In an exclusive interview with Matt Lauer on TODAY, Charlie Sheen revealed that he is HIV positive.
“It’s a hard three letters to absorb,” said Sheen. “It’s a turning point in one’s life.” Sheen said he made the announcement to end a smear campaign and extortion efforts.
“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, threatening the health of so many others that couldn’t be further from the truth,” the 50-year-old actor said.
Sheen said he has trusted the diagnosis with people he thought he could confide in, but has paid out upwards of nearly $10 million to keep his illness a secret.
“What people forget is that that’s money they’re taking away from my children,” he said about the “shakedowns” he experienced. “I trusted them and they were deep in my inner circle, and I thought they could be helpful. My trust turned to their treason.”
Sheen said that by appearing on TODAY, he will be putting a stop to those payouts.
“That’s my goal. That’s not my only goal. I think I release myself from this prison today,” he said.
Sheen revealed that he was diagnosed about four years ago, but doesn’t know he may have contracted the virus.
ORIGINAL STORY: Charlie Sheen will be appearing on the Today show Tuesday morning to discuss being HIV-positive.
According to Hollywood publicist and crisis manager Howard Bragman, he was approached by people close to Sheen six months ago to deal with the crisis, but never actually dealt with him directly.
“The interview could open up a lot of sympathy for him, but he has to be concerned about a fear of litigation from former sexual partners. You don’t take that lightly.”
Bragman claimed that Sheen “is getting treatment, and a lot of people in his life know about.”
“It’s been going on for quite awhile. He’s not necessarily comfortable talking about it. It was very hard to get up the courage for him to talk about it.”
Sheen, 50-years-old, has long struggled with substance abuse and has admitted to soliciting prostitues in the past.