Inside Charlie Sheen And Martin Sheen's Father-Son Bond

Iconic actor Martin Sheen's role as Captain Benjamin L. Willard in Francis Ford Coppola's legendary film "Apocalypse Now" cemented him as a true Hollywood star. More recently, audiences know him as President Josiah Bartlett on the hit series "The West Wing" (1999-2006). Born in Ohio as Ramon Antonio Gerard Estevez, he married Janet Sheen in 1961, and they subsequently welcomed three boys and a girl; Emilio Estevez, Charlie Sheen, Ramón Estevez, and Renée Estevez, all of whom followed in their father's footsteps to become actors.

Charlie, meanwhile, carved out a prolific Hollywood career with such films as "Platoon" (1986) and "Wall Street" (1987) and became one of America's highest-paid actors as Charlie Harper on the hit 2000s sitcom "Two and a Half Men," earning a whopping $1.25 million per episode. But Charlie has battled some personal demons, much like his father, who has admitted to being severely intoxicated on the set of "Apocalypse Now," but continued filming.

Martin has been there for Charlie as he, too, dealt with substance abuse. Dad Martin told the London Telegraph, "I know what hell he's living in. I've had psychotic episodes in public. One of them was on camera — the opening scene of 'Apocalypse Now,'" adding that courage was key to regaining control of one's life (via The Things). Father and son remain close, even acting together in the movie "Cadence" in 1990.

Charlie Sheen has led a tumultuous life

Born Carlos Estevez, Charlie Sheen doesn't go by his real name because he was tired of being confused with his uncle Carlos. His father, Martin Sheen, had also changed his name early in his career because he feared prejudice against Latinos.

Throughout the years, Charlie's checked into rehab facilities several times, as well as testifying in 1995 at the trial of Heidi Fliess — the notorious "Hollywood Madam" — admitting he spent more than $50,000 for her services. He's had relationship troubles, including his very public divorce from star Denise Richards, in which she accused him of being abusive and threatening her life. In 2011, he publicly spiraled out of control when he claimed Alcoholics Anonymous was a cult and later verbally attacked "Two and a Half Men" creator Chuck Lorre, who then fired him from the show.

Martin understood Charlie's plight and told The Guardian that he supported Charlie by attending meetings. "I'm in Al-Anon ... it's for people with relatives or friends who are alcoholics or drug addicts. You have to stay focused," he stated (via The Things). In a 2012 article in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Martin stated that regarding grown children, "You have to be there for them. You have to support them and make sure they know that they are still loved and cherished, and you're still in their lives, and you're there for them."

Martin Sheen called his son's recovery a miracle

In June 2021, actor Martin Sheen told People how much he loved his son, Charlie Sheen, and admired his journey to sobriety. "We went through, as you, as everyone knows, I suppose, some very difficult times when he was out there," he said, adding, "He's come back — thank heaven — and he's healthy." He referred to Charlie's recovery as a "miracle."

On the podcast "SEN Breakfast," Charlie addressed his 2011 meltdown, explaining that his father "was a little confused, like the rest of the planet, but he was very supportive and didn't rush to any conclusions" (via Daily Mail). He added that dad Martin "didn't totally know what was going on because he was overseas promoting a movie with my brother Emilio."

In November 2015, Charlie announced on "Today" the devastating news that he had contracted HIV, remarking, "It's a hard three letters to absorb. It's a turning point in one's life." But Martin was there for his son, telling Us Magazine how proud he was that Charlie was open about it. "I think all of us are striving to lead honest lives. That's a requirement of every human being," he said, further explaining that being in the public eye makes such a revelation almost insurmountable. To this day, father and son continue to support each other, and the two often attend fundraisers together.