Charlie Sheen admits he has HIV
(Associated Press) - November 18, 2015 - 9:00am

Former “Two and a Half Men” star Charlie Sheen has the HIV virus.

In an interview on NBC’s “Today,” the 50-year-old said he tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS.

But when asked by “Today” co-host Matt Lauer if he had transmitted the disease to others, he declared, “Impossible.”

He said he was diagnosed about four years ago. He said one reason for going public with his condition was to put a stop to shakedowns from prostitutes and others who threatened to out him.

He said he had paid “enough to bring it into the millions” — perhaps as much as $10 million — to buy their silence and now was seeking to “put a stop to this barrage of attacks and sub-truths that threaten the health of so many others.”

“What people forget is that’s money that they’re taking from my children,” he said. “I’ve got five kids and a granddaughter, you know?”

Sheen described a horrible series of headaches that led him to a series of tests and, ultimately, the diagnosis. “I thought I had a brain tumor,” he said. “It’s a hard three letters to absorb. It’s a turning point in one’s life.”

He said one prostitute took a photo of the HIV-related drugs in his medicine cabinet and threatened to sell it to the tabloids.

“Are you still paying these people?” Lauer asked him.

“Not after today I’m not,” Sheen said. “I release myself from this prison today.”

With his public pronouncement he said he hoped to reduce the stigma still felt by some diagnosed with HIV.

“I have a responsibility now to better myself and to help a lot of other people,” he said. “And hopefully with what we’re doing today, others may come forward and say, ‘Thanks, Charlie, for kicking the door open.’”

The disclosure was only the latest chapter in Sheen’s headline-seizing behavior. In recent years, drug and alcohol use led to his being kicked off CBS’ “Two and a Half Men” in 2011 after an explosive meltdown that included calling the show’s producer “a contaminated little maggot.”

His escapades also included the revelation that he spent more than $50,000 as a client of “Hollywood Madam,” a prostitution ring.

“Two and a Half Men” debuted in 2003 and starred Sheen as womanizing bachelor Charlie Harper. It made him one of TV’s highest-paid actors and at its peak was TV’s most-watched sitcom. It ended its run earlier this year, after Ashton Kutcher stepped in for the fired Sheen.

In 2012, Sheen returned to TV in “Anger Management,” an FX sitcom adapted from the movie of the same name.

The actor claimed his medical condition hasn’t been getting in the way of his work. He has several projects in the pipeline, from movies to conversations with the chairman of Sony about a TV show.

Sheen has been wed three times, the first time to model Donna Peele in the 1990s. He and actress Denise Richards were married from 2002-2006 and have two daughters. Sheen and real estate investor Brooke Mueller wed in 2008 and divorced in 2011; they have two sons. Sheen said he had informed her of his diagnosis.

ACIRC ANGER MANAGEMENT ASHTON KUTCHER BROOKE MUELLER CHARLIE HARPER CHARLIE SHEEN DENISE RICHARDS DONNA PEELE HALF MEN HOLLYWOOD MADAM SHEEN
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