Actress and reality-TV star Tawny Kitaen, who became an icon of the 1980s hair-band era for her appearances in Whitesnake music videos, has died at the age of 59, according to her family. In a post made to Kitaen’s verified Instagram account on May 8, her daughters Wynter and Raine wrote, “We are heartbroken and saddened to announce the death of our mom. 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.”
Born Julie Kitaen in 1961, Kitaen’s modeling and acting career took off in the early 1980s after appearing on the album covers of her boyfriend Robbin Crosby’s band Ratt. From there, she went on to an acting career, starring opposite Tom Hanks in the 1984 sex comedy Bachelor Party and in the 1986 cult horror movie Witchboard. Kitaen rose to MTV icon status when she danced on the hood of Whitesnake’s car in the “Here I Go Again” video in 1987, which was followed by appearances in the music videos for Whitesnake’s “Still of the Night,” “Is This Love,” and “The Deeper the Love” music videos. In 1989, she married the band’s lead singer, David Coverdale, whom she divorced in 1991. In the 1990s, she continued to act in sitcoms like Seinfeld and The New WKRP in Cincinnati, and had a co-hosting role on America’s Funniest People. In the 2000s, after divorcing her second husband, Chuck Finley, Kitaen had a brief career in reality television, appearing on VH1 series like The Surreal Life and Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew. According to Variety, Kitaen died in her home in Newport Beach on the morning of Friday, May 7.