Actor Charlie Sheen went public with his HIV-positive status Tuesday, telling the “Today” show’s Matt Lauer that he made the revelation to “put an end to the barrage of attacks” that he’s seen in tabloids and other media outlets.
“I would like to admit that I am in fact HIV positive,” Sheen told 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.”
The former Two and a Half Men star told Matt Lauer that he first found out about his status “about four years ago” and initially thought he had a brain tumor. “It’s a hard three letters to absorb,” he said, adding that his diagnosis four years ago was a “turning point” in his life.
He says he has paid several millions of dollars over the last few years to blackmailers deep in his inner circle who threatened to reveal his HIV status, saying “that’s money they’re taking from my children.”
In terms of paying people now, he says, “I think I release myself from this prison today.”
He admits that he has had unprotected sex since his diagnosis, but that the two people involved were forewarned, and that he has told all his sexual partners about his status. “I always led with condoms and honesty when it came to my condition,” he added.
Watch clips from TODAY’s exclusive interview with Charlie Sheen below: