Charlie Sheen reveals he's HIV positive: 'It's a hard three letters to absorb'
- Sheen was diagnosed four years ago and thought he had a brain tumour
- He went public to beat a National Enquirer story revealing his diagnosis
- "I don't want to be the 'poster boy' for this
- Claims he has paid millions to blackmailers threatening to expose his condition
- "I was so depressed by the condition I was in that I did a lot of drugs, I was drinking too much, I made a lot of bad decisions.
Actor Charlie Sheen has revealed he is HIV positive.
The 50-year-old star was diagnosed four years ago and initially thought he had a brain tumour, he told Matt Lauer on NBC's Today Show in an exclusive sit-down interview.
"I'm here to admit that I am in fact HIV-positive," he told the veteran broadcaster.
"It's a hard three letters to absorb, you know?"
The Two and A Half Men star (50) was 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.
He is not "entirely sure" how he contracted the disease.
"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, which couldn't be further from the truth," he said.
After his initial diagnosis, he told select friends and family and claims he's paid millions to prevent his diagnosis from becoming public.
"I trusted them, they were deep in my inner circle, I thought that they could be helpful and instead, my trust turned to their treason," he said, adding it was a "shakedown" for money.
"That's money from my children," he said.
"I think I release myself from this prison today."
"I have a responsibility now to better myself and to help a lot of other people, and hopefully with what we're doing today, others may come forward sand say, 'Thanks, Charlie. Thanks for kicking the door open.'"
When asked if he had knowingly or unknowingly transmitted the virus to anyone else, he said it was "impossible."
"It started with this cluster of headaches and insane migraines and sweating the bed, completely drenched two or three nights in a row, I was emergency hospitalised. I thought I had a brain tumour. I thought it was over."
Sheen added that he doesn't want to be the "poster boy" for the virus, but "will not shun away from responsibilities."
He also confirmed that a prostitute visited his home would photograph his anti-retroviral medication in his bathroom after sexual intercourse and threatened to sell the picture to tabloids.
When asked if he was still using the services of sex workers, he responded: "Not after today I'm not."
"I was so depressed by the condition I was in that I did a lot of drugs, I was drinking too much, I made a lot of bad decisions. That part I own, 100pc."
Sheen said he has had unprotected sex with two people since his diagnosis, saying: "Yes, but the two people that I did that with were under the care of my doctor and they were completely warned ahead of time."
He added that he has informed every sexual partner of his condition.
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.”