Charlie Sheen Breaks Silence on HIV-Positive Diagnosis, Says "I Have to Put a Stop to This Onslaught"

Actor appeared on the Today show earlier today and discussed with Matt Lauer

By Lily Harrison Nov 17, 2015 12:43 PMTags

Charlie Sheen has spoken out for the first time about being diagnosed HIV-Positive.

During a sit-down with Today's Matt Lauer, the Two and a Half Men actor opened up about his current health, his decision to stay silent about it for years and what the future holds for him both personally and professionally.

"I'm here to admit that I am in fact HIV-positive," the 50-year-old star explained on the morning show. "I have to put a stop to this onslaught, this barrage of attacks and of sub-truths and very harmful and mercurial stories that are about me, threatening the health of so many others, which couldn't be further from the truth."

Sheen said he was diagnosed "roughly four years ago" and he told a select number of people. "I've told enough that I trusted to be in the position and the situation that I'm in today." Sheen said he first realized something was off "based on this series of cluster headaches and insane migraines and sweating the bed, completely drenched two, three nights in a row, that I was emergency hospitalized. I thought I had a brain tumor. I thought it was over. After a battery of tests and spinal taps, all that crap, they walked in the room and said, 'Boom. Here's what's going on.' It's a hard three letters to absorb. It's a turning point in one's life."

He also claimed that a lot of people have demanded money to stay silent about his diagnosis. "I have paid those people—not that many, but enough to where it has depleted the future." Asked how many people he has paid, Sheen said, "I don't want to guess wrong, but enough to bring it into the millions. What people forget is that's money they're taking from my children. You know? They think it's just me. But I've got five kids and a granddaughter, you know?"

Regarding the people who took advantage of him, Sheen said, "For some reason I trusted them. They were deep in my inner circle, and I thought they could be helpful." Instead, he said, "My trust turned to their treason."

Sheen said appearing on Today will help put a stop to those payouts. "That's my goal. That's not my only goal. I think I release myself from this prison today," he said.

Asked why he would continue to surround himself with, as Lauer put it, "unsavory types," Sheen explained, "I was so depressed by the condition that I was in. I was doing a lot of drugs. I was drinking way too much. I was making really bad decisions. That part I own, 100 percent."

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Lauer also asked Sheen, "Have you knowingly, or even perhaps unknowingly, transmitted the HIV virus to someone else since your diagnosis?" The actor replied, "Impossible. Impossible." Sheen admitted he has had unprotected sex with two people since his diagnosis, but both partners were informed ahead of time and have been under the care of his doctor, Robert Huizenga.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention talks about "risky behaviors" in relation to HIV transmission. "Would it be fair to say that you have been involved in all of those risky behaviors?" Lauer asked. Sheen replied, "Negative. Are you talking about needles and that whole mess? No, definitely not."

"Do you know how you contracted the virus?" Lauer asked.

"Um…sitting here today? Not entirely, no," Sheen admitted.

Asked if his meltdown from 2011 was related to his HIV-positive diagnosis, Sheen said, "I wish I could blame it on that. That was more of a roid rage. This was on the heels of that, let me say. Yeah."

Now that his diagnosis has been made public, Sheen told Lauer, "I have a responsibility now to better myself and to help a lot of other people, and hopefully with what we're doing today, others may come forward sand say, 'Thanks, Charlie. Thanks for kicking the door open.'"

Monday morning, amid increasing speculation, Today issued a press release saying that Sheen was going to "make a revealing personal announcement," but didn't share any further details. At the time, E! News confirmed that the troubled star is HIV-positive.

Sheen has five children and three ex-wives, Donna Peele (1995-1996), Denise Richards (2002-2006) and Brooke Mueller (2008-2011). E! News has learned that both Richards and her two daughters, Sam and Lola, are HIV-negative.


And while at one point Sheen's presence was inescapable, especially on television, he has remained largely out of the spotlight for most of 2015.
Aside from a short guest appearance on ABC's The Goldbergs back in February, Sheen hasn't appeared regularly on TV since FX's Anger Management came to an end last December.

Sheen's turbulent personal life has made headlines over the past decade, including his struggles with drug and alcohol addictions, dating multiple porn stars, hospitalizations, high-end hotel room meltdowns and a public fallout with Two and a Half Men creator Chuck Lorre in 2011 which caused him to be fired from the mega-successful series.

And while past stories over the years may have spoken for themselves, Sheen wants the world to hear his side of the story directly from him.

To learn more about HIV/AIDS and to contribute in the fight against the diseases, visit amfAR.

(E! and NBC are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)