Denise Richards 'has known about ex-husband Charlie Sheen's HIV status for years'
Actor Charlie Sheen's "revealing personal announcement" is set to rock Hollywood.
The Two and A Half Men star (50) was reportedly diagnosed with HIV four years ago and his decision to speak publicly now was prompted by a decision to beat a story by the National Enquirer. The tabloid had been working on the story for the last 18 months.
Reports by several media outlets in recent weeks have speculated about an A-list actor contracting the disease, but did not report his identity. However, it's believed that Sheen's appearance on The Today Show on US tv today will largely centre around his HIV status in a bid to break the stigma in Hollywood.
An announcement on the NBC website said: "In a Today exclusive, Charlie Sheen will make a revealing personal announcement on Tuesday November 17 in a sit-down interview with Matt Lauer."
Meanwhile, his ex-wife Denise Richards, whom he was married to from 2002 to 2005, is said to have known about the diagnosis "for years" and their children do not have HIV.
"She's known Charlie was HIV-positive for a number of years. He was infected after they divorced, and they haven't been intimate since," a source told People. "Neither she nor their daughters [Sam, 11, and Lola, 9] are HIV-positive."
He has five children aged six to 30 and three ex-wives, Donna Peele (1995-1996), Richards and Brooke Mueller (2008-2011).
It's also reported that his twin sons with Mueller Bob and Max (both six) are HIV negative.
“They did all the testing,” an insider told Us Weekly. “The boys are fine.”
During his time as Charlie Harper on Two And A Half Men, he was one of the television's highest paid actors, earning $1.8m per episode, still makes millions from royalties from Anger Management, which he starred in from 2012 to 2014.
Last week, Denise spoke candidly about falling in love with her ex-husband, saying he was "a very different person" when she first met him in 2000.
“Charlie, when I married him, he wasn’t a bad boy. He was sober for almost four years," she told Allegedly With Theo Von and Matthew Cole Weiss.
"He was a very different person. His lifestyle was very, very different. He was a former bad boy, I guess.
“I have a lot of empathy for anyone that struggles with addiction. I’m not going to judge the choices they made under the influence. I can only judge the person I’m meeting and I think sometimes past experiences make who you are so I just went off the person I had met and gotten to know and fell in love with. He was very different.”
Richards said she suffered professionally after their bitter divorce in 2006 and many supporters of his have since apologised for "drinking the Kool-aid" and getting caught up in the hype.
“I was surprised how much that affected me work wise…I was perceived as being a lunatic and crazy,” she added. “There are people that have [since] come up to me and apologized for drinking the Kool-aid…It was hard.
“I’m always here [for him,] but he’s an addict. I believe we move past your s—t. Don’t sweat the small stuff. For better or worse, he’s going to be in my life for the rest of my life so I personally like to keep the peace."
Meanwhile, a string of ex-girlfriends have come forward to speak of their own experiences.
Bree Olsen (29), who was one of Charlie's "goddesses" in 2011, tweeted: "Recorded myself for half an hour being tested for HIV and getting the results. This is so stressful."
"There are speculations circling that one of my ex boyfriends from years ago may have contracted the HIV virus. They are rumors and I know nothing more than anyone else," the former porn star wrote.
"I, myself have been to my gynecologist at least once a year since we split up and have always been tested across the board for everything and have came back clean across the board every time."
Natalie Kenly, who was another "goddess" with Olsen, said: “He is not a monster. He has regard for human beings and cares about people. I do not see him knowingly putting women at risk.”
Actress Heather Locklear, who did not date the star, but starred with him in Spin City, said: "My heart hurts. Prayers for Charlie and his family."