Saturday, June 22, 2024

What Happened to Charlie Sheen – HIV Update

Charlie Sheen has recently been in headlines again for news that his HIV had been cured. On an episode of The Dr. Oz Show aired on last month, Sheen gave credit to Doctor Sam Chachoua, who claims to have an effective vaccine for HIV. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as though the cure was long-term, as Sheen almost immediately clarified that he was back on regular treatment for the disease after the episode was filmed.

So what’s next for Charlie Sheen? His career has led him a lot of places, but after several years of drawing negative attention, he may not be able to ever find a suitable venue for himself, assuming he does.

Charlie Sheen’s Hollywood Lineage

Even back in Ferris Bueller, Sheen was cultivating that coke-binge aesthetic
Even back in Ferris Bueller, Sheen was cultivating that coke-binge aesthetic

When Martin Sheen had a son on September 3, 1965, he named the baby boy Carlos Estévez. It wasn’t until, after being expelled from high school weeks before graduation, that he became known as Charlie Sheen. Before that, Carlos Estévez Sheen had a tumultuous childhood. His father was a famous actor, and his mother was an artist and part-time film producer.

When Sheen was just a few years old, his family moved to Malibu, California. When he was nine, he appeared in The Execution of Private Slovak, a TV movie that aired on NBC in 1974. When he got to high school, Carlos Sheen developed an affinity for baseball. However, shortly before graduation, Carlos was expelled for poor attendance and grades. With that, he changed his name from Carlos to Charlie, and threw himself into acting full time. His first daughter, Cassandra, was born in 1984, to his high school girlfriend. Sheen has had little involvement with her life.

Sheen’s first film appearance was also in 1984, showing where the new father’s priorities were. Red Dawn cast him alongside Patrick Swayze, Lea Thompson, Jennifer Grey, and C. Thomas Howell. In 1986 Sheen had a small scene with Grey in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. His first major role came later that year, with Platoon.

Platoon was the first of Oliver Stone’s three Vietnam War films, before 1989’s Born on the Fouth of July and 1993’s Heaven & Earth. Stone, who had served as a U.S. infantryman during the Vietnam War, wrote the script to counter John Wayne’s The Green Berets, a Vietnam film shot in 1968, during the Vietnam War.

In 1987, Charlie Sheen starred alongside his father Martin Sheen in Wall Street, another film directed by Oliver Stone. Stone had also asked Sheen to star in Born on the Fourth of July, but eventually cast Tom Cruise. No one told Sheen of the change, which soured his relationship with Stone.

However, Sheen’s Hollywood career had been established, and in 1987 he was cast in the low-budget horror Grizzly II: The Predator. In 1988 he starred in Eight Men Out, based on an eponymous book about baseball’s 1919 World Series. The next year he’d star in Major League, a sports comedy which spawned two sequels and has continued to be a favorite film among baseball fans.

Later that year he would be cast alongside his brother Emilio in Young Guns. Young Guns was a Western revivalist film, earning him and his brother (along with the director, writers, and fellow actor Kiefer Sutherland) a Bronze Wrangler, an award which honors the top works in Western (as in, cowboys and horses,) music, film, and TV.

This put Charlie Sheen on Clint Eastwood’s radar, earning him a role in The Rookie, a police drama directed by and starring Eastwood. Also that year he reappeared with Martin Sheen in Cadence, which Martin directed.

In 1991, Charlie Sheen starred in Hot Shots!, a parody of Tom Cruise’s classic Top Gun. By 1994, Charlie Sheen had a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and was writing his first film, Discovery Mars. The documentary was meant to show the possibility of there being native life on Mars, and was released direct-to-VHS.

No Code of Conduct was the next film Sheen would write, and he also produced and starred in it alongside his father. It was during this part of the 90s that Sheen would start to cultivate his reputation for vice. After his fiancée left him in 1990 (after he accidentally shot her in the arm,) Charlie Sheen began to date numerous adult film stars. In 1995, Sheen married Donna Peele, but the couple divorced in 1996 after it was publicly revealed that Sheen was a customer of an upscale escort agency. In 1998, it was reported that Charlie Sheen suffered a stroke after injecting cocaine. He checked himself into rehab a few days after the overdose, before leaving, being caught by sheriffs, and returned to the facility, with addition probation.

Spin City & Two and a Half Men

With Spin City, Charlie Sheen was able to secure a large TV following
With Spin City, Charlie Sheen was able to secure a large TV following

In 1999, Sheen had his first tentative role on television, for a pilot shot for A&E. The show wasn’t picked up, and later that year Sheen played himself in Being John Malkovich. By this point, Sheen’s reputation as a Hollywood playboy was well established.

When Michael J. Fox left CBS’ Spin City to continue fighting Parkinson’s, Charlie Sheen was hired as his replacement. The series continued for two more seasons, causing Sheen to be nominated for two ALMA (America Latino Media Arts) Awards, and to win a Golden Globe for Best Performance in a Musical or Comedy. In 2001, Sheen began dating Denise Richards, who guest starred on Spin City. They became engaged later that year, and in 2002 had a wedding service on the estate of Spin City‘s creator.

The series was ended in 2002 because of low ratings, but by the 2003 fall season, Charlie Sheen had secured his own vehicle on the network with Two and a Half Men. Airing on Monday nights after Everybody Loves Raymond, Two and a Half Men cast Charlie Sheen as Charlie Harper, a commercial songwriter whose lifestyle was based loosely on Sheen’s own.

The show proved to be a perfect fit for Sheen, earning him multiple nominations for Golden Globes and Emmys. By the show’s eighth season, Charlie Sheen was earning $1.8 million for each episode, making him the highest paid actor on television.

But outside of the show, Charlie Sheen was struggling with relationships and drugs. In 2005, his wife Denise Richards left him, taking their two children with her. Shortly after, he became an active 9/11 truther, alleging that the Bush administration was responsible for the terror attacks against the World Trade Center. He also advocated against vaccinating his children, believing vaccines to be poison.

In 2008, Charlie Sheen married his third wife, Brooke Mueller, and in March 2009 they had twins. Later that year, Sheen was arrested for assaulting Brooke, charged with felony menacing, third-degree assault, and criminal mischief. At trial, Sheen plead guilty to the assault as part of a bargain which sentenced him to 30 days in rehab, followed by 30 days of probation and 36 hours of anger management courses.
Shortly after the trial, presumably before he’d taken anger management classes, Sheen was forcibly removed by police from the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, after causing several thousand dollars in damage. A couple weeks later, Charlie Sheen filed for divorce from Brooke Mueller. After it was made public that Sheen was living with two adult actresses, police were persuaded to remove the twins from Sheen’s custody, going into his home and taking the children.

That was on March 1, 2011. On March 7, CBS and Warner Brothers cancelled their contract with Charlie Sheen, eventually replacing him on Two and a Half Men with Ashton Kutcher. This led to Sheen having a highly publicized series of interviews. In them, he claimed to have cured his alcoholism with his mind, and that he was a warlock with tiger blood and Adonis DNA. (Adonis was a young man with whom the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, fell in love.)

While Sheen was giving these interviews, he also set a Guinness record for fastest time to reach 1 million followers on Twitter, and shortly after he announced a nationwide tour, “My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not an Option.” The tour was sold out only 18 minutes after tickets went on sale, setting a Ticketmaster recorder. Through the tour, both of the porn stars Sheen had been paying for left him, later being seen with his ex-wife Brooke.

Charlie Sheen embracing juggalo culture really completed his bad boy image
Here, Sheen wears a shirt quoting himself, signed by himself

On August 13, 2011, Charlie Sheen went public with his identification as a Juggalo, hosting the 12th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos. While many at the time saw Sheen’s professed adoration of the Insane Clown Posse as a marketing move, Sheen continues to wear Juggalo merchandise in public.

When Comedy Central roasted the controversial comedian in September 2011, it was the highest rated roast the network has had to date, being watched by over six million people. After the roast, and when the My Violent Tornado of Truth tour ended, Charlie Sheen was left without a TV vehicle, and with a reputation for the largest celebrity meltdown in history.

For the rest of 2011, Sheen used his considerable (albeit negative) social clout to raise money for various charities. Charlie Sheen had been a supporter of Aid for AIDS since 2006, giving considerable amounts of money to various related charities as well as bringing many other celebrities to events to encourage them to become donors. He donated a dollar for each ticket sold to his Tornado tour to the Red Cross for their relief efforts for the 2011 Tohoku earthquake which occurred off the coast of Japan. He also donated money to CHERUBS, a group which supports research into congenital diaphragmatic hernias, a disease which affects newborns.

In 2012, Sheen also announced he would donate $1 million to the USO, which would be the largest single donation every given to the troop entertainment organization. He also donated $50,000 to the Cincinnati Reds, a favorite baseball team of his.

Also in 2012, Charlie Sheen returned to television in FX’s Anger Management. The show, roughly based on the 2003 film starring Jack Nicholson, was the most-watched sitcom premiere on cable, ever. On the show, Charlie Sheen played Charlie Goodson, a minor league baseball player whose anger issues prevented him from moving to the big leagues. The show seemed exceptionally well-suited for Sheen. Beyond his rather public emotional issues, Sheen had a life-long love of baseball (remember the Major League film series?)

No matter how good a fit he was for his character, Sheen in real life was a poor match for his costars. Selma Blair, cast as Charlie’s anger management therapist, complained frequently that Sheen was a menace to work with, as well as frequently late and unrehearsed. Although the problems clearly stemmed from Sheen’s personal habits, it was Blair who was let go from the show.

Anger Management was remarkably poorly received by critics, with many using the show to criticize Charlie Sheen beyond the scope of the show. However, the show made it to 100 episodes (the standard requirement for syndication,) and aired until late 2014.

What is Charlie Sheen Doing Now in 2018?

A lot of The Dr. Oz Show seems to involve having celebrities hold organs
A lot of The Dr. Oz Show seems to involve having celebrities hold organs

After Anger Management ended in 2014, Charlie Sheen disappeared from the public eye for nearly a year. Then, on November 17, 2015, Sheen went on NBC’s Today Show to publicly acknowledge that he has HIV, and has since 2011. He said he was going public to stop extortion threats that had cost him millions. During the interview, Sheen was a far cry from a tiger-blooded Adonis. Nervous and stammering, he said it was impossible for him to have transmitted the virus, since his doctor, Robert Huiezenga, had helped him use a stack of anti-retroviral medication to keep the disease in almost total remission.

On an episode of The Dr. Oz Show aired January 12, 2016 (but filmed late last year,) Charlie Sheen stated that he was not taking the normal treatment of anti-retrovirals, instead receiving alternate treatment from Sam Chachoua, a doctor in Mexico.

After the episode aired, Sheen’s manager was quick to point out that almost immediately after the interview, he resumed his normal treatment, and Sheen himself went on Twitter to accuse the doctor of misleading him about the efficacy of his treatment.

Since Sheen revealed his diagnosis on November 17, San Diego State University researchers noticed a massive spike in Google searches for the disease, as well as a tremendous uptick in news articles mentioning HIV. The researchers dubbed it the “Charlie Sheen effect,” and discussed how, in the future, celebrity mention of public health issues could be used by medical professionals to interject their own statements into the wave of awareness that follows.

Sheen also made headlines for tweeting advice at Cleveland Browns player Johnny Manziel. Manziel, who has recently had his own troubles with partying. Manziel, who has been accused of assaulting his now-ex-girlfriend, retweeted the advice, which was written in Sheen’s now-characteristic style: “it’s time 2 refocus all of your energy on health & Football! it’s never 2 late 2 get a fresh start!” Manziel later deleted his retweet.

With so much focus on his health, it seems unlikely that Charlie Sheen will come back to television any time soon. However, given his tendency of philanthropy, he may well be able to become one of the leading voices in HIV awareness, in spite of his reputation from the past.


Morgan Sennhauser
Morgan Sennhauser
Morgan Sennhauser is a thoroughbred millennial, who has focused on working against censorship and surveillance in Africa and the Middle East. Now living in North Carolina, Morgan spends his time advocating for minority groups in impoverished regions, and writing about related topics.


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