Following reports that he would make a “revealing personal announcement” this morning on NBC‘s “Today” show, Charlie Sheen has revealed that he is HIV-positive.
In an exclusive, live interview with Matt Lauer, the onetime “Two and a Half Men” star spoke candidly, beginning with a blunt, to-the-point statement:
“I am here to admit that I am in fact HIV-positive,” Sheen said. “I have to put a stop to this barrage of attacks and sub-truths and very harmful and mercurial stories that are about me, that are threatening the health of so many others. It couldn’t be farther from the truth.”
The 50-year-old actor revealed that he was diagnosed four years ago, but is not certain how he contracted the disease: “It’s a hard three letters to absorb,” he said. “It’s a turning point in one’s life.”
Sheen also talked about how he has been the victim of extortion, in order to keep his HIV status hidden. The actor referred to these actions in the interview as “shakedowns” as opposed to lawsuits: “It’s enough to bring it into the millions,” he told Lauer. “What people forget is that’s money they’re taking from my children – I have five kids and a granddaughter.”
When asked if he was still paying any of the people in question, Sheen replied: “Not after today, I’m not….I think I release myself from this prison as of today.”
The actor also says he no longer feels a stigma associated with his HIV status: “I have a responsibility now to better myself and to help a lot of other people.”