Martin Sheen Felt “Powerless” During Son Charlie Sheen’s Meltdown

Charlie and Martin Sheen
Martin Sheen told Radio Times that he felt "powerless" to help son Charlie Sheen during the Two and a Half Men actor's headline-making meltdown in 2011 Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Tough love isn't just tough for the person getting it. Martin Sheen says he was at a loss for how to help his son Charlie Sheen during the latter's very public meltdown back in 2011, which led to him getting fired from his hit CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men.

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"What he was going through at that time, we were powerless to do much," the Grace and Frankie actor, 74, told Radio Times in a new interview, recalling his son's erratic behavior and bizarre Twitter rants. "Except to pray for him and lift him up."

Sheen — who has three other kids, actor Emilio Estevez, Ramon Estevez, and Renee Estevez, with wife of 53 years Janet Templeton — says he tried to be "as present as possible" for Charlie, 49, but that there were "many things that the public [was] not aware of" at the time.

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"Only those of us that knew him understood what was going on," he shared. "I'm talking about steroids, at that time. He was in a very desperate situation. And he was doing what he felt would get him out of it — going public. And it was very painful. No less painful for him."

Having had his own issues with alcoholism, the West Wing star knew that his son was facing an uphill battle. But no one could fight it for him.

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"You can assure them you're there and you love them, but you cannot effect change," Sheen told Radio Times of what he learned from Alcoholics Anonymous. "That's your ego, for the most part. You pray for a moment of clarity, you trust in a higher power, and you never, ever give up hope. Because that is a measure of despair."

Of course, Sheen wasn't the only one worried about Denise Richards' ex. Last year, Charlie's former costar Jon Cryer admitted to HuffPost Live that he once lived in constant fear of something happening to his colleague.

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"Anybody who's had an addict as a friend knows that you live with this fear — you know, is the next phone call gonna be the one where something horrible has happened?" Cryer explained. "And I had that a lot with Charlie. And it was very, very tough to live with."

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