Oh Charlie Sheen where did it all go so wrong for you? I feel like I have grown up with you and today the news breaks that you are indeed the actor rumoured to about to announce to the world that you are HIV positive. You are the chap who had to sit down on camera yesterday, after weeks of speculation in the press and confirm that it was you they were talking about. You are the star who has had HIV for five years.
That isn’t the story for me though. Being HIV positive is not what it once was, thanks to amazing advances in drug therapy it is much easier to lead a relatively normal life. It is not viewed as the instant death sentence we all assumed it to be in the 90s.
But then these days I can’t view you as I did in the 90s either. I adored you as a teenager, Charlie. You were the bad boy brother of the cleaner cut Emilio Estevez who I thought was a bit too “pretty” for my liking. I always thought you were the better actor, as well as the better looking one. Your various trophy nominations would seem to support that too. When you popped up as the bad boy in the police station in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off I wanted that to be a bigger part, or there be a Ferris Bueller’s Weekend Off and you feature in it a lot more. You were dark and brooding, mean and moody without being too harsh. You did a load of other films that certainly seemed to show you really were a serious actor and not just a member of the Brat Pack.
Just five years ago you were also the highest paid actor on TV, though I can’t claim to have watched you in Two and a Half Men so I can’t say if you were worth the Million Pound an episode fee you were paid. It seems that pay cheque though might have been the real start of your undoing. Your going off the rails. And for me that is really what this current news story is about.
That in those five short years you have gone from that to, well what we read about today. A man who is living as a recluse in your house in Beverley Hills, paying prostitutes to come over and entertain you. Handing out wadges of cash to those girls. And boys. And taking an extraordinary amount of drugs. So many that your body is now shutting down, as are you.
Where are your friends? True friends. Where are the people that really care about you? Your brothers? Your parents? People who can stage an intervention and get you out of this situation? It’s like you have given up on living as this is no life. You seemingly have the world at your feet, with wealth beyond what most of us can ever comprehend and yet you are chucking it away.
You have five kids. Five beautiful children who are having to stand by and watch their dad spectacularly fall from grace publicly. Do you have any idea how damaging that is? How heartbreaking it is for your ex’s to have to try and protect and explain to their children just what is wrong with daddy.
Not hard enough to grow up being the children of famous people they are having to read about your love of prostitutes and crack cocaine. Possibly be taunted about it in the playground. That really isn’t fair on them is it?
What happens when you die? Then what? How will they feel then? What will they do then? Go down the same route having inherited your left over millions? Because that is the only way this story can end Charlie if you carry on as you are.
When you go on the Today programme later and make your big announcement, how about saying this is the new you? This is the start of a new beginning. Where you get rid of the drawer of cash. You get rid of the “yes men” who will do whatever you want, including I assume bringing drugs in for you. After all if you barely go out, how are you getting them? Look what happened to Michael Jackson? His doctor knew they were lethal doses of drugs (albeit prescription drugs not illegal) and because he wouldn’t stand his ground to Jackson he ended up with a jail sentence. Rightly. That is what will happen to your current entourage.
This could be the start of you being a spokesperson for HIV organisations. Where you can help fund raise to finally find a cure. To finally break down those last stigmas surrounding the illness.
Where you can do some good and not just descent into some further hell. Where you kick all these addictions as the drugs you need to take to keep HIV under control are never going to work with a cocktail of crack cocaine and alcohol in your system too.
Where are your parents? Why have they not swept you up and taken you away from all of this and locked you away where you can be looked after, cared for and nurtured? I know that is a simplistic view and you can’t make an addict clean but I can’t help feeling that somebody needs to take control and help you.
Because from where I am standing you can’t help yourself Charlie
And that’s a real shame.
At Mothers2Mothers I saw first hand in Africa earlier this year the work that anti retro viral drugs can do in keeping HIV under control. The extraordinary lengths those people go to in order to stay fit and healthy and to help those drugs to work. To keep their children fit and healthy. That in turn the super human things people in the UK do to raise money to pay for those drugs for people in Africa to have a fighting chance. And yet here you are Charlie Sheen…. here you are.
Please use today as a day to do something amazing. For all HIV sufferers around the world. Your millions could quite possibly save the same number of lives.
Do this for your family. For your kids.
It will make you feel better than any Golden Globe nomination. Any orgasm. Any high from an illegal drug.
Do this for you Charlie Sheen. Do this for you.
Photo of Charlie Sheen courtesy of Shutterstock