Charlie Sheen admits he is HIV-positive
FORMER Two And A Half Men star Charlie Sheen admitted yesterday he is HIV-positive.
Sheen, 50, told NBC's Today show in a television interview that he was diagnosed about four years ago.
"I am here to admit I am HIV-positive," Sheen said. "It's a hard three letters to absorb."
Asked if he has confided in anyone about his condition, he said: "I've told enough that I trusted."
The actor, who has long battled drug and alcohol problems, has made no secret of his wild life and boasted of having sex with more than 5,000 women.
Sheen said he does not know how he contracted the virus.
"It started... based on this series of cluster headaches and insane migraines and sweating the bed, completely drenched two, three nights in a row... I was emergency hospitalised," he said.
"I thought I had a brain tumour. I thought it was over."
He added that it was "impossible" that he had transmitted HIV to anyone since his diagnosis because "I always led with condoms and honesty when it came to my condition".
He said he decided to go public with his condition partly because a prostitute who came over to his house took a photo of his anti-retroviral medications and threatened to sell the picture to tabloid magazines.
"Are you still paying some of these people?" asked host Matt Lauer. Sheen replied: "Not after today I'm not."
Rumours that Sheen would be announcing that he is HIV-positive took Hollywood by storm earlier this week.
The celebrity website TMZ said Sheen, who was fired in 2011 from Two And A Half Men after a much-publicised spat with Warner Bros over his behaviour, was making his HIV status public because several former partners were threatening him with lawsuits.
"Our sources say Charlie settled several of the cases and, in return for money, got confidentiality agreements," TMZ said.
A close friend of the star said the thrice-divorced actor "thought he was indestructible and took no precautions - even though he was indulging in high-risk sex practices".
Sheen, the son of movie star Martin Sheen, rose to fame after starring in a number of hit films including Platoon and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, both released in 1986.
His career took off further as he became known for his television roles - Spin City, Two And A Half Men and most recently, Anger Management.
Between May 2010 and 2011, he was the highest paid actor on television earning US$40 million (S$57 million), according to Forbes.
His second wife, Denise Richards, 44, has reportedly known about his diagnosis for a "number of years", according to the Hollywood Life website. However, she said both her and her two daughters with Sheen - Sam, 11, and Lola, 10 - have tested negative for HIV so far.
She told the website that he contracted HIV after their divorce, after four years of marriage in November 2006, and they have "not been intimate" since.
However, his third wife, Brooke Mueller, claimed that he "potentially" infected her with HIV.
Mueller reportedly blamed her 'psychotic break' on Sheen's alleged diagnosis, said the National Enquirer.
"I had a drug-induced psychotic break at Charlie's after doing drugs with Charlie for that many days," Mueller allegedly wrote in a text message.
"I couldn't handle the HIV news."
Sheen and Mueller were married from 2008 to 2011. Sources say the couple's twin boys Bob and Max were virus free, said Daily News.
Sheen's former girlfriend, adult film star Bree Olson, who lived with him four years ago, tweeted about getting tested for HIV, but denied contracting the virus.
After being sacked from Two And A Half Men, the hard-partying three-time divorced Sheen set up home with a number of porn stars he called "goddesses" and delivered a series of rants on YouTube boasting of having tiger blood in his veins.