1993. She guest-starred in an episode of the sitcom Seinfeld in 1991 and in an episode of Married... with Children in 1994. She had a recurring role as Deianira in three of the Kevin Sorbo Hercules television movies in 1994, and then in the regular television series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. From 1992 until 1996, she provided the voice of "Annabelle" in the animated television show Eek! The Cat.
After her marriage to Coverdale ended, Kitaen was romantically linked at various times to Tommy Lee, O.J. Simpson, Jerry Seinfeld, Chuck Finley, and Jon Stewart. She married baseball pitcher Chuck Finley in 1997. They had two daughters — Wynter Finley in 1993 and Raine Finley in 1996 — and appeared in a feature of professional athletes and their wives in the 1999 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Kitaen was one of the cast of the sixth edition of The Surreal Life, a reality television show on VH1, which began airing in March 2006. Notably, in one episode of the show, she verbally attacked Florence Henderson of The Brady Bunch fame to the dismay of her fellow cast mates and the studio audience. In the season finale, she blew up over a phone call when she was told that her fiance had her assistant, Kevin, fired because Kevin was going to tell Kitaen that her fiance was allegedly having an affair with her manager.
Kitaen will appear in the second season the VH1 reality TV show, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, which will appear in October 2008.
On December 13, 2001, Kitaen was arrested in Newport Beach, California, for allegedly vandalizing an automobile.
On April 1, 2002, she was arrested again in Newport Beach and then charged with domestic abuse and battery for attacking her husband, Chuck Finley, while the two were driving home. Kitaen reportedly kicked Finley several times with her high-heeled boots, and severely twisted his ear, leaving visible marks. Finley filed for divorce three days after this incident.
Kitaen admitted shortly afterwards in court filings that she had become addicted to prescription medications for depression and migraine headaches. Finley was granted a temporary restraining order against Kitaen and temporary custody of their children, and also as part of a criminal plea agreement, Kitaen was required to undergo substance abuse, anger management and conflict resolution counseling and to make a $500 donation to a battered-women's shelter in exchange for the dismissal of two misdemeanor counts of spousal abuse.
In November 2006, prosecutors charged Kitaen with possessing 15 grams of cocaine in her San Juan Capistrano home in Orange County. They said her two children were home at the time, and Kitaen had given deputies permission for the search. In December 2006, she entered a six-month rehabilitation program in exchange for the dismissal of a felony drug possession charge.