Charlie Sheen Reveals He’s HIV-Positive and a Victim of Extortion

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Charlie Sheen appeared on the Today Show this morning to reveal he is HIV-positive, an announcement meant to halt all the alleged extortion and shakedowns that have stemmed from his secret. He told Matt Lauer, “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, that threaten the health of so many others that couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Sheen explained that he found out about his diagnosis four years ago (which was right around the time when he was fired from Two and a Half Men and made headlines due to his erratic behavior), having originally thought he had a brain tumor due to a series of cluster headaches, migraines, and extreme sweating. Lauer read a letter that Sheen wrote to him yesterday:

“In an around this perplexing and difficult time, I dazedly chose or hired the companionship of unsavory or insipid types—I’m imagining prostitutes—regardless of their saltless reputations, I always led with condoms and honesty when it came to my condition. Sadly, my truth soon became their treason as a deluge of blackmail and extortion took center stage in this circus of deceit.”

Sheen revealed that he has paid “in the millions” in hush money, including an instance where a prostitute went into his bathroom after a sexual encounter, and took photos of his antiretroviral medication with a cellphone, threatening to sell the images to various tabloids. When asked why he continued engaging in such risky behavior after the diagnosis, Sheen admitted his own faults while citing depression and poor decisions from the alcohol and drug abuse.

When Lauer asked Sheen whether he was still paying the extortionists, Sheen replied, “Not after today, I’m not.”

When asked whether he knowingly transmitted the disease to others, Sheen said it was impossible—a statement that was reaffirmed in a later segment with his doctor, Robert Huizenga, who confirmed Sheen was healthy and had an “undetectable” level of the virus.

Watch the complete interview below: