Charlie Sheen appeared on The Today Show to announce to the world he was diagnosed with HIV four years ago.
Sheen said he made the announcement to end a smear campaign and extortion efforts.
“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, threatening the health of so many others that couldn’t be further from the truth,” he said.
Sheen said he’s trusted the diagnosis with people he thought he could confide in, but has paid out upwards of $10 million to keep the illness a secret.
“What people forget is that it’s money taken from my children,” he said about the “shakedowns” he has experienced. “I trusted them and they were deep in my inner circle, and I thought they could be helpful. My trust turned to their treason.”
He said appearing on TODAY will help put a stop to those payouts.
“That’s my goal. That’s not my only goal. I think I release myself from this prison today,” he said.
Sheen said he was diagnosed roughly four years ago but doesn’t know how he contracted the virus.
“It started with what I thought was a series of crushing headaches,” he said. “I thought I had a brain tumor. I thought it was over.”
He also insisted it was “impossible” that he knowingly transmitted the virus to others. While he admitted to having unprotected sex with two people since the diagnosis, both were informed ahead of time and have been under the care of his doctor.