In an interview this morning on NBC’s “Today,” the 50-year-old former “Two and a Half Men” star Charlie Sheen said he tested positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
When asked by “Today” co-host Matt Lauer if he had transmitted the disease to others, the notoriously promiscuous Sheen declared it “impossible.”
But according to multiple reports, Sheen is bracing for a wave of lawsuits, as over 35 states make it a criminal offense to knowingly infect someone with HIV.
Sheen said he was diagnosed about four years ago. He said one reason for going public with his condition was to put a stop to shakedowns from prostitutes and others who threatened to out him.
He said he had paid perhaps as much as $10 million to buy their silence and now was seeking to “put a stop to this barrage of attacks and sub-truths.”
Sheen said one prostitute took a photo of the HIV-related drugs in his medicine cabinet and threatened to sell it to the tabloids.
“Are you still paying these people?” Lauer asked him.
“Not after today I’m not,” Sheen said.
The disclosure was only the latest chapter in Sheen’s headline-seizing behavior. Drug and alcohol use led to his being kicked off CBS’ “Two and a Half Men” in 2011 after an explosive meltdown that included calling the show’s producer “a contaminated little maggot.”
His escapades also included the revelation that he spent more than $50,000 as a client of “Hollywood Madam” Heidi Fleiss’ prostitution ring. Sheen has bragged in the past of bedding approximately 5,000 women in his life.
Sheen has been wed three times, the first time to model Donna Peele in the 1990s.
He and actress Denise Richards were married from 2002-2006 and have two daughters. Sheen and real estate investor Brooke Mueller wed in 2008 and divorced in 2011; they have two sons. Sheen said he had informed her of his diagnosis.
The Associated Press contributed to this article