Martin Sheen on Charlie Sheen: 'Emotionally, he still is [a kid].'

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Image Credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic.com

Martin Sheen and his eldest son, Emilio Estevez, picked a complicated time to promote their film, The Way, the story of a man (Sheen) who embarks on an arduous pilgrimage in order to mourn and better understand his estranged son (Estevez). The former Brat-Pack idol wrote, directed, and co-stars in the film, but the personal story of a father and his son lends itself all too easy to journalists’ questions about that other Sheen, the embattled and increasingly erratic former Two and a Half Men star. Martin Sheen was generally sympathetic to his son’s plight in a recent interview to the London Telegraph, saying, “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. So I know what Charlie is going through. And when you do something like that, that is out of control, that’s the most difficult thing. You have to have courage.”

Estevez shared some painful memories from the making of that historically difficult production — in which his father drank heavily and suffered a heart attack. Then only 14 years old, Estevez was practically ignored by his parents during the shoot in the Philippines, running around the dangerous streets of Manila with fellow teenager Laurence Fishburne. “What were they thinking?” Estevez asked his parents after he got older. “We had four of you,” Estevez recalled them saying. “If we had to lose one, we would. We were just trying to survive.”

Sheen the elder believes Charlie is being strangled by addiction, something he can relate to, but he seems resigned that his paternal guidance isn’t always welcome anymore. “Every now and then [it is],” Sheen says. “Depends on whether it’s a moment of clarity for him. I can’t determine that for him. You know, Charlie’s 45 years old. He’s not a kid. Emotionally he still is. Because when you’re addicted, you don’t grow emotionally. So when you get clean and sober you’re starting at the moment you started using drugs or alcohol. You’re emotionally crippled.”

Charlie Sheen frequently mentions his admiration for Apocalypse Now, a great film by all accounts, but is it revealing at all that he chooses to celebrate a chapter of his family’s life that was so volatile?

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Comments (40 total) Add your comment
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  • Robert

    A kid that happens to be on a s8x, drugs and rock n roll binge…yeah, all the things that america stands for. Hey Charlie, take your show on the road —- to Libya

    • Mike

      I really don’t understand this comment. Apparently you’ve never been to Libya. Perhaps Amsterdam is a better choice?

      • Zama

        I think the guy was trying to say something clever… and failing, obviously.

      • Voodoo

        You are aware that Amsterdam is no Sodom and Gomorrah, aren’t you? The Dutch use less drugs and start having sex at a much later age than most of the world. And I think Robert was talking about hoping Charlie would be bombed in Libya.

  • kcusick

    Enough of all the Charlie Sheen news! It’s time for some Charlie Sheen parody. Check out “A Day in the Life of Charlie Sheen” on The Loop Now. You’ll be doing all the “winning.”
    theloopnow.com/?p=7191

  • whatevs

    It’s annoying how parents always think they have a right to tell their erratic grown kids what to do. Their poor parenting is the reason they get this way in the first place, and now they want to act like they don’t know what went wrong.

    • Jim

      I think your comment is slightly out of line. You can raise a child who never misbehaves, does well in school, treats others with respect and then….once they leave the nest, they cannot function as an adult. And blaming mommy and daddy is waaaay too easy. There are many adults who are biologically older but are psychologically and developmentally immature so please don’t go blaming the parents all the time. There are indeed many people who come from good homes that still go down the path of addiction.

      • susan

        The truth is that it is the fault of the parents, but often the parents have no idea what they did wrong. My guess is that with Charlie there were not enough boundaries and discipline. And then at age 20 he became famous in Platoon and then nobody could tell him anything anymore.

      • Lyla

        Wow, Susan, you couldn’t be more full of it. You can say parents played a role in the way a person developed but you can’t blame them for everything an adult child chooses to do. Or even a non-adult child for that matter. Glad you are so atuned to Charlie Sheen, you know exactly what happened to him, when, and why. Maybe you should take all that well thought out and considerably supported knowledge of yours and go do something useful with it. Then explain why his other drug free siblings are responsible adults despite having the same upbringing.

      • Mac

        I agree with Susan. Parents should be ashamed when their kids turn out rotten. It mainly comes from bad upbringing. American parents with terrible kids often try to point elsewhere (tv, a bully, video games, etc.). They think that in The Land of Individuality, everyone is an island. Parents need to set the tone early and NOT slack off that way their children can be a functioning part of society.

      • Mike

        A child’s upbringing is everything. Child-rearing, environment, etc. It all has to do with how you’re socialized. Much of that is out of a parent’s control, but it’s the parents job to make it work regardless. I fear for your children, Lyla.

    • Chris

      Your point is baseless. If Emilio turned out like Charlie you’d have a point.

      I have brothers and sisters, some got in trouble (and still are) and some (myself) have not. To me my parents raised me well.

      • whatevs

        Maybe your siblings were neglected, who knows? No parent treats every child the same way regardless of how much they think they do.

      • Mike

        No Chris, no child is the exact same, so a parent can’t parent each child the same.

    • phyllis

      do u have kids? Parents aren’t always the reason kids go wrong.
      Adult kids should b able 2 make their own mistakes and stand up if they’re wrong.

      • Mac

        Martin Sheen said he was an alcoholic when his kids were tweenagers. There you go.

    • DENNIS

      Exactly correct!

  • Been-there-2

    @whatevs. Where would that comment come from. Martin, is not saying he doesn’t know what went wrong. He’s saying he understands what is going wrong and has empathy for what Charlie is going thru, and Emelio is just backing up the situation, stating what he had to go thru at the time this whole mess was being created. Maybe you just need to go back and try reading again, with just a touch of comprehension this time.

    • whatevs

      He doesn’t know what’s going wrong, he just knows what’s happening. It’s not the same thing. How could he have turned out differently when his father has been the same way?

      If you’re going to question my comprehension, at least do so with correct punctuation and spelling.

  • Mark Willo

    ““We had four of you,” Estevez recalled them saying. “If we had to lose one, we would. We were just trying to survive.”

    After he got a little older did he ask what the heck the above answer meant?

    Broken people make other broken people. tis life

    • Mac

      You are right. Very poor countries with high birthrates stay poor. Ignorance begets ignorance.

    • Care

      I agree. What an awful comment for a father to say to his kids, unless he was kidding.

      • Anne

        I have always wondered about that comment and while I don’t think he was being sarcastic about his concerns about keeping track of his children it is all I can do to that that MS probably was eluding to being overwhelmed. I mean, when I think about EE being a 14 year old with a father who is struggling with alcoholism it makes me wonder did he have even ten years prior tot that point where he was sober. It seems like he was fine when Emilio was small but very shortly after fame happened he struggled and I am guessing to have their whole family international pushed him and his wife to their limits to supervise them correctly. That is what Im guessing he meant.

  • thetruth

    Emilio is a loser! Charlie got all the tigerblood and adonis DNA. Emilio should keep his mouth shut

    • Voodoo

      Oh hi, Charlie!

  • Denise

    Charlie is a big boy. His dad is not reponsible for his behaviour he may have set a bad example but there are other examples to follow. As for his wife abouce what a looser.

    • Lyla

      Well, Apocalypse Now was released in 1979. Even if he did set a bad example over 32 years ago, I’m pretty sure he has had ample opportunity since then to set a good example. And before then too as parents are rarely all bad or all good.

  • juliet

    Yeah they have or had some demons and broken soul in their family..but almost all the time it is what make them better artists..not particularly better human-beings (people like that are very flawed) but this struggle make them more creative and interesting.
    Martin on Apocalypse Now made one of his best work as an actor but his personal and real life was hell..very hard to live with people like that but they are fascinating.

  • box211

    What is the big deal? The guy is only an entertainer. When he’s gone we will all be fine. It’s his life, so he should do it his way.

  • charlieFAN

    god no wonder charlie rocks on regardless of what his family thinks – judgments galore – with all due respect parents, back off or at least, if u open ur mouth, lay off the judgment! tell the world or tell ur son YOU ARE PROUD OF HIM regardless of who he is and what he does, get real.

    • Clue

      {deep sigh} Oh please.

    • Loyalty

      Hi Charlie Sheen – have your expanded your self pity torpedo tour to EW? Hide or just go away – guess what, the girl who sing “Friday” is full of hate and is going kick you A$$.

    • Anne

      What I can never figure out is how charlie can hate his family’s “judgement” but when he OD’s is cool with his family being at the hospital with him.

  • tracy bluth

    I don’t think any of us should really make assumptions about Martin Sheen’s parenting skills considering we weren’t there. I’ve always thought Martin Sheen is a great actor, and his performance in Apocalypse Now is nothing short of stunning.

  • pleasenoright

    wow. now i know why carlos is so f’ked up. “If we had to loose one we would”? what the hell kind of attitude is that from parents. i kind of feel bad for emilio

  • topazbean

    I think Martin Sheen’s responses seemed reflective, understanding and mature. Clearly Emilio and he are making a film together so whatever he feels about his childhood him and his father have found ways to deal with it. Given that we didn’t experience it ourselves and don’t know them personally, I don’t know that we’re really in a position to judge their relationship when they seem to have decided to work things out. It is very possible that Charlie’s childhood has influenced his behaviour now, but Martin is not obliged to play out their family drama in public – he has every right to make any apologies or give any advice he may or may not choose to make in private, and therefore we cannot really speculate on what he has or hasn’t done.

  • guesting

    Well said Martin. Hope I live long enough to obtain your wisdom — and class.

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