A dad at 19 and movie star at 21. Drugs and bad boy antics bought him as much fame as films like Lucas and Hot Shots. Recovery would call for desperate measures by dad, Marty.
Charlie Sheen was christened Carlos Irwin Estevez. His father was Martin Sheen, an aspiring actor who was just beginning to make a name for himself on the Broadway stage, and his mother was Janet Sheen, a former New York art student.
Charlie was a “blue baby” and nearly died at birth.. As a gesture of gratitude for saving Charlie‘s life, his parents decided to name their new baby after the doctor – Irwin. Charlie has two brothers, Emilio and Ramon, as well as a sister, Renee. They are also actors.
Right from the start, the young Sheen took an eager interest in his father’s acting career. In 1974, when he was only nine years old, he was given a tiny part in a movie that Martin was acting in called The Execution of Private Slovik. In 1977, he accompanied his parents to the Philippines, where his father was playing one of the lead roles in the soon-to-be-famous Vietnam war movie Apocalypse Now. It was a dramatic time, as Martin suffered a near-fatal heart attack on location.
Sheen attended Santa Monica High School in California, but he wasn’t a particularly keen scholar, and his major interests as a teenager were acting and baseball. While at school, he made friends with future fellow actors Sean Penn and Rob Lowe, and he produced and acted in several amateur movies. He was also a star pitcher and short-stop on the school baseball team - his passion for baseball has undoubtedly influenced some of his later movie roles. His interest in extra-curricular activities played havoc with his school work, and he failed to keep his grades up to the standard the school required. A few weeks before he was due to graduate, Sheen was expelled from high school on the grounds of poor attendance and sub-standard grades.
Undeterred, Sheen turned his attention to acting, and began to pursue his dream of becoming a successful movie star. He auditioned for lots of movies, and succeeded in landing his first major role when he was chosen to play a high school student in the film Red Dawn in 1984. He then played a string of bit parts in TV movies until he received his first really big break in 1986, when controversial Hollywood director Oliver Stone picked him to act in his Oscar-winning epic Platoon. The film was a huge success, and Sheen was critically acclaimed for his performance as a young soldier who finds himself at the centre of a major crisis during the Vietnam War.
Sheen’s rave reviews for Platoon inspired Oliver Stone to cast him for a follow-up lead role in his next movie, Wall Street, in 1987. Here, Sheen acted alongside his father and Michael Douglas. Wall Street portrayed the harsh world of stock market speculation in the late 80s, capturing the spirit of the times with its stock phrase “greed is good”. The film was a major box office success. Oliver Stone also considered casting Sheen for the lead role in his next movie, Born On The 4th of July, another Vietnam epic. But when the star part eventually went to Tom Cruise instead, Sheen was so incensed that he and Oliver Stone quarrelled bitterly. So bitterly in fact, that despite his early successes, Sheen and Oliver Stone have never worked together again.
By now, however, Sheen was so firmly established as a leading Hollywood actor that the falling-out with Oliver Stone did virtually nothing to damage his reputation. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, he continued to be a leading box-office performer, and acted in a string of hit movies, including Young Guns (1988), Major League'(1989), and Hot Shots (1991). But, behind the scenes, Sheen was also engaged in a major struggle to overcome his drug and alcohol addiction, and as the 1990s progressed, his career began to suffer.
On 3 August 1990, Sheen’s family staged a major intervention in a desperate attempt to try and get him to control his drinking and drug-taking, and to get him to enter rehab. Sheen did go into a rehab programme for thirty days, and came out with a publicly avowed goal of staying sober for exactly 366 days.
"I’d be drinking away, doing blow (cocaine), popping pills and telling myself that I wasn’t an addict, because there wasn’t a needle stuck in my arm!"
Sheen achieved his goal of staying sober for one full year - but sadly, the very next day, he started drinking again at a friend’s house and fell into yet another downward spiral of addiction. When talking about his drinking and drug-taking in a magazine interview, Sheen said: “I’d begun drinking all the time. We were shooting in New York City, so I’d be out to the bars every night until 3 or 4am, then I’d try to show up for a 6 o’clock call. How could that work? Yet there I was, the guy that struck gold, looking around at dawn to find the only one still partying was me. I’d be drinking away, doing blow (cocaine), popping pills and telling myself that I wasn’t an addict, because there wasn’t a needle stuck in my arm! Talk about mixing up fantasy and reality! My true addiction was alcohol. I drank, towards the end, two or three bottles of vodka a day. I nearly died, which is about as bad as you can get.”
Sheen’s struggle with drugs and alcohol carried on throughout the 1990s. He finally hit rock-bottom in May 1998, when he was hospitalised following a near-fatal drug overdose. He was admitted to Thousand Oaks hospital, and was ordered by his doctor back into a drug rehab programme at Promises Rehab Center later that same month. It took Charlie two more years to totally overcome his addictions. Unsurprisingly, his professional fortunes suffered a downhill slide over the same period, and most of the films he made during this time performed badly at the box office, including The Arrival (1996) and Shadow Conspiracy (1997).
As the new millennium dawned, however, the tide began to turn. Sheen began a whole new cycle in his career when he was chosen to replace Michael J. Fox in the hit TV series Spin City. Although Sheen only played the role for two seasons, he excelled in this role, and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Series. In addition, his talent as a comedy actor attracted the attention of the top CBS executives, who were casting around for a top-level actor who could play the lead role in the new series, 'Two and A Half Men'.
Sheen landed the role, which began playing the part of a gadabout, womanising man-about-town, who’s required to clean his act up when his brother Cryer and nephew suddenly turn up on his doorstep. Sheen’s lead role in Two and A Half Men not only brought him a salary of $350,000 per episode, making him one of the highest paid comedy actors in American show business, but also gave his career a whole new lease of life.
Sheen’s personal fortunes have been just as eventful as his movie career, and he is no stranger to tabloid controversy. He is well known for his love of guns and shooting. In 1990, he accidentally shot his then fiancee Kelly Preston in the arm. She promptly broke off the engagement, and subsequently married fellow actor John Travolta.
In 1995, Sheen was briefly married to model Donna Peele, and was called upon to testify at the trial of Hollywood madam, Heidi Fleiss. Whilst under oath, he admitted to spending nearly $50,000 on Ms Fleiss’s prostitutes. The following year, his former girlfriend Brittany Ashland filed police charges against him, saying that he had physically abused her. Sheen was later charged with misdemeanour and battery, and was given one year’s suspended sentence, two years’ probation and fined $2,800. That same year, he was also arrested for allegedly assaulting another woman at his home.
In 2002, Sheen married actress Denise Richards. The two had met whilst Sheen was shooting the movie Good Advice in 2001. In March 2004, Denise gave birth to a baby daughter, called Sam, and announced soon afterwards that she was pregnant with Sheen’s second child. It seemed like Sheen had finally settled down, and was enjoying married bliss, but his newfound state of serenity was sadly short-lived. In March 2005, Denise - who was by then six months’ pregnant - filed for divorce, on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences”. Sheen’s second daughter, Lola Rose, was born in June 2005, and the divorce was finalised in late 2006. Sheen then began dating fellow actress Brooke Mueller, whom he met at a party in May 2006, and the couple became engaged.
Charlie Sheen married for the third time in 2009 to Brooke Mueller, shortly followed by the births of twin boys Max and Bob in March of the same year. Sadly, history repeated itself as Sheen was arrested on Christmas Day, 2009, charged with domestic assault against his wife. Mueller accused the actor of threatening to kill her at knifepoint. The judge sentenced Sheen to 30 days in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation programme; the actor said he was "grateful" for the judge's ruling, "I look forward to complying with the court's decision, getting on with my life and putting this behind me".
As of May 2010, Sheen had signed an agreement to return to the sitcom Two and a Half Men for another two years for a reported $1.78 million per episode.
Things looked to be improving for Sheen but in November 2010 he filed for divorce from Mueller and the troubled couple finally separated in May 2011.
Cracks had also appeared in his professional life during this time: in February 2011 Sheen made some disparaging remarks about Chuck Lorre, the producer of Two and a Half Men. Warner Brothers then cancelled production of the show, which was already several episodes in to its run.
The actor's wild and riotous behaviour off-screen continued and in an interview later that month he once again attacked the studio, claiming he was underpaid for his work on the show.
Enough was enough, and in March he was officially fired from the show and Ashton Kutcher filled the lead role position on the show, although taking the position as a brand new character.
Following his dramatic departure from the series Sheen then took to social media site Twitter to promote himself and share with his fans his often humorous musings on life.
He amassed a million followers almost overnight, setting a Guinness World Record in doing so and was soon approached for marketing contracts by numerous online businesses.
His trademark "winning" slogan and unusual penchant for tiger blood gained him notoriety and in March 2011, he announced that he would be touring a one-man comedy show in the US.