Charlie Sheen says he revealed he is HIV positive in order to ”release myself from this prison”.
The 50-year-old actor admitted he has been the victim of several extortion plots as he tried to keep his diagnosis secret over the past four years and has paid out millions to prevent the news going public.
During an interview with Matt Lauer on the Today show, the interviewer said: ”You’ve said that you have been the victim of betrayal and extortion. You’ve told me that people have demanded money to stay silent about this.”
Charlie replied: ”We’re talking about shakedowns. I’ve paid those people, not that many, but enough to bring it into the millions. That’s money they’re taking from my children. It’s not just me. I’ve got five kids and a granddaughter.”
Charlie also revealed he spoke out in order stop ”harmful” speculation and attacks about him.
He said: ”I’m here to admit that I am in fact HIV positive. I had to put a stop to this onslaught and barrage of attacks and sub-truths. These very harmful and mercurial stories about threatening the health of so many others.”
Charlie was diagnosed four years ago and first thought he had a brain tumor.
He said: ”I thought based on migraines and cluster headaches and sweating the bed for nights in a row that I had a brain tumor. I thought it was over. After a battery of tests they told me this is what’s going on. It’s a hard three letters to absorb, it’s a turning point in one’s life.”
Charlie also insisted that it is ”impossible” he has knowingly or unknowingly transmitted the virus since his diagnosis and said he had always been honest with his sexual partners.
Charlie admitted to having unprotected sex twice since he found out about his condition but added: ”They were under the care of my doctor.”
He also revealed that one prostitute tried to blackmail him after finding HIV medication in his bathroom.
When asked why he continued to invite prostitutes to his home despite the blackmail, Charlie said it was because he was depressed.
Charlie – who called himself a ”survivor” during the interview – revealed both his ex-wives, Brooke Mueller and Denise Richards were aware of his illness and said: ”I’m not going to be the poster man for this, but I will not shun away from responsibilities.”
Meanwhile, Charlie’s doctor Robert Huizenga also appeared on the show and clarified that Charlie does not have AIDS.
He said the actor had an undetectable level of HIV in his blood and was ”absolutely healthy,” revealing his main concerns are about how Charlie’s depression and past drug use could hinder his treatment.
Charlie said he is not currently taking drugs but still drinks alcohol.