Charlie Sheen, the American actor, confirmed that he is HIV positive, ending what he said was years of extortion by people who threatened to expose the information.
In an interview with NBC, Sheen said he has paid blackmail totaling “in the millions” of dollars to prevent the news from leaking since he was diagnosed with the virus four years ago. He said one woman whom he paid for sex had taken a photo of his HIV medication in his bathroom and said she would leak it to the press if Sheen didn’t pay up.
Sheen didn’t provide much detail about the “shakedowns.” Asked if he would continue paying his extorters, he said, “Not after today I’m not.”
The revelation followed a string of news reports this month that hinted at and then ultimately revealed Sheen’s diagnosis. Radar Online published a story on Nov. 2 that said an unnamed “world-famous actor” was HIV positive. On Nov. 16, The National Enquirer revealed that the actor was Sheen. Other reports soon followed with the same news.
Sheen, who starred in the sitcom Two and a Half Men for more than a decade before he was fired by CBS, is well known for his bizarre behavior and has been upfront about years of drug use, alcoholism, and sex with prostitutes. In the interview, Sheen didn’t say how he contracted the virus. He was, however, characteristically loquacious.
“I have to put a stop to this onslaught, this barrage of attacks and of sub-truths and very harmful and mercurial stories that are about me, that threaten the health of so many others that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Sheen said.
Sheen said he is no longer abusing drugs but still drinks alcohol. He said that, since his diagnosis, he has had unprotected sex with partners who knew he had the virus, which can be transmitted by genital contact. His doctor told NBC that Sheen is “healthy” and does not have AIDS. A diagnosis of HIV does not necessarily lead to AIDS.