Charlie Sheen may be on the straight and narrow these days, but that doesn't stop his former Two and a Half Men boss Chuck Lorre from reflecting on what could have been.
In a new interview with TV Guide, the CBS showrunner opens up for the first time about his motivations behind shuttering the primetime hit in the wake of Sheen's addiction troubles, and admits he just couldn't stand by and watch his friend self-destruct.
"The [studio and the network] chose to make a moral decision as opposed to a financial one. This was not a game. This was drug addiction writ large," Lorre told TV Guide of his decision to give Sheen, 46, the boot in March 2010 and put the show on a forced hiatus. "This was big-time cocaine, and in his own words, an 'epic drug run' that could have ended with either his death or someone else's."
Lorre knew cutting Sheen loose was a necessary evil.
"I was so afraid my friend was going to die," admits Lorre, who was derided as a dictator in interviews given by his one-time star. "When we would shoot a show on a Friday night, there was always that 'I'll see you Monday. I hope.' The holidays were the worst, because those long stretches of time were the ones we feared the most," Lorre recalls. "You couldn't do that much cocaine and work. It was falling apart. It was heartbreaking to be around here then."
Telling TV Guide the "Charlie Sheen debacle" will forever follow his series -- which now stars Ashton Kutcher -- Lorre confirms he still has a soft spot for Sheen.
"I cared for him deeply. We had a great time," says Lorre. "We succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. Sometimes I'll watch the reruns and I'll go, 'That was worth watching.' I'm proud of what we did."