A movie star’s son, raised on location, addicted at age 23, and steeped in a cycle of drugs, hookers, and rehab. Borrowing from Vanity Fair, that is a spot-on description of Hollywood star Charlie Sheen who has made a habit of going over the edge time and again.
The actor announced on Tuesday that he was diagnosed as HIV-positive four years ago. The revelation was allegedly brought about after he had to pay upwards of $10 million to keep people quiet about his condition.
“I am here to admit that I am in fact HIV positive and I have to put a stop to this onslaught, this barrage of attacks, of sub-truths – very harmful … stories that are threatening the health of so many others,” Sheen said on NBC’s Today show.
Watch | Charlie Sheen reveals he’s HIV positive on TV show
Sheen is no stranger to controversy. In fact, given his life’s graph, he prefers to court it. Son of star Martin Sheen, he won accolades for his roles in films such as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Lucas and Oliver Stone’s Oscar-winning war drama, Platoon, in the ‘80s. He was part of Stone’s Wall Street as well. In the ‘90s came his hit Major League and his first public meltdown.
His personal life was always tumultuous: First joint at 11; first sex worker (paid for with his dad’s filched credit card) at 15; expelled from high school at 17.
It appeared in the ’90s that he will actually capitalise on his career highs. He even proposed to actor Kelly Preston in the same decade but that didn’t last. Sheen ‘accidentally’ shot her in the leg and soon replaced her with a porn star. He would later check into a rehab for drug and alcohol addiction, he was 25.
In 1995, Sheen testified in Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss’ tax evasion trial in July where he admitted he spent $53,000 on “sexual services” from sex workers over a 15-month period between 1991 and 1993. The same year, he married model Donna Peele. The marriage lasted a little more than a year.
Things got worse when he was arrested after girlfriend Brittany Ashland accused him of smashing her face. He violated his parole in 1998 when he was arrested for drug overdose and was forced to go to a rehab.
In 2000, it appeared Sheen had put the past firmly in the past and was on the mend again. He married Denise Richards the same year and won the Golden Globe for Spin City in 2002. In 2003, he signed on for Two and a Half Men, the TV series which will make him the highest paid actor on telly.
Richards and Sheen’s marriage unravelled when Richards - pregnant with her second child - filed for divorce in 2005. She cited his gambling, tripping on prescription drugs and volatile behaviour. Sheen soon met estate agent Brooke Mueller and married her in 2007.
The relationship went the classic Sheen way when he was arrested for physically threatening Aspen. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanour assault charge.
In 2010, Sheen was found drunk in a hotel room and Mueller filed for divorce. She also checked into rehab the same year while Sheen entered rehab again a year later.
His most-publicised meltdown came in 2011 when the actor was fired from the TV show for bad behaviour, launched a personal attack on Lorre and had a cocaine-fuelled partying with porn stars. He called Lorre “an earthworm” and “a clown” on air and claimed he hated him.
Ashton Kutcher went on to replace him on the show while he rebounded with Anger Management. Sheen’s new show was cancelled subsequently while he kept on sparring with Lorre and even Kutcher on social media and off it.
The three times divorced went up to 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.
Sheen found love again with former porn star Scottine Rossi and proposed, but the wedding was called off in October 2014, one month before the big day. Sheen went on a Twitter tirade against ex-wife Richards in July, calling her a “washed up piglet.” He also referred to her as the “worst mom alive” and “evil terrorist.” The attack came only one month after he was hospitalised for “severe” food poisoning.
With the HIV revelation, speculation is already on about what kind of damages his exes may demand from him given he had sexual relations with them without informing them. Sheen said on TV that he has always informed his sexual partners about being HIV-positive.
The man who famously bragged that he has had sex with 5,000 women is in for a difficult time. But then, what’s new?