In a report that lit up the Internet, The National Enquirer tabloid said on Monday that actor Charlie Sheen, 50, is HIV-positive.
The story was confirmed by People magazine, which said that people close to the actor had contacted publicist Howard Bragman six months ago about managing his public relations crisis.
Mr Bragman said he was told Sheen "is getting treatment and a lot of people in his life know about it", reported People.
The actor's diagnosis was an open secret in Hollywood and was discussed by Sony Pictures Television executives in an e-mail that was leaked by hackers last year, said Radar Online website.
The e-mail about trouble on the set of Sheen's sitcom Anger Management, dated March 10 last year, said "it's hard to be a drug addict and be HIV-positive and do 40eps a year".
Given his propensity for excesses - booze, drugs, prostitutes, porn "goddesses", domestic violence arrests and hotel room rampages - it is a wonder that Sheen has maintained a career and that he was, only four years ago, the highest paid actor on American TV.
Sheen is the youngest of the three sons of actor Martin Sheen, 75. His eldest brother is actor Emilio Estevez (far right), 53.
A young Charlie Sheen made uncredited appearances in his father's movies, including Apocalypse Now (1979), according to IMDb website.
He went on to act in films such as Red Dawn (1984) and Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986), before getting his big break in Platoon, the Oscar-winning 1986 war drama directed by Oliver Stone.
Through the ups and downs in his life, he has starred in movies including Wall Street (1987) and Hot Shots! (1990) and TV series including Spin City and Two And A Half Men.
He played womaniser Charlie Harper on Two And A Half Men for eight years, but was fired in 2011.
At the time, he was the highest paid star on TV, earning US$40 million a year.
Producer Chuck Lorre said he fired Sheen because "I was so afraid my friend was going to die", referring to his cocaine habit.
THE EX-WIVES AND EX-GIRLFRIENDS
In 1990, Sheen's engagement to actress Kelly Preston ended after a bizarre incident, said the Daily Mail and People magazine. She was shot in the arm in their home when she picked up his trousers and a loaded gun left in the pocket fired accidentally.
From 1990 to 1995, he dated adult video actress Ginger Allen on and off, courted model Stephanie Seymour, and spent US$53,000 on 11 call girls - an admission he made at Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss' trial in 1995.
His first marriage, to model Donna Peele in 1995, lasted five months.
In 1997, he pleaded no contest to smashing the face of his girlfriend, actress Britanny Ashland, into a marble floor. He was fined US$2,800.
His second marriage, to former Bond girl Denise Richards in 2002, lasted four years. She was six months pregnant with their second daughter when she filed for divorce in 2005. In 2006, she obtained a restraining order against him, alleging he threatened to kill her, brought prostitutes to his home, used online porn and betted compulsively.
His third marriage, to real estate investor Brooke Mueller in 2008, lasted three years. In 2009, he was arrested on suspicion of assaulting her. They have twin boys. Sheen also has a daughter from a previous relationship.
Around the time he was fired from Two And A Half Men in 2011, he was living with two girlfriends he called his "goddesses", graphic designer Natalie Kenly and porn star Bree Olsen.
Last year, he was engaged to adult video actress Brett Rossi for eight months, said the Mail. The National Enquirer said it had obtained a video of her screaming at him: "You exposed me to HIV for a year and a half!"
Access Hollywood website, quoting sources, said Sheen had caught the virus after his divorce from Richards. She knew about his diagnosis for years, said the report. She and her children have not been infected.
1998: Sheen accidentally gave himself a cocaine overdose and a stroke. After almost dying, he checked into rehabilitation but checked out soon. His father issued an appeal to his fans to pray for him, and reported him to the police for violating his parole, said the Daily Telegraph. He was arrested and ordered back to rehabilitation.
2010: Naked and drunk, Sheen was taken to hospital after reportedly ransacking a room in The Plaza Hotel New York. His companion, who feared for her safety and locked herself in the bathroom, was identified as porn star Capri Anderson.
2011: He was taken to hospital, in pain and under the influence, after allegedly partying for two days. He checked into rehabilitation again.
2011: He got himself fired from Two And A Half Men, after going on rants against the show's creator Chuck Lorre. In an interview on the Today show, he said, among other things, that he had "tiger blood" and "Adonis DNA", and would not succumb to his addictions. He also went on a live performance tour, My Violent Torpedo Of Truth/ Defeat Is Not An Option.
2015: Reported to be HIV-positive.
This article was first published on November 18, 2015. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.