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The Charlie Sheen Story

Aired November 6, 2010 - 22:00   ET



AMBER LYON, CNN HOST: A troubled star, a turbulent past, and uncertain future.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he doesn't get any help, he's just going to get worse.


LYON: Charlie Sheen --


LYON: Wildly successful --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's so surreal.


LYON: But living on the edge.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The million dollar question in Hollywood right now is, why is it that Charlie Sheen is able to get away with so much.



LYON: The city of angels, where stars are born, where some fall, where some are resurrected and no one knows that better than Charlie Sheen. The star of "Two and a Half Men" has come back from scandal time and time again. But with this latest meltdown, has Charlie Sheen finally gone too far?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is Charlie Sheen in trouble? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Naked and out of control.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Charlie Sheen is hospitalized.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A whole boat load of trouble for Charlie Sheen.

LYON (voice-over): Last week reports of an alcohol fueled rampage. A hotel suite trashed, Charlie Sheen, naked, hospitalized.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My bra size is a 32-B.

LYON: And this porn star, 22-year-old Christina Walsh, locked in the bathroom. Her audition tape was on TMZ.

HARVEY LEVIN, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, TMZ: He met this woman early in the day and ended up going to dinner with her and some other people.

LYON: Harvey Levin is executive producer of TMZ. TMZ obtained these exclusive photos of the dinner which even included Charlie's ex- wife Denise Richards.

LEVIN: Denise Richards was invited by Charlie. She didn't know that there was going to be this group there. Before Denise knew anything, this port star went up and said, oh my God, I'm a big fan of yours I want to take a picture. Denise left in the middle of her appetizer. She felt uncomfortable and she left and went back to the hotel room.

LYON: Despite a rocky public divorce, Denise and Charlie have been coming together for their young daughters, and this was a trip for their girls, their first to New York City. So how in the world did it end up like this?

Actor Tom Sizemore is Charlie's friend of nearly 20 years. He thinks it all began when Charlie's $150,000 watch went missing.

(on camera): The watch is more important to him?

TOM SIZEMORE, CHARLI SHEEN'S FRIEND: It's a beautiful watch, I have seen the watch. And he thought that maybe someone in the hotel room had taken it. I have been in that situation and usually someone has taken it.

LYON: And you feel though in this situation --

SIZEMORE: And they're not going to give it back either.

LYON: You think in that situation that that set him off.

SIZEMORE: I think if someone stole that from him or took it, it would piss him off. LEVIN: He went crazy, swearing, screaming. It was primal in this hotel room at around 2:00 in the morning and ultimately, she locked herself in the bathroom.

LYON (voice-over): TMZ obtained photos of the destruction, a broken chandelier, thrown chairs, an alleged $7,000 worth of damage.

RAY KELLY, NYPD POLICE COMMISSIONER: Mr. Sheen was taken to a New York Presbyterian Hospital. No arrests were made. No one was willing to sign a complaint.

LYON: But at the hospital, Christina was nowhere in sight, instead it was Charlie's ex-wife, Denise, who was by his side. Denise told her story to "HLN's Joy Behar" the next day.


JOY BEHAR, HOST, THE JOY BEHAR SHOW: Did you go to the hospital with him?

DENISE RICHARDS, CHARLIE SHEEN'S EX-WIFE: I do know what happened. I would rather not talk about it. And I did help him at the hospital.


BEHAR: You did go to the hospital with him?


BEHAR: So how is he doing? Can you tell me that?

RICHARDS: I'll let you ask Charlie.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Charlie, what happened with that girl?


LYON: Charlie was released that morning. In a statement, his publicist told CNN, quote, "What we are able to determine is that Charlie had an adverse allergic reaction to some medication."

SIZEMORE: In six hours, you can undo 17 years of hard work. And what people will remember is the six hours where you were an asshole.

LYON: Like Charlie, Tom has long battled addiction, and like many of Charlie's friends, Tom fears for him.

(on camera): Have you tried to reach out to him and help him get into rehab?

SIZEMORE: I tried to call him and I couldn't get through. He wouldn't talk to Robert Downey.

LYON: Oh, Robert Downey tried to call him as well.

SIZEMORE: Yes. And he knows about treatment. He's been to treatment. And Marty knows all about it.

LYON (voice-over): Marty is actor Martin Sheen, Charlie's father. Martin is a recovering alcoholic himself and is reportedly trying to stage an intervention to help his son overcome a dark family legacy.

(on camera): Hard partying was in Charlie's blood. He went to high school here in Santa Monica High, but he got kicked out just weeks before graduating. Instead, he got an education in Hollywood landing small roles here and there. He was the jail druggie in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."


CHARLIE SHEEN, ACTOR: I thought you went here for drugs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Why are you here?

SHEEN: Drugs.


LYON: And the high jock in "Lucas".


SHEEN: How's the cheerleading going?

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Great, I love it.


LYON: But it was Oliver Stone's 1986 Vietnam war movie "Platoon" that catapulted Charlie.


SHEEN: I dropped out of college. I told them I want the infantry combat in Vietnam.


LYON: He went on to star in blockbusters like "Wall Street."


SHEEN: I just bagged the elephant.


LYON: And "Young Guns." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHEEN: You, you ain't no captain, you sure as hell ain't no Robin Hood.


LYON: But as his success grew, so did his troubles.

In 1990, he checked into rehab for the first time.

SHEEN: You know, things were a little out of hand, and it was time to look in the mirror and change what was happening. You know, it was time to get back in touch with myself, my family, my friends, and through their help, I was able to ask for help.

LYON: Charlie's stay was short and he was back on set and soon back to his old ways.

Coming up, scandal overshadows the stars.

Heidi Fleiss and a $50,000 tab.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Don Lemon, here are your headlines this morning.

President Barack Obama was in India, Saturday, the first stop on a ten-day tour through Asia. He announced 10 billion and new contracts for U.S. exports to India. The move he says will deliver jobs back home.

And while in Mumbai, he honored victims of the attacks there two years ago. He moves on to New Delhi on Sunday.

Streets are quiet in Oakland, California, following Friday night's violent protests over the sentencing of a police officer. Police say a peaceful march to remember the victim of a shooting turned unruly at night fall when a small number of people began throwing rocks and bottles. More than 150 people were arrested.

Former transit officer Johannes Mehserle was sentenced to two years for shooting and killing 22-year-old Oscar Grant on a train platform. It was captured on a cell phone camera.

Mexican authorities say they have killed one of the top leaders in the notorious drug cartel. The drug boss known as Tony the Storm was killed during a two-hour gun battle in the border city of Matamoras. Four other suspected cartel members and three members of the Mexican Navy were also killed in the clash. The gun fire was loud enough to be heard at an American university on the other side of the border.

Those are your headlines this hour. Keeping you informed. CNN, the most trusted name in news. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


LYON: After a decade of success as a rising Hollywood star, Charlie Sheen started to become better known for his scandalous lifestyle --


LYON: -- than his onscreen talent.

Ken Baker is the chief correspondent for "E."

(on camera): Was there any one incident that started out Charlie Sheen's bad boy image?

KEN BAKER, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, "E": I think people had a sense that Charlie Sheen was definitely going to be the bad boy. When in 1995, he testified in the Heidi Fleiss trial and admitted under oath that he did see prostitutes.

LYON (voice-over): Heidi Fleiss was the Hollywood madam accused of running a high end call girl ring, and Charlie was a frequent client.

Approximately how many times other than the seven about which you testified did you arrange for sexual services with Ms. Fleiss?

SHEEN: 20.

LYON: Charlie admitted to paying more than $50,000 for sex.

The scandal didn't seem to slow down and the Hollywood playboy did whatever he wanted. But his life of excess was taking a toll.

In May 1998 after a dangerous night of shooting coke at home, he couldn't shake the hangover. He told "Playboy" magazine, it all hit me at once. My legs went out, they disappeared, I couldn't walk. I was terrified.

Charlie Sheen had hit rock bottom. He was rushed to this hospital after a drug overdose.

BAKER: And what I remember most from that time was that his father, Martin, he just called a press conference.

MARTIN SHEEN, FATHER OF CHARLIE SHEEN: This is not an easy moment in our lives, but it is a very important one, a very necessary one.

LYON: It looked like it could have been over for Charlie Sheen. But in 2000, a huge break. A role in the comedy "Spin City."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell me what did you say was your last name again?

SHEEN: Whoa, let's not rush things.


LYON: It put his career back on track winning him a Golden Globe for Best Actor.

SHEEN: It's so surreal, I never won anything. So this is tremendous. I'm thrilled.

LYON: Charlie celebrated his success with his new fiance Denise Richards and the couple married in 2002.

SHEEN: It was like unbelievable.

LYON: So Denise and him, she met him during his good period?

BAKER: Charlie, the bad boy, the ultimate bachelor was being tamed and this is the only woman who could tame him because she was this sexpot. Then he got the role that really changed his life and turned his career into a high octane career.

LYON: His role in "Two and a Half Men" would closely resemble his own life.


SHEEN: Hey, Allen, long time no see. Say hello to my brother Allen.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm interrupting.

SHEEN: Gee, you think?


LYON: Actor Tom Sizemore says that it was during Charlie's good period that his long-time friend tried to help him beat drug addiction.

(on camera): He sat by your pool for 56 hours?

SIZEMORE: Yes, it was a very long -- he held me hostage from my pool, I thought.

LYON: What was Charlie trying to do?

SIZEMORE: Take me to rehab. I wouldn't talk to him. BAKER: And he really had this period there for a few years where it seemed like, wow, maybe Charlie's growing up and then it all went bad again.

LYON (voice-over): In January 2006, Charlie and Denise told the public they were getting a divorce and like that, it became one of Hollywood's most talked about break ups.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tonight the nasty divorce of Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards gets even nastier.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Richards says Sheen became enraged and pushed her to the ground screaming, "I hope you f'ing die." As Richards tells it, he was angry at her for telling the divorce attorney that he was visiting pornographic Web sites. The sites Richards says featured, quote, "very young girls who looked underage to me with pig tails, braces and no pubic hair performing oral sex with each other."

SHEEN: If any of this nonsense or in anyway accurate, then I wouldn't have had any access to the children or her for the past year and a half.

LYON (on camera): A lot of people in the public, especially the guys would say, my gosh, he had Denise Richards, the bun girl, to come home to every day.

BAKER: What I can tell you is that, he has a long standing pattern of being committed to one thing. And that's being with as many beautiful women that he can be with as possible and to constantly be tempted by sex. And to be tempted by the hard partying lifestyle that a celebrity can have.

LYON (voice-over): The notoriety didn't hurt Hollywood's bachelor, but riding high would soon get Charlie in trouble again.


BROOKE MUELLER: My husband had me with a knife.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Charlie Sheen hospitalized. The "Two and a Half Men" star reportedly found drunk and naked in a trashed hotel room.


LYON (voice-over): It's just the latest in a long string of drunken, drug fueled benders gone bad. But no one seems to care.

BAKER: The million dollar question in Hollywood right now is, why is it that Charlie Sheen is able to get away with so much yet he still gets the support of fans who will watch his TV show, he gets the support of Hollywood, who keeps employing him and somehow he even has ex-wives making explanations and defenses for him.

LYON: Brooke Mueller is Charlie's third wife. They got married in 2008 but just this week, he filed for a divorce.



LYON: That's paparazzi talking to Brooke outside of her house in Hollywood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We hope for the best.

MUELLER: I hope so.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Charlie, we're with you, Charlie. Come on, Charlie, we love you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are his friend?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm his father.

LYON: Her dad even seemed supportive.


M. SHEEN: We hope so, we don't know.

MUELLER: Dad, no more talking.

M. SHEEN: I know.

LYON: Kind of bizarre considering the violent blow up between Brooke and Charlie during a trip to Aspen last Christmas.


MUELLER: My husband had me with a knife and I feared for my life and he threatened me. I thought I was going to die for one hour.

911 OPERATOR: OK, what's your name?

MUELLER: Brooke.

911 OPERATOR: And what's your husband's name?

MUELLER: It's Charlie Sheen.


LYON: The call came in to Aspen Pitkin County police at 8:45 a.m. on December 25th 2009. Officer McFarlane responded to the call.

VALERIE MCFARLANE, ASPEN POLICE DEPARTMENT: During my investigation, I interviewed Charlie Sheen's wife. I also observed her injuries and photographed them for the record.

LYON: When she arrived, Brooke and Charlie were both drunk. Brooke says he pinned her down and held a knife to her throat.

MCFARLANE: I also saw older bruises that appeared to be in the healing process.

LYON: Charlie was arrested, but the judge only gave him probation, which didn't sit well with McFarlane.

MCFARLANE: I respect the judge could have seen what Mrs. Sheen looked like that Christmas Day and felt the terror that I believed she must have experienced as a result of what she alleged she suffered because of Mr. Sheen's conduct towards her.

LYON: No jail time and no dent in his popularity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Charlie, it's good to see you, bro.

LYON: His hit show, "Two and a Half Men" on CBS is still one of the top comedies on TV.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know, it was some job that lets you keep your self-respect. Like, you know, man whore.


LYON: Dr. Drew Pinsky is an expert on celebrity addiction. His show "Celebrity Rehab" films here at the Pasadena Recovery Center.

Look at someone like Chris Brown and Rihanna. Right away, the public condemned him, it almost ruined his career. But you've got Charlie Sheen putting a knife allegedly to his wife's throat, repeatedly being charged with abusing women and it just seems like the public doesn't care. Why?

DR. DREW PINSKY, EXPERT ON CELEBRITY ADDICTION: I think it is the fact that they sort of excuse him by virtue of the character he plays on television, number one. But number two, we haven't had the kind of vivid evidence we have seen with Mel Gibson or with Chris Brown. Or we actually look at the evidence that we had seen or heard the things that actually happened, I'm not sure we would be so forgiving.

LYON (on camera): We're here in the Warner Brothers lot where "Two and a Half Men" is filmed, and it doesn't seem that anything Charlie does outside of here affects his role on the show. Just six months after that incident between him and his wife in Aspen, CBS renewed his contract for nearly 2 million bucks an episode, making Charlie Sheen the highest paid actor on TV. LYON (voice-over): And less than a week after Charlie's alleged rampage at the Plaza Hotel, he was back on the set of "Two and a Half Men." CBS and Warner Brothers had no comment on the incident.

PINSKY: The only thing that's actually surprising me about this whole story is how quickly he returned to work after that particular episode. I thought, wow, he's going to have to stop working for a while and focus on recovery for at least six months. But he went right back to work.

LYON (on camera): So is it possible to work a schedule like Charlie does and at the same do rehab and get better.

PINSKY: In my opinion, to my eye, that is not impossible. That would be impossible.

LYON: What do you think will happen to Charlie if he doesn't go back into rehab?

SIZEMORE: Once again, I don't want to be a doom sayer, but if he doesn't get any help, it's just going to get worse.

LYON: But what's worse? I mean, how do you get worse?

SIZEMORE: I don't know what's worse than what's going on? Well, he could have a crippling heart attack and not die and be a vegetable, he could die, he could hurt somebody else, driving intoxicated. Come on, Charlie, you've got those daughters and everything. If I can do it, anybody can do it. And I mean that. I was terribly addicted.

PINSKY: We have gone through Britney Murphy, Anna Nicole, name all that you want, Michael Jackson, and we just kind of move on to the next one without learning that what we're watching is someone who's seriously, seriously ill.

LYON: How close do you think Charlie Sheen is to being on that list that you just named?

PINSKY: Oh he's very close. There's no doubt in my mind.

LYON: So it appears that Hollywood will yet once again forgive Charlie Sheen. And if you look at the court of public opinion, the verdict seems to be so what? As long as Charlie continues to perform on screen, what he does off-screen just doesn't seem to matter.