NEW YORK, Nov. 17 (UPI) — Troubled actor Charlie Sheen confirmed Tuesday media reports stating he is HIV-positive.
The 50-year-old celebrity is the father of five children, the son of beloved actor Martin Sheen and the brother of actor/filmmaker Emilio Estevez.
“I’m here to admit that I am, in fact, HIV-positive,” Charlie Sheen said after thanking Today show interviewer Matt Lauer and his producing team for their time and compassion.
“I have to put a stop to this on-slaught, this barrage of attacks and of sub-truths and very harmful and mercurial stories about threatening the health of others, which couldn’t be farther from the truth,” said the actor, who was well-dressed in a navy suit and appeared sober during the interview.
Sheen then explained he was diagnosed with the disease about four years ago and only told those he trusted about his condition.
“It’s a hard three letters to absorb,” he added. “It’s a turning point in one’s life.”
Sheen said he decided to speak out now because he was tired of being blackmailed by several people who demanded cash in exchange for their silence. He did not specify how many people he has paid off, but did say he has spent millions of dollars trying to keep the secret.
“What people forget is that’s money that they are taking from my children. They think it’s just me, but I’ve got five children and a granddaughter,” he said.
Coming up…@CharlieSheen sits down with @MLauer to make a revealing personal announcement. pic.twitter.com/Q24SBHUQJb— TODAY (@TODAYshow) November 17, 2015
Sheen enjoyed early success on the big screen in films such as Lucas, Platoon, Wall Street, Young Guns, Eight Men Out, Major League, Hot Shots and The Three Musketeers. He later became a popular sitcom star in the shows Spin City, Two and a Half Men and Anger Management.
However, his once-bright career became eclipsed by reports of his erratic behavior, drug use and brushes with the law.
People magazine said Sheen’s ex-wife — actress Denise Richards — has long been aware of his HIV-positive status, however neither she nor their young daughters were infected with the disease.
“She’s known Charlie was HIV-positive for a number of years,” a source told the magazine.
“He was infected after they divorced, and they haven’t been intimate since,” the insider said. “Neither she nor their daughters [Sam, 11, and Lola, 9] are HIV-positive.”
“My heart hurts. Prayers for Charlie and his family,” Heather Locklear, Sheen’s former co-star on Spin City, said in an Instagram post Monday after NBC announced it had booked Sheen for an exclusive interview amid reports of his health crisis.