Charlie Sheen to make ‘revealing personal announcement’ as HIV rumors swirl
The rumor began on the Internet last month. On Monday, just as a National Enquirer report claimed that Charlie Sheen is HIV positive, NBC released a statement saying the 50-year-old actor is set to make a “revealing personal announcement” in a sit-down with Matt Lauer.
Could it be that Sheen’s admitted drug use and penchant for prostitutes and porn stars have brought him to peak cautionary-tale status?
To be clear: It is not confirmed what the troubled Two and a Half Men alum will speak about in the Today show studio some time between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. Tuesday. (The interview will be posted on today.com after it airs.) But on Monday, the National Enquirer claimed that the Anger Management actor was the big Tinseltown name behind the story it published last month with the headline “Hollywood Superstar’s Desperate Battle With AIDS!”
That item fueled a frenzy of speculation, with many readers suggesting that Sheen fit the profile. The tabloid on Monday added sordid details about the alleged scandal surrounding TV’s once highest-paid actor, promising that a lengthy tell-all would hit stands on Nov. 18 following an 18-month investigation into the very private matter.
TMZ spoke with anonymous Today insiders who said that Sheen will, in fact, announce that he is HIV positive and likely will address the National Enquirer report that claims he has “spent millions” to hide his diagnosis for years.
Howard Bragman, a top publicist and crisis manager to the stars, told People that Sheen’s team approached him six months ago seeking advice on how best to handle the situation.
“The interview could open up a lot of sympathy for him, but he has to be concerned about a fear of litigation from former sexual partners,” Bragman said. “You don’t take that lightly.”
According to Bragman, Sheen “is getting treatment, and a lot of people in his life know about it.”
That includes ex-wife Denise Richards, who has known “for a number of years,” according to an Access Hollywood insider. Richards and the couple’s daughters, ages 10 and 11, are not infected, since Sheen contracted the disease after their 2006 divorce. The pair have not been intimate since their split, the source revealed.
“It’s been going on for quite a while," Bragman said. "He’s not necessarily comfortable talking about it. It was very hard to get up the courage for him to talk about it.”
“I’ve known about this a long time; it’s not a surprise to me,” Bragman added. “I feel very sorry for his pain. And I hope it’s used as a teachable moment for the world. This is a disease that can affect anyone.”
Sheen’s longtime publicist, Jeff Ballard, told People that they are no longer working together, in part because of the diagnosis.
“We had a disagreement how to handle a situation and we parted ways,” Ballard said. “We have had a 35-year friendship and I love him. I wish him nothing but the best.”