Martin Sheen,Charlie Sheen

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Martin Sheen was a champion of the HIV virus long before his son, Charlie Sheen, publicly announced his HIV-positive diagnosis. Now, the Hollywood veteran is opening up about his son's courage in revealing his longtime struggle. 

During the eighth annual CME Group's Global Financial Leadership Conference held Tuesday, the Golden Globe winner took a moment at the podium to share a few thoughts about his son's recent statements. 

"He had been leading up to this sort of story for several months, and we kept encouraging him to do it," the father said as he addressed the crowd, according to a report by the Naples Daily News. "He kept backing away and backing away because it was like going to his own execution, I guess."

"It was the most difficult thing he'd ever done," Sheen shared. "And he kind of sealed it when he called Matt Lauer last week and asked if he could go on."

While his father knew the conversation was a long time in the making, he didn't know if Charlie would make the announcement until he actually sat down with Today's Matt Lauer. 

"We didn't know until he walked on the set this morning that he was going to do it," the dad revealed. "I saw him Saturday night, my wife and I went to see him, to make sure he knew we were behind him, and if he wanted me to go, I would have canceled this event. He said, no, this was his and his alone."

The 75-year-old shared what it was like for him as a parent to watch his son speak up for the first time. 

"This morning, as I watched him alone, reveal his deepest, darkest secret, I couldn't believe the level of courage I was witnessing, and that it was my son," he said.  "I left him a message, and I said that if I had that much courage, I would change the world."

Charlie Sheen

Matt Baron/BEI

Sheen then made a plea of acceptance on behalf of his son and all those who have been stricken with substance abuse.  

"As a father, I dare say that if I were to ask, just a general question in this room, how many of you have children or spouses or nieces, nephews, uncles, clients, who are dealing with drugs or alcohol. I dare say that there isn't a person in here that wouldn't raise their hand," Sheen said. 

"When someone comes to themself, they have the moment of clarity, and they reveal their secrets—which all of us have—in public, it is a great sense of relief. It is a miraculous occasion."

He then compared addition to cancer and asked the audience to respond to HIV no less compassionately than any other kind of ailment. 

"I just want to encourage all of you that have children, spouses, aunts, uncles, clients, that are involved in any form of addiction to realize that it's a disease and if it they had cancer, you wouldn't think of them any differently," Sheen continued. "But most importantly, people, and I speak from my own personal experience, most people who become addicted are looking for a transcendent experience. They are looking for one, the other, God, whatever it is, and naturally they shortcut the journey because, the apparition."

In addition to the great admiration he has for his son's decision, Sheen is also optimistic about the days ahead. 

"I hope that this day is the first day of the rest of Charlie's life as a free man."

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

  • Share
  • Tweet

We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our Cookie Policy.