Charlie Sheen, the wayward star of U.S. television comedy "Two and A Half Men," said on Tuesday he was diagnosed as HIV positive some four years ago and had been extorted for more than $10 million to keep the information quiet.
Sheen, 50, told NBC's "Today" TV show he was speaking out because he was being blackmailed, and to refute tabloid reports that he has AIDS and was spreading it to others.
"I have to put a stop to this onslaught, this barrage of attacks and of subtruths and very harmful and mercurial stories," he said.
"I am here to admit that I am in fact HIV positive," Sheen said, adding he was "not entirely sure" how he contracted the virus.
Sheen acknowledged he had paid "upwards of $10 million" in recent years to "desperate charlatans" for their silence about his condition.
The actor, who is three times divorced and has dated many porn stars, said it was "impossible" that he had transmitted the virus to anyone else. He said he "always led with condoms and honesty when it came to my condition."
But former porn star Bree Olson, one of the "goddesses" who lived with Sheen for a year four years ago, said on Tuesday he had never informed her of his HIV status.
"Never said anything. Ever. 'I'm clean,' he told me. 'I'm clean, I'm clean'," Olson told Howard Stern in a radio interview on Tuesday. Olson, who said she has since tested negative for HIV, made similar statements to entertainment TV show "Inside Edition."
Sheen's spokesman declined to comment when asked about Olson's remarks.