Charlie Sheen has had more than his share of problems over the years, but his former costar Holland Taylor says fans shouldn't judge him for his past mistakes. "Anybody who's spent time with Charlie likes him," the Two and a Half Men actress tells Parade magazine in a new interview. "He's as smart a person as you'll ever find."
Which is not to say that he hasn't done dumb things -- everyone has. But Sheen, Taylor says, had an abnormal childhood, so normal behavior is relative.
"He grew up with a movie star father [Martin Sheen] who was gallivanting around the world," the Tony-nominated TV and film vet explains. "[Today] Martin is a big AA person and very public about it. But back in the day, Martin was a young, crazy, brilliant talent -- always gone, always traveling, sometimes bringing his kids along. It was just a madhouse way to grow up."
On top of that, she tells Parade, "Charlie himself was a teenage movie star with hundreds of thousands of dollars in his pocket at any given moment. It sounds great to a lot of people, but it's not that easy to mature and to have a regular life."
Taylor, 70, says she understands why successful young stars go a little wild after a while. "Why wouldn't they?" she quips. "If you grow up in [Hollywood], you're going to be affected by the atmosphere. And if you go into acting a young age, watch out."
She herself suffered depression beginning in her early 40s. "[It was] bad enough for me to entertain the idea of going into a hospital," she tells Parade of that period of her life. "I actually wasn't a danger to myself, but I really sometimes wondered how I could get out of the house to go get food."
These days, she's much healthier and happier. "I was on antidepressants for over 15 years, with very intermittent counseling," she explains. "It was a very dead period of my life. Antidepressants take away the lows but they also reduce the highs. And for me, over a long period of time, they didn't really. So I quit taking them, and my life has been afire since then."