AP Entertainment Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Charlie Sheen is living large on the public stage but his personal world is diminished, with the TV star’s “Two and a Half Men” and now his twin toddlers missing from his life.
Sheen’s 23-month-old boys were taken from his home Tuesday night after estranged wife Brooke Mueller Sheen claimed that he threatened her with decapitation, adding a nasty custody battle to the actor’s bitter war with the studio and producers who shut down the hit CBS show short of the season’s end.
Her claims followed days of sometimes manic, sometimes violence-tinged media interviews by Sheen, part of a public campaign to disprove that he is a drug-using, reckless playboy who was unable or unfit to work on TV’s No. 1 comedy.
In an interview with NBC’s “Today” show Wednesday, Sheen said he was “very calm and focused” about having the children taken away but was ready to fight to get them back.
Outside his home a short time later, Sheen, 45, was asked by reporters whether the legal move came out of left field for him.
“It came out of the bleachers, actually,” he said. “Yeah, I was told a restraining order was being delivered and I thought, ‘OK, I can deal with that.’ And it was revealed that it was something much more serious.
Asked why Mueller got the court order, he replied, “It’s just silly. I think she’s latching on to some of this recent press.”
In interviews filled with strange comments such as “I got tiger blood, man,” Sheen has lobbed vitriol at “Men” executive producer Chuck Lorre and Warner Bros. Television while sharing details about his unusual home life and insisting he was “winning.” He’s demanding a big raise in future contracts for the show from his $1.8 million-an-episode pay – already among the highest in television.
CBS Corp. chief Leslie Moonves on Tuesday said the series’ future is uncertain.
Sheen’s grandstanding has fascinated the public, with his Twitter account drawing more than 1 million followers a day after it was created. But in Mueller Sheen’s claim seeking a restraining order Tuesday, she said that his “bizarre, disturbing and violent” comments made her fear for the safety of their children because Sheen “does not appear mentally stable.”
According to Mueller Sheen’s filing, Charlie Sheen has rarely seen the boys in the past year, but took them on Saturday and refused to return them. In a sworn declaration filed in the case, she said he told her in a phone call Sunday night, “I will cut your head off, put it in a box and send it to your mom!” She also claimed earlier threats and physical abuse.
A court order issued Tuesday and obtained by The Associated Press requires Sheen to stay 100 yards away from Mueller Sheen and their twin sons. Sheen has two other children with former wife Denise Richards.
A hearing on the order is scheduled for March 22.
Text messages sent to Sheen on Wednesday for comment were not immediately returned. A phone message left for Sheen’s divorce attorney, Mark Gross, was not immediately returned.
The twins, Max and Bob, were taken from Sheen’s Hollywood Hills home Tuesday night and returned to their mother’s care. The boys turn 2 on March 14.
In a house he calls “Sober Valley Lodge,” Sheen has been living with a former porn star and a model – his “goddesses,” he says. Sheen was asked on “Today” if marijuana magazine cover model Natalie Kenly and adult film star Rachel Oberlin, who performed as Bree Olson, helped care for the twins.
“Oh, yeah. If I can’t be there, they’re there, and it’s like everybody helps out. … There’s nothing broken here,” Sheen said.
The seemingly unlimited soapbox that media outlets have given Sheen has provoked strong criticism.
“No one is exercising any discretion, at least the kind that weighs things like taste, proportion and decency instead of ratings points,” Los Angeles Times media columnist James Rainey wrote in Wednesday’s paper.
Ben Grossman, editor-in-chief of Broadcasting & Cable magazine, urged ABC on Monday to cancel its “20/20″ interview with Sheen that night. He rapped the media for “celebrating the sad effects of an illness. And that is not a healthy way to do business.”
In her filing, Mueller Sheen noted a Christmas Day 2009 fight in Aspen, Colo., that led to the actor pleading guilty to misdemeanor third-degree assault. Sometime after that incident, Mueller Sheen wrote in her court filing that Sheen told her, “I should have killed you when I had the chance!”
Mueller Sheen acknowledges her own sobriety issues in the declaration. She said she is in a day rehab treatment program, but that she can care for the children for four hours during the day and at night. She told the court that she would be living with a sober companion, and that her mother would help with the twins’ care.
AP Television Writer Frazier Moore in New York and AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney in Los Angeles contributed to this story.