Watch Charlie Sheen Come Out as HIV Positive on 'Today'
After rampant rumors and a widely circulated blind item, Charlie Sheen made a official announcement about his health this morning on "Today."
Sheen told Matt Lauer, "I am, in fact, HIV positive. 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 threaten the health of so many others," he said.
He was diagnosed four years ago. He said of his initial symptoms, "It started with what I thought was a series of cluster headaches. Sweating the bed… I was hospitalized. I thought I had a brain tumor. I thought it was over."
While HIV is not the death sentence it once was, Sheen confided, "It's a hard three letters to absorb. It's a turning point in one's life."
Charlie admits paying "upwards of 10 million dollars" to people to keep his diagnosis private for the past few years. He said, "What people forget is that's money that they're taking from my children. I've got five kids and a granddaughter, you know?" Watch!
The former "Two and a Half Men" star added about the people he thought he could confide in but who had extorted money from him, "I trusted them and they were deep in my inner circle, and I thought they could be helpful. My trust turned to their treason."
When asked if he was still paying people, Charlie quipped, "Not after today, I'm not. I release myself from this prison today."
Charlie also acknowledged that he was at fault for surrounding himself with "unsavory" people. "I was doing a lot of drugs. I was drinking way too much and I was making really bad decisions."
Sheen has had unprotected sex with two people after his HIV diagnosis, but said they were well aware of his condition and under the care of his doctor.
After contracting HIV, he has a different outlook on life. Sheen revealed, "I'm a survivor. I've been up and down, I've been rich, I've been poor. It's another chapter in my life… If there was one guy who was going to contract this who would deliver a cure, it's me."
After the interview, Sheen was seen arriving to his midtown hotel in the Big Apple.
[Credit: Splash News]
Charlie also released an open letter about his health, writing, "I accept this condition not as a curse or scourge, but rather as an opportunity and a challenge. An opportunity to help others. A challenge to better myself." Read the full letter here!