Rumors started to circulate last week that an A-list actor was HIV positive. A friend said they heard it was Charlie Sheen. That somehow didn't surprise me, I was actually kind of surprised it wasn't announced he had some other life threatening disease already. I mean let's face it, Charlie Sheen has partied. Partied HARD since he was a teenager. After a string of excellent performances and working with top Hollywood talent in the likes of Red Dawn, Platoon, Wall Street, The Rookie, Major League and Navy Seals, Sheen found further fame and huge fortune on television. His salary on hit sitcom Two and a Half Men peaked in 2010 where he was the highest paid actor on television, earning $1.8 million an episode. Public meltdowns, messy divorces, sex with hookers and porn stars, a drinking habit along with drug use led to multiple stints in rehab and his ultimate firing from the show. Sheen went on an epic crusade to clear his name, participating in eternally entertaining and quotable interviews where he claimed to be a "Vatican Assassin", had "tiger blood and Adonis DNA", was a "bitching rock star from Mars" while using a drug called "Charlie Sheen". A nationwide tour failed to cement his status as a truth saying messiah for our times and before you knew it, Sheen was cleaned up, apologizing on TV and back with a new show, Anger Management. I absolutely LOVED Two and a Half Men and refused to watch it after Sheen was replaced by Ashton frigging Kutcher because it just wasn't funny anymore without the star.
Cut to today and Sheen announced on the Today show that he is HIV positive and has known for the last four years. He's been under watchful medical care and treatment to the point the disease isn't even detected in his blood. Sheen used the forum to explain that he's taken the illness very seriously, alerted those closest to him along with potential sexual partners. That has opened him up to betrayal and blackmail shakedowns that have cost him and his five kids nearly $10 million dollars. But his private physician was quick to point out that Sheen does not have AIDS, the auto-immune disease that was seen as a death sentence in the 80's and 90's before proper treatment became the norm. Sheen is now using the attention to fight the stigma and shame HIV still causes in some people's minds. Hopefully having a famous face will encourage others to seek help and not keep a dangerous secret to themselves that endangers others. During the interview, Sheen's wit, passion and personality shined through in a very difficult and private time. He is who he is and isn't hiding. Good for you, Mr. Sheen, still the man.