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Playboy Interview: Charlie Sheen
  • June 19, 2012 : 09:06
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PLAYBOY: We’re familiar with it. “If anyone’s gonna have sex with my sister, it’s going to be me.”

SHEEN: Right. It’s fucking hilarious. I’d never seen it, and I laughed myself into a hernia. That is 100 percent true.

PLAYBOY: So forget Chuck Lorre, forget Warner Bros. and CBS. It’s Dave ­Chappelle’s fault that you got fired?

SHEEN: It’s his fault. There you go. Dave Chappelle cost me my job.

PLAYBOY: You claimed that you cured your drug and alcohol addictions with your brain. Explain how that works.

SHEEN: There are limits to it. You can’t cure your own cancer, obviously, especially if it’s late stage. But we’re taught at an early age not to trust ourselves. I think the power of the mind is amazing, and we’ve barely scratched the surface of what it can do. But that was kind of an experiment back then. I was just kind of winging it, and it worked.

PLAYBOY: To a lot of people it sounds like denial.

SHEEN: Of course it does. It sounds like you think you’re above it all, that you’re smarter than everybody else. But it’s not about that. I just think the whole disease model of addiction is crap. It’s rooted in fiction and junk science.

PLAYBOY: But you understand why it’s hard to take that seriously. Many alcoholics say things like “I can quit anytime I want.” But they don’t—and can’t.

SHEEN: Here’s how I think of it. Someone’s in rehab, right? And he’s like, “Hey, man, I’ve got 45 days and then I’m clean.” Of course it seems that easy. You’re in a place with no drugs and you can’t leave. Way to go, man. Try it in the real world.

PLAYBOY: You don’t believe in rehab?

SHEEN: I don’t. I believe in detox. I think detox is smart. You’ve got a guy who’s in an opiate cycle or a dope cycle or something, and he can’t get out of it. You shut him down long enough so at least his body can start working for itself again. I’m not saying in all situations it’s bad to get help. I’m saying sometimes it’s okay to trust yourself. Because that’s the one thing they drill into you at these fucking AA meetings: Don’t trust yourself. Your brain is broken.

PLAYBOY: Put your faith in a higher power.

SHEEN: Exactly. Fuck that. I’m putting my faith in myself, not a higher power. My brain is broken? My brain wasn’t broken enough to afford the 100 grand to get in here, you dickheads.

PLAYBOY: You’re single, right?

SHEEN: At the moment, yeah.

PLAYBOY: No more goddesses?

SHEEN: Not anymore.

PLAYBOY: You had rules for that relationship: Nobody panics, there’s no judgment.

SHEEN: Yeah, park your judgment at the door. Nobody dies. And one more—enjoy every moment! I don’t know, it seems pretty simple to me.

PLAYBOY: Was there anything missing from those rules? Anything that would have kept your relationship with the goddesses together?

SHEEN: Those rules were created for a very specific circumstance, but they’re still pretty good. It seems like basic groundwork you can build on. The judgment thing is especially hard. My mom offered me $500 when I was 12 years old not to say anything negative for an entire day. I didn’t make it past breakfast. And $500 at the time was like a million bucks, but I couldn’t make it.

PLAYBOY: Was there anything about the goddesses people didn’t understand?

SHEEN: Everything. It was more fodder for them to criticize, more Sheen antics to judge when those same people would have loved to have a similar situation.

PLAYBOY: Do you still think it’s possible for an intimate relationship to survive when more than two people are involved?

SHEEN: I think it was a hell of an idea but with the wrong people involved. I don’t know, man. I’m kind of old-fashioned in a lot of ways. I prefer mano a mano. Even if you have two girls in the house, it’s not like we’re together all the time. But I need variety. Every man does. Not everyone will admit it, but that’s how we’re wired. It’s in our ancestral blueprint.

PLAYBOY: So how do any marriages stay together?

SHEEN: It’s just impulse control. The married guy looks at the hot chick and thinks, Oh, she’s hot. But he doesn’t do anything. When you can’t control the impulse, you make a decision that burns down the whole kingdom. You can have rules at home that are different from the rest of the world’s as long as you’re not hurting anyone. People think it’s insane up at my place. It’s really not. There are always children there; there’s always life there. It’s just a good vibe.

PLAYBOY: Do you prefer to be single?

SHEEN: At least for now. It’s definitely safer to be single, especially with this cottage industry that’s devoted to extorting celebrities.

PLAYBOY: That’s a real thing?

SHEEN: It is, yeah. There are businesses where women are recruited to hook up with famous men, get dirt on them and then sell it. This actually exists. It’s fucking heinous.

PLAYBOY: How do you trust anybody?

SHEEN: We take phones and purses at my house, and people have to sign shit. I’m not living in the Pentagon, but I’ve been burned enough to have to take precautions. It’s either that or choose a different type of woman or party guest, because you never know. Sometimes the right choice seems great at the moment, but then suddenly it’s as if somebody detonated a suicide bomb.

PLAYBOY: Is that why you’re drawn to prostitutes, because you already know what the financial arrangement is, so there are no hidden agendas?

SHEEN: I don’t do that as much anymore. It’s just not, I don’t know.… [long pause] I always feel I traded my time for something that could’ve been more valuable or substantial.

PLAYBOY: Meaning what? Actual intimacy?

SHEEN: The problem with prostitutes is, what if you actually like somebody you meet in that situation? Where do you go from there? What do you do?

PLAYBOY: If it starts as a service, can it ever become more than that?

SHEEN: It can, absolutely. But it’s hard. I’m not saying I’ll never be with a prostitute again. Parts of it are soulless and parts of it are nourishing. It’s always a roll of the dice. There are times when that’s the plan, and I’ll abort it because the vibe isn’t right. Sometimes it’s hoping for a different result each time. At some point, you either have to change the players or forfeit the game.

PLAYBOY: Your fondness for prostitutes dates back to your first sexual experience. You lost your virginity at the age of 15 to a Las Vegas prostitute.

SHEEN: I did, yeah. [laughs] Nothing further, Your Honor.

PLAYBOY: And you paid for it with your dad’s credit card. How did you not get busted for that?

SHEEN: Oh, I did. It was a bad scene, man. I’m watching TV in our living room, and he’s in his office 20 feet away. I’m sitting on the floor with a bag of chips or something, and all of a sudden a piece of paper falls in front of me. I look up, and my dad’s already walking away. It’s his Visa bill. There’s one thing circled, and it’s $350. There’s an arrow pointing to it and three words: “What is this?” He had gone back into my bedroom and was just waiting for me.

PLAYBOY: He made you come to him?

SHEEN: He did. It was brilliant. That was a long walk. That was longer than giving up a game-seven bomb and having to make the walk back to the dugout. I was like a defense attorney going to trial against video evidence.

PLAYBOY: So what did you say?

SHEEN: I blamed it on my cousin Joey. I said it was Joey’s idea. I was like, “You were asleep. We stole your credit card. Sorry, our bad. Uh, Joey went second, by the way.” [laughs]

PLAYBOY: He didn’t lecture you about having sex with prostitutes?

SHEEN: Not really. He just hoped I understood that it’s not love. I was like, “Really? You should have seen her, Dad. That’s fucking true love.” [laughs]

PLAYBOY: Are you following in your dad’s parenting footsteps?

SHEEN: I try to. Even when I don’t want to, it’s there. We all have that moment of “Oh God, I sound like my dad.” That happened to me recently. I remember he used to say to me, “This mess ain’t going to clean itself up.” I vowed I would never say that to my kids. But a few weeks ago I said the exact same sentence to Sam and Lola [his daughters with Denise ­Richards], word for word. “This mess ain’t going to clean itself up!”

PLAYBOY: Your dad hasn’t always been easy on you. He’s talked about your drug problems publicly and was involved in at least one intervention. Are you ready to be the bad guy for your kids?

SHEEN: You have to. Hopefully they’ll eventually realize you did it out of love and compassion and honoring the truth.

PLAYBOY: Your dad had a wild past and his own struggles with alcohol addiction. Did that make it harder to take him seriously when he lectured you?

SHEEN: Yes and no. I don’t remember him being as bad as he remembers. The way he describes his behavior, the drinking and all that, doesn’t ring true for me. I don’t remember it being that bad.

PLAYBOY: Maybe you didn’t see it.

SHEEN: Nah. There weren’t a lot of secrets in our family. My parents had fights. They were pretty loud about it. It never got physical, but a dish always got broken somewhere. You could almost predict it. “Wait for it…wait for it.…” Smash!

PLAYBOY: But as far as you knew, there was no partying or drinking?

SHEEN: I don’t know. Maybe there was, but it’s not my memory of what his life was like.

PLAYBOY: Do you think he’s exaggerating, or did it never happen at all?

SHEEN: It’s almost as if he’s created a history. I don’t know why he would do that. Maybe it’s shame, guilt, remorse, whatever it is.

PLAYBOY: Remorse for what?

SHEEN: We moved a lot. He lived job to job, so we were always traveling. We’d live in houses for six months with no furniture. Beanbags were a big staple for us. He was doing the best he could. We weren’t rich, but because of him I grew up all over the world. When I got home and had grade school geography, I was like, “Been there.” That was pretty cool.

PLAYBOY: You celebrated your 11th birthday in the Philippines while your dad was shooting Apocalypse Now. Was it anything approaching normal?

SHEEN: It was the craziest time you could possibly imagine. The Philippines was a much different place back then. You could barely get a Snickers bar, much less a cake that wasn’t filled with mold or rat shit. I remember one night we were in the bungalows where we lived at the time, and just as we were getting ready to go to bed, a naked Robert Duvall comes racing through the room, screaming at the top of his lungs like an Indian. Then he leaves, and he doesn’t poke his head back in to explain. He doesn’t say, “I’m out here with ­Dennis Hopper and he put me up to this.” Nothing. To this day I don’t know what the hell that was about.

PLAYBOY: How do you feel about Apocalypse Now as an adult?

SHEEN: Everything you need to know about life is in Apocalypse. Everything. When Marlon Brando says, “You have the right to kill me, but you don’t have the right to judge me,” that’s it, man. That’s the world right there.

PLAYBOY: How often do you rewatch it?

SHEEN: At least every six months. I can’t talk to people who haven’t seen it until they have. I tell girls that if I’m going to date them, they have to watch that movie and they have to listen to Springsteen’s “Brilliant Disguise.” Listen to that song and you’ll know a little more about me.

PLAYBOY: You’ve made three baseball movies, and now you’re playing a ballplayer. Should we assume you really like baseball?

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read more: Celebrities, interview, playboy interview, charlie sheen, actor, issue july 2012


  • Anonymous
    Charlie Sheen is the "BOSS"! I Love this man...He needs to meet me. He's on my level!♥♥♥
  • Anonymous
    Ya know...even with all the crazy shit he's been through..he still is fairly level-headed and self-deprecating right now. Gotta give it up to the guy... he's living his life.
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
    Its pretty hard to read when there is this beautiful girl looking at me!
  • Anonymous
    two and a half men best show EVER on tv
  • Anonymous
    i use to make a point to catch every episode
  • Anonymous
    Couldn't agree more!
  • Anonymous
    Thank you Charlie for this interview, you are a freaking rock star and don't cheapen your existence.Love you lots and looking forward to Anger Mgt.
  • Anonymous
    Can't wait to see Charlie back to work, he deserves the best. I still watch his reruns every evening and still laugh out loud.
  • ED
    Enjoyed the interview. He is around my age and, likely because of that, I have a special spot for him in my world of celebrity-appreciation. I also like some of the roles that made him famous, plus his "Charlie" on Two and a Half Men. I wish him good health, a long life, and freedom so he can continue to be the only artist for his life's canvas. ~EM
  • Anonymous
    I'm writing a university paper on the disease of addiction, and I've come to the same conclusion Charlie did. It's bullshit. Read Szasz, for instance. I've used Sheen as a sort of case study. Winning!
  • Anonymous
    I dont know why, but Ive always liked Charlie Sheen. Yes, hes rich, out of touch with reality and a real fruitcake. After reading his interview its apparent that he is trying to redeem himself as an actor, as a semi-sane person, and as a father who does still love his children. Its possible to say that his dad (the best President we never had) Martin Sheen was not only a positive influence on Charlies current change, but eventually will be the "sane anchor" for Charlie to use for his full recovery.
  • Anonymous
    Love you forever, Charlie.
  • Anonymous
    Ashton Kutcher could'nt create the same magic as Charlie Sheen, his sense of comedy on"two and a half men" was spectacular
  • Anonymous
    I finally get to realize why i always had a reservation about the way the media portrayed this man. My dad went to rehab also, only for a week. It turned out, it was detox and some counseling. He went to a psychologist after, but it seemed like he had cured his mind already. All the other stuff-the antidrinking pills, the meetings, the talks...he did just for show. You gotta be a strong person to do that, and i completely agree with this man, you gotta be special to be on top, after such long time. And also, f**k bosses:) if half of the people that crucified him did the same thing to their boss, they'd appreciate themselves more, and this world would be a better place to live
  • Anonymous
    Oh god. I never thought I'd like this guy but dammit. I like this guy. He's what I call "a pirate and a bum". Very endearing description, really. He's an 'out of the box thinker and doer'. Yes, he needs to detox, for sure, but there's a lot of truth in this guy and that's pretty refreshing. Oh and his dad is the coolest. Real ballsy man, real confront your shit kind of guy. Doesn't back off. Thanks, Playboy. songbird
  • Anonymous
    No holds barred. Buttocks on the slate. Quality!
  • Anonymous
    He's right about the 'disease model' of addiction. It is pseudoscience. Bad habits are yours to make AND break. Ain't no doctor on this earth that can prove you've got a brain disease.
  • Anonymous
    Love Charlie Sheen he keeps it real
  • James
    Very good interview and I am glad he is back on TV. He is honest. Media made him look bad. He loves his children like any dad. He has a nice mom and dad who care and i think h will be OK. God bless him in his future endeavours. Jim
  • Anonymous
    you'll never print this but -- As I was reading, I was thinking that he sounds pretty good, intelligent, honest, and maybe he's straightened himself out. But then he started talking about the ghosts...... enough said!!!
  • Anonymous
    I still watch every episode of Men and will try to do the same with Anger. We'll see.
  • Anonymous
    nice interview..and good answer.good luck charlie.
  • Anonymous
    Love the interview and love Charlie Sheen!
  • Anonymous
    That Dave Chapelle sketch might be the funniest, cleverest bit in the history of tv -- the writers on SNL couldn't do that in 100 years
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