Appearing in London to promote new a new high tech condom called Lelo Hex, Charlie Sheen spoke to Red Carpet News and the gathered UK press about his HIV diagnosis, Safe Sex, New TV projects, Personal regrets and Family life. Read the full in depth interview below:
How and why did you get involved in supporting this new type of condom?
To nutshell… They sent me one. I tried it and I said let’s do this! It’s exciting on so many fronts and levels. It’s the first change to the condom in 70 years and its not just about changing a dialogue it’s about changing the technology and the appeal. When I… and this is not a joke.. get behind something much like when I went public with HIV, for the first time in 10 years it really brought it out of the shadows and created a wave of interest and mature responsibility and curiosity. They called it the Charlie Sheen effect and I was really proud of that. I felt that by coming forward and putting myself out there that I could help others. So on the heels of that when this showed up.. You know condom use is down, STIs & STDs are way up. So I thought this makes perfect sense, to give people a medical device to genuinely protect themselves and their love ones.
There are times I think about it. I think about what if just those one or two times I didn’t succumb to that awkward moment or feel like this was going to interrupt something passionate and I’d taken that time. You know my story would be different and I feel like maybe other people’s story can be different because of this.
I’d know about Lelo, a buddy of mine his girlfriend used their other products. I was really impressed with them based on the efficacy and his description. So I knew that whatever they were going to present would have equal quality as well as market dominance if that technology found its way into their condoms and it has.
Safe sex is a global problem with condoms not being used in rich countries or available in some of the poorest, how do you think a better designed but more expensive condom will tackle either issue?
I think in the third world scenario the price point can be altered to make them available and accessible and hence distributed in greater numbers. Therein lies the rub.. you come out with something that’s solution driven and then the people who need it the most can’t afford it, but there’s been dialogue with the WHO.
Is it true that you there are potentially plans in place for you to visit Africa to distribute large numbers of free condoms?
Just to speak to that, I will go to Jupiter to deliver solutions, prevention or cure!
Did you have any apprehension about people’s reaction to you becoming the public spokesperson for a condom brand?
You know I can’t predict what’s going to happen. Things with me have been so cross the board and across the universe at times. I have to go with my gut and do what I think is right and for the right reasons. I think my story about why I’m involved is more important than worrying about the perception of being involved. At the risk of sounding arrogant, when I get involved in things or am honest enough to step through the awkward cloud of silence people tend to take notice and this is not a third problem this is an all-world problem. I feel like I can be part of something that again helps others in the prevention of what I live with Daily.
People often describe you as someone who’s really lived life; do you have regrets because of that?
You say lived as though it’s over! You mean continues to live! As for regrets… professionally should have finished Two and a Half Men a little better, a Lot better! Personally perhaps had the Lelo Hex been around in one or two of those moments, my story might be different. But what might have felt like a regret several months ago has transformed itself into an opportunity and a chance to carry the torch and once again be an ambassador of good will and responsible good health
Did you have any initial reservations or second thoughts about coming forward?
No I was greatly relieved. Afterward I wished that I had done it sooner.
Do you think there are other people in Hollywood living with HIV but who don’t have the confidence or support network to come out publicly as you now have?
I don’t know. I sort of had written a story that after I came out others would contact me confidentially, but that hasn’t happened. But that’s their journey. I can only wish them well. But I have had several people just come up to me in the streets and give me a hug and say thank you for giving my mom,father,brother,sister or friend the courage to come forward and hence allow us to embrace and to help. That’s a gift and a moment that you can’t put a price tag on.
Do you feel an added pressure and responsibility as a public figure than perhaps normal people living with an HIV diagnosis would do?
Its fine, I’m tougher than the average bear. If it means going to some far off lands and some dangerous environment to bring some good will, I’m all about that. I don’t see it as being a poster boy I see it as… I mean who else is there right now to generate this amount of attention and good will. This tsunami of attention. If that has become one of my roles on this journey then I’ll take it, because in the hands of an amateur it would not be as effective.
Do you have film and television projects in development right now or people you’re hoping to work with?
There are so many people I’m a fan of who have influenced me the list is too long and yes the worm is turning. There is as we speak corporate interest form the people that make those decisions to put me back on television o in film roles that I think I’ve earned the right to portray. If I speak to specifics it pisses them off and I’m right back to where I was.
How do you feel about getting interviews on stage by Piers Morgan here in London on Sunday for your Audience With Charlie Sheen event?
He’s fabulous, we’ve done interviews twice before and he’s done nothing but be respectful. He does his research, he’ll open the door to a certain path or a certain topic but he won’t grind the person through it. It’s up to me how far we go. When I heard that he had volunteered to take the reins on this thing I was happy as Larry. He will professionally handle the bits and bobs of it all.
Has your attitude to being interviewed changed in any way given your recent experiences?
You know I always just lad with the truth, the only variable in the mix is the interviewer…. (wry grin)
Has living with an HIV diagnosis not just changed your sex lie but your approach to other areas of your life?
Right now I couldn’t get laid in a woman’s prison with a handful of pardons! It doesn’t give you the great opening line. Hey HIV… busy later? But perhaps with Lelo Hex it can. No it is what it is I don’t mean to make light of it. But it changes the whole approach on it because it’s no longer about my interest, my gain, my folly. It’s about the other person and just protecting them. It’s about being open and responsible.
Is talking about safe sex with you own children something you’re nervous about or feel prepared for?
I think we all should be prepare do for that! My oldest child Cassandra is 32 and then it goes Sam & Lola 12/11 Bob & Max 7 and my granddaughter Luna. I don’t want to be having that conversation with any of the younger ones too soon. I’m a little old fashioned that way believe it or not.
What kind of parent are you?
I’m a chauffer I’m an uber driver. I deliver them to school and pick them up afterwards. I’m always on time and I like to think these days I’m leaving every situation I encounter a little better than how I found it. They’re thrilled to have me in their life. I lead by example, I don’t offer unsolicited advice but if anyone has a question… man do I have a lot of answers!
Superstars of Metal Music including Megadeath Guitarist Dave Mustaine, Anthrax and Motörhead band mate drummer Mikkey Dee paid tribute to music icon Lemmy at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards 2016 ceremony in London last night. Bands including Saxon, Creeper, Amon Amarth, Enslaved, Beartooth, New Years Day, Faith No More and Chthonic also added their words of praise and respect to a proud salute to one of the genre’s biggest superstars.
Check out the full video tribute below: