Charlie Sheen has opened up about his own HIV-positive diagnosis, and in the process, unleashed a new dialogue about what this means. As questions such as whether Sheen’s ex-wives and children are HIV-free are raised, the actor himself is speaking out and getting an overwhelming response of support from friends.
The reactions came immediately after Charlie went on the Today show and discussed the HIV-positive status. Sheen has not passed on the disease to any of his ex-wives, reported Inside Edition.
In 2011, Brooke Mueller and Sheen broke up. Sheen learned he was HIV-positive that same year. However, a representative for Mueller, who is the mom of Charlie’s twin boys, said that neither she nor the twins are impacted.
In addition to the twins, Sheen has two daughters, and their mother is Denise Richards. Denise also knew about Charlie’s HIV-positive status prior to his public announcement.
“He was infected after they divorced, and they haven’t been intimate since. Neither she nor their daughters are HIV-positive,” a source told Inside Edition.
Discussing his 30-year-old daughter, Cassandra, the result of his first marriage, Sheen discussed how she reacted when she learned of his health status.
“It hit her hard. I said, ‘I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner, but it didn’t seem like you could do anything and I didn’t want to burden you with all the stress.’ But she was a rock star about this,” praised Sheen.
Sheen also received support from Heather Locklear, who worked with the actor on Spin City.
“My heart hurts. Prayers for Charlie and his family,” wrote the actress.
Dr. Oz told Inside Edition that he feels the drugs and booze that Sheen abused presented higher risks.
“Drinking alcohol and doing drugs were… much bigger risks for his life than his HIV status,” said Dr. Oz.
Sheen revealed that once he knew he was HIV-positive, he continued to have sex but used protection, describing it as “impossible” that he caused anyone else to become HIV-positive.
“The risks of him transmitting the virus, right now, are about the same as being struck by lightning,” said Dr. Oz.
As for the physician who cares for Sheen, that doctor described his patient as healthy, and emphasized that Sheen does not have AIDS.
Bree Olson Denies She Knew Of HIV When They Had Sex
However, a new controversy has cropped up since the announcement that Sheen is HIV-positive, and that’s coming from girlfriends who say that Sheen did not tell them of his status, reported Fox News.
Sheen claimed in his initial Today show interview that once he knew he was HIV-positive four years ago, he made sure every person with whom he had sex was aware of that diagnosis.
Not true, according to Bree Olson.
“He never said anything to me,” declared Olson. “I was his girlfriend. I lived with him. We were together. We had sex almost every day for a year.”
Charlie had another girlfriend, Natalie Kenly. Like Olsen, she also had no idea that Sheen had HIV. She and Olson have both received negative test results for the HIV virus.
When Today show interviewer Matt Lauer asked Sheen if he might have transmitted the virus, Charlie deemed it “impossible.”
Although Sheen admitted to having unprotected sex even after he learned that he was HIV-positive, he had a qualifier.
“The two people I did that with were under the care of my doctor,” said Charlie.
“In 35 states if someone who is HIV positive has sex with someone without divulging it, you can be charged with a crime,” commented Lauer.
That list of states includes California.
However, lawsuits could result from the situation because of emotional distress, regardless of whether Sheen told those with whom he had sex about his HIV-positive status.
“I can only imagine based on what I’ve already experienced — what’s come down the pike and I’ve been forced to deal with — I’m sure [lawsuits are] next. Sure,” admitted Sheen.
Sheen Explains Why He Shared His HIV-Positive Status
As to why the actor is going positive now with his diagnosis, Sheen said he has shelled out millions to get those who threatened to reveal his condition to stay silent, reported CBS News.
Among those individuals were prostitutes, and Sheen estimated that it could be up to $10 million that he’s paid thus far. Among the threats that he received, a prostitute photographed the medications that Sheen had related to HIV and warned that it would be sold to the tabloids.
“Are you still paying these people?” questioned Lauer.
“Not after today I’m not,” Sheen said. “I release myself from this prison today.”
But beyond freeing himself from threats of disclosure, Sheen hopes to make a difference to those who, like him, have learned that they are HIV-positive.
“I have a responsibility now to better myself and to help a lot of other people,” the actor declared. “And hopefully with what we’re doing today, others may come forward and say, ‘Thanks, Charlie, for kicking the door open.’ “
Former Madam Wants To Marry Sheen
One person who agrees with the actor is Heidi Fleiss, a former madam, reported Entertainment Tonight.
“It’s a very important role he has — that he change the stigma attached that people who have it [HIV] feel,” said Fleiss. “I think a lot more people have it than we realize. But it’s like asthma — big deal — so you take some medication. It’s not a death sentence or something, and it shouldn’t be this dirty little secret.”
She admitted she was shocked that Sheen let himself be extorted in that way, but praised him for his eloquence. And because of the way that he can deliver a message, Fleiss believes that Sheen could change the way that people look at HIV, in the same way as Magic Johnson.
“It’s shocking Charlie just didn’t go that route … but now he will,” predicted Fleiss. “Men, especially, look up to Charlie… he really can make a difference.”
As for how Fleiss feels about Sheen?
“I’d marry Charlie today even if he is HIV. I love him!” declared Fleiss. “I was his madam and his friend. We were young and crazy back then. If I was with him right now, I would ask [Sheen] to marry me.”
[Photo by Ethan Miller / Getty Images for BASE Entertainment]