Charlie is at home, nowhere else. It's a Tuesday, it's around 5 p.m., the beginning of the day for him, and here he comes, the lord of the manor, looking showered, shaved and well-rested, wearing a pressed white shirt, not screaming, appearing at peace in the world. Drifting along behind him is a soothingly svelte little blond number wearing a filmy, shimmery, dreamy blouse. Her name is Rachel, and she hasn't been feeling well. Rachel says she's been upstairs, "puking." The reasons go unstated, but you can just imagine.
"Are you all right?" Charlie asks her.
"Yeah, I'm all right." She smiles wanly, and takes a seat at a table, while Charlie goes to make coffee.
So, what've you been up to today, Rachel?
"Oh, hangin' out," she says. "It's my birthday, actually. I'm 22 now."
Has it been everything you'd hoped it would be?
"More! I mean, yeah, last night, definitely. Last night, this morning, yeah, a pretty badass time."
"We had Sexual Stephanie over" – who Sexual Stephanie is, she doesn't say, but you can just imagine that, too – "and she was hot. Sexy, you know?"
Charlie returns with his coffee, wants to know what Rachel has said, and Rachel giggles – and Charlie just smiles.
Ah, women. The one drug Charlie's never been able to give up. "People think I'm a bit of a rogue, of a cad, a lothario, a guy who's in a lot of shit that would lead to a constellation of kink and oddities, and I'm not," he says later on. "I just love women. I love them."
He lost his virginity at the age of 15 to a Vegas prostitute named Candy, a gorgeous redhead, with his dad sleeping in the hotel room next door. He lifted his dad's credit card to pay for the experience, paying for his cousin Joey, also 15. "I told Joey, 'Look, this is my dad's credit card, you're going second.' He was thrilled. He didn't give a shit. I remember having the greatest night of my life. Then two weeks later, my father wanted to know about this Friendly Introductions LLC, Las Vegas, bill on his statement. I explained it. His whole concern was that I didn't mistake that for love." Pause. "I'm still trying to process that one."
And so through the years it's gone, working girls, porn babes and the occasional sweet thing he wants to marry, and so he does, and maybe even has some kids with her, before realizing, once again, he needs to do some more processing, that he truly is a polyamorous kind of guy. "See, there's different gals for different feelings," he says. "Some gals you like to smoke pot with, some to drink with, some to watch a movie with, some you know they're going to bring a girlfriend, some, like the porn girls, are just a little crazier and more dangerous. I don't know why I like that. I guess it makes things feel more epic. But my point is, it's possible to have feelings for different women at the same time."
Unfortunately, sometimes those feelings have turned violent, with Charlie going off the deep end in the ugliest of ways, reportedly once telling Denise Richards, "I hope you fucking die, bitch"; allegedly pulling a knife on Brooke Mueller and in 2010 allegedly trying to choke his porn-star date during that infamous freakout at New York's Plaza Hotel. And yet Charlie's appeal is such that none of these incidents do him damage for long. The public still loves him and girls still love him, as they always have. "When he was a client," says Heidi Fleiss, "every girl I sent him fell in love with him. All anyone ever said was good stuff, from being charming and generous, to being well-endowed, to being a great lover. Everything about him was great."
"It's funny, though," Charlie says. "A gal has to have a great face, but I'm more about cute than beautiful. Natalie Portman, beautiful. Mila Kunis, cute. Tons of cute. I don't know her, but I'm a fan. I like women's feet, too. I've not dated girls because of their feet, just the length of certain toes and the shape of where things should be and they're not. Hammertoes are bad. And the second toe being too long? That's bad, too."
Again, more of the Charlie Sheen nobody knows.
And there's more, lots more, more than anyone might suspect, given the single-track skew of his public persona. For instance, he once dreamed up a new way to dispense ChapStick and owns U.S. Patent No. 6,283,658 on the idea: "The housing is asymmetrical and may have an asymmetrical series of tactile protrusions to help determine the disposition of the ChapStick-dispensing apparatus, even though manual dexterity is limited as by gloves or mittens."
He takes care of his friends, has helped get two of his closest – Bob Maron, a high-end watch dealer, and Todd Zeile, a former pro baseball player – hooked up with Anger Management as co-executive producers, so they're around him, making him happy, all the time. While at Men, he looked after his longtime stunt double, Eddie Braun, by insisting that all Charlie Harper stunts, no matter how toe-stubbing small, be done by Braun, thus ensuring his buddy some quite-nice extra-large paydays.
He can be a ruthless negotiator. In 2010, with his Men contract up, Charlie wanted $100 million for the next two years. Warner Bros. countered with $48 million, Charlie said nothing doing. "Eventually, they went to $95 million and still Charlie passed," says his manager, Mark Burg. "Then they went to 97, then to 99, and Charlie says to me, 'Did you not hear me? I said 100!' Was he happy he got it? I don't even know."
Among other things, he's a fan of the phrase "true story," as in, "I've had ear infections since I was a kid, and when I'm sleeping, I'm scratching, making it worse, so I gotta sleep with gloves sometimes. True story"; or, getting out of a car, leaving you something to think about, "I've got three nipples. Yeah. True story."
And then, suddenly, he'll lean your way and say something like, "I am Jaws, by the way. I don't know Jaws. I am Jaws. I am the alter ego of the shark in the movie. Oh, for Christ's sake, I'm Brody! I'm Brody!"
And then he'll reel out one of the many inspirational sayings that he keeps handy: "'Can't' is the cancer of 'happen'" or "I don't hope. Hope is for suckers. I have faith."
And then he'll talk about some of his more out-there beliefs. He takes a conspiracist's view of the JFK assassination. He's a 9/11 Truther. He says he's been psychic his entire life: "Like, I know who's calling when the phone rings, most of the time, and that's weird." He says he believes in UFOs, sort of: "I mean, take the Phoenix lights of' 97 -10,000 eyewitnesses to a craft the size of 10 aircraft carriers for four hours." He pauses, looks amused. "Well, actually, you know what I believe? I believe it's more fun just to believe, man."
And then you'll try to have a meaningful discussion with him about his inner life and find it nearly impossible.
So, what's that empty spot inside that you're trying to fill, Charlie?'
"Not sure. I don't know what that is. And, um."
Have you ever really looked into it?
"Nah. I just fuckin' . . . just appetites. Appetites. It feels filled at times, right? But they have all these rules, and I don't get that shit, you know? Can't you fill it with things that aren't, like, all about confessionals and pilgrimages and veganisms?"
Do you ever feel like you're searching for something?
"Yeah, sure, yeah, sure," he says a little too breezily. "Don't know for what though. But I do feel like I'm going to meet some wizard guide someday who will sort of lay it out for me."
If his father were here, of course, he'd be saying to his son, "Well, Charlie, you have to be your own wizard guide, don't you know that?" But Charlie is by himself now and hears no voices but his own.
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