Just because he was once the highest-paid actor on television doesn’t mean that Charlie Sheen is willing to acquiesce to blackmailers. The former Two and a Half Men star sat down to talk about his HIV status on the Today show on Tuesday, Nov. 17, and revealed that he’s been blackmailed for upwards of $10 million since receiving his diagnosis four years ago.
“What people forget is that’s money they’re taking from my children,” he told Today show host Matt Lauer. “They think it’s just me, but I’ve got five kids and a granddaughter. …I release myself from this prison today.”
Sheen, 50, is father to Sam, 11, and Lola, 10, with ex-wife Denise Richards; twins Max and Bob, 6, with ex-wife Brooke Mueller; and daughter Cassandra, 30, whom he shares with high school sweetheart Paula Profit.
Cassandra gave birth to Sheen’s only granddaughter, Luna, in July 2013.
As he revealed on the Today show, Sheen was diagnosed with HIV four years ago and decided to come clean in order to “put a stop to this mirage of attacks of sub-truths and very harmful and mercurial stories that are about me that are threatening the health of so many others.”
Several of his exes, including Richards, 44, were aware of his diagnosis, while others were not. Those who discovered the diagnosis later on were often eager to use the information to their advantage, Sheen recounted.
In particular, Sheen told Lauer about one woman who took a cell phone photo of the antiretroviral HIV medication he had in his bathroom and then threatened to sell the picture to tabloids.
Sheen formerly made close to $2 million an episode as the star of the hit CBS sitcom, but famously had a meltdown in early 2011 — seemingly around the time he found out he was HIV positive — which led to his dismissal from the show and a much-publicized stint in rehab.
In 2012, Sheen made his comeback on television with the FX series Anger Management.
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