Sheen's former lovers say they were kept in the dark about HIV
Former girlfriends of Charlie Sheen have accused the actor of failing to tell them he was HIV positive, despite his emotional avowal that all of his partners were aware of his diagnosis.
Sheen, who once claimed that he had slept with more than 5,000 women, said on Tuesday that he was bracing himself for a deluge of lawsuits, but was adamant that it was "impossible" that he had infected anyone.
Six of his lovers have reportedly contacted a lawyer.
Sheen said he had been blackmailed by women who threatened to expose his condition. Yet lawyers for some of the women said the payments were legal agreements reached to compensate them for their exposure to the virus.
The lawyers said that if Sheen stopped paying, they would "come after him with a vengeance", according to TMZ, the US celebrity news website.
Bree Olson (29), a former prostitute who lived with Sheen in 2011, said the 50-year-old did not mention his condition to her. "He never said anything to me," she said. "I was his girlfriend. I lived with him. We were together. We had sex almost every day for a year."
She said she only learnt about Sheen's condition on Tuesday. Sheen has denied knowing that he was HIV positive while he and Ms Olson were together.
Sheen's other girlfriend at the time, Natalie Kenly, said she did not know the actor had the virus. Both women have tested negative for HIV, as have Sheen's three ex-wives and five children.
On Tuesday, Sheen told NBC's 'Today' show that he was diagnosed about four years ago and said the reason he disclosed the information now was because he was being blackmailed.
"I am here to admit that I am in fact HIV positive," Sheen said, saying he was "not entirely sure" how he acquired the virus.
"It's a hard three letters to absorb," he added.
Sheen played the womanising bachelor Charlie Harper in the top-rated US comedy series 'Two and A Half Men' for eight years before being fired in 2011 for bad behaviour that included cocaine-fuelled partying with porn stars and a conviction for assaulting his ex-wife.
At the time, he was the highest-paid actor on US television with a reported annual salary of some $1.8m (€1.7m).
Asked whether he had transmitted HIV to anyone since his diagnosis, Sheen said on Tuesday: "Impossible."
The actor said he had "always led with condoms and honesty when it came to my condition".
Sheen said one of the reasons he disclosed the news about his health was to stop others from extorting him.
He would not disclose how many people he was paying for their silence, but said the payments reached into the millions of dollars to people he once considered in his inner circle.
"What people forget is this is money, money they are taking from my children," Sheen said.
"I thought they could be helpful. Instead, my trust turned into their treason," Sheen said, adding that he would no longer pay those people.
"I think I released myself from this prison today," he said.
After being fired from 'Two and A Half Men', Sheen set up home with a number of porn stars he called "goddesses" and boasted on YouTube of having "tiger blood" in his veins.