In an interview with Matt Lauer Tuesday morning, actor Charlie Sheen confirmed weeks of rumors by announcing that he is HIV-positive.

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Sheen began:

“I am, in fact, HIV-positive. I have to put a stop to this onslaught, this barrage, of attacks, of sub-truths, and very harmful and mercurial stories that are about threatening the health of so many others, which couldn’t be farther from the truth.”

Sheen said he learned of his status four years ago, after “insane migraines” and night sweats caused him to seek medical help for what he initially thought was a brain tumor. Since his diagnosis with HIV, he says he has “been a victim of betrayal and extortion,” and that he has paid “millions” of dollars to an undisclosed number of people in order to prevent them from revealing his diagnosis.

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In a letter he shared yesterday with Lauer, Sheen wrote:

“In and around this perplexing time, I dazedly chose or hired the companionship of unsavory and insipid types. 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’s confirmation comes weeks after Radar Online published a story about the recent HIV diagnosis of a “bad-boy Tinseltown star” they refused to name. Though it’s usually easy to write off Radar’s gossip as entirely made up, that particular story was lengthier and more detailed than most pieces on the site. “It is not known exactly how the actor contracted the virus, but the star has previously admitted to engaging in tattooing, injecting drugs and having sex with prostitutes,” said the piece.

It was a description that led to plenty of speculation across the internet.

This was global gossip.

Now that we know, it’s hard not to look at some of his recent headline-making antics in a different light. The emotional effects of his diagnosis may help explain some of his behavior over the past two years—from that drunken visit to a Los Angeles Taco Bell to his October booting from an Orange County bar. It also adds a little context to a recent video of his ex-fiancée setting photos of him on fire in her backyard. When asked by Lauer about his “#winning” and “tiger blood” comments from several years ago, Sheen said those particular antics could only be explained by “’roid rage.”

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Radar reports Sheen’s HIV diagnosis has been an “open secret” in Hollywood since at least March of last year, pointing to an email from the Sony email hacks as proof.

It reads:

I think I will win the 90/10 bet on the over under on this ...it’s hard to to be a drug addict and be HIV positive and do 40 eps a year.

http://www.tvweek.com/blogs/tvbizwir…

When asked whether or not he has transmitted the virus to anyone else, Sheen answered quickly and confidently:

“Impossible. Impossible.”


Contact the author at bobby@jezebel.com.

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Images via screengrab.