Published Nov 17, 2015Following a cyclone of tabloid rumours, Hollywood actor Charlie Sheen appeared on NBC's TODAY this morning to reveal that he is, in fact, HIV-positive.
The actor confirmed that he had been diagnosed with the virus four years ago, and revealed that he has since spent upwards of $10 million to keep his health status secret. He told television host Matt Lauer that his decision to go public with his HIV status was made in part to stop the "shakedowns" for hush money from people who were aware of his condition.
"That is money taken away from my kids," Sheen said in the on-air interview. He went on to say that after today, he would no longer continue paying these people. "I think that I release myself from this prison today."
Sheen said that he is unsure how he contracted the disease, but that he had disclosed his diagnosis to every one of his sexual partners. He admitted to having unprotected sex with two people, but does not believe he has transmitted the disease to anyone else.
"I was doing a lot of drugs," he said. "I was drinking way too much. I was making a lot of bad decisions."
Since his diagnosis, Sheen has received medical treatment — a "triple cocktail" of medication, in pill form — from Dr. Robert Huizenga, who appeared on the TODAY segment, as well. Huizenga explained that Sheen has an "undetectable level of the virus" in his blood, and that he does not have AIDS, though he did express concern for Sheen's well-known struggles with substance abuse.
Sheen said that he was not currently taking drugs, and while he still drinks a bit, he has never missed taking his medication.
Following a very public breakdown in 2011, the Sheen-starring sitcom Two and a Half Men paused production and subsequently fired the lead actor. He went on to star in the now-cancelled Anger Management, and does not appear to have any current film or television projects in the works.
Watch Sheen's interview on NBC's TODAY in the players below.