BY: ANTHONY MCCARTNEY and LYNN ELBER
SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Charlie Sheen and his estranged wife have struck an accord that settles any custody issues and ends the pursuit of a restraining order against the actor, according to their attorneys.
Sheen and Brooke Mueller “reached an agreement that resolves their differences,” lawyers for the pair said Thursday night.
The statement said the details of the arrangement were being kept confidential for the benefit of their twin sons.
Mueller obtained a temporary restraining order against Sheen earlier this month, claiming he threatened her on a recent trip to the Bahamas. A hearing had been scheduled for March 22.
In a related development, Los Angeles police say they have searched Charlie Sheen’s home for guns that might be in violation of the restraining order.
Officers arrived at Sheen’s Sherman Oaks home Thursday evening, searched for several hours and found one weapon, an antique gun, police service representative Stacy Ball at the Van Nuys station said.
It wasn’t clear the old weapon was a violation. Ball said that such searches are routine in which a person is subject to a restraining order, and Sheen reportedly was cooperative.
The actor later tweeted the “LAPD were AWESOME. Absolute pros! they can protect and serve this Warlock anytime!!!”
Earlier Thursday, Sheen filed a $100 million lawsuit against Warner Bros. and the executive producer of “Two and a Half Men,” making good on a promise to do something “big” in retaliation for his firing from the program.
The breach of contract suit is the first volley in what could be a long and costly legal battle involving three Hollywood heavyweights — Warner, hugely successful producer Chuck Lorre and one of TV’s highest-paid stars.
The messy details of Sheen’s recent conduct, including marital discord, wild partying that left a New York hotel room in shambles and hospital stays, inevitably will be part of the case. Warner’s 11-page termination letter sent to Sheen on Monday spent six pages detailing what is described as his “deteriorating condition and escalating erratic conduct.”
In return, the lawsuit accuses Lorre of tormenting the actor, with Warner aiding and abetting.
The studio “capitulated to Lorre’s egotistical desire to punish Mr. Sheen and to stop work on the series for the rest of the season….” the suit alleges.
The suit’s claims against Lorre are as “recklessly false and unwarranted as Mr. Sheen’s rantings in the media. These accusations are simply imaginary,” said Lorre’s attorney, Howard Weitzman.
The lawsuit is about a “fantasy” lottery payout for Sheen, Weitzman said in a statement, adding, “Chuck Lorre’s concern has been and continues to be about Mr. Sheen’s health.”
Egos are certainly at stake in the legal battle but money is the central issue. When he was asked Monday if he intended to sue over his firing, Sheen texted, “Big.”
“Charlie Sheen has been lining Lorre’s and Warner Bros. pockets with what will amount to billions of dollars through Mr. Sheen’s work on 177 episodes on the series, and Mr. Sheen has been ready, willing and able to work to finish out the season,” his lawsuit states.
Warner, which declined to comment on the suit, cast things differently in its dismissal letter to Sheen.
“Mr. Sheen’s conduct has caused significant damage to Warner Bros.,” the studio wrote. “By way of example only, due to Mr. Sheen’s conduct, Warner Bros. has lost ten episodes of the show — two last year and eight for the remainder of this season.”
Warner vowed to seek recovery of all of its damages, including lost revenue from the show and any other damages the law allows, in arbitration.
The lawsuit alleges production was halted on the CBS sitcom in part to punish Sheen for recent behavior including, in recent weeks, a series of interviews in which he has attacked Lorre. But the suit and Sheen’s attorney, Marty Singer, say most of the incidents cited by Warner Bros. for firing Sheen occurred before his tirades against Lorre began.
“The suspension and termination of Mr. Sheen occurred only after Mr. Sheen had finally been provoked into criticizing Lorre in response to his harassment and disparagement campaign which had been going on for years,” according to the suit.
“I think the bulk of our lawsuit is for the back-end compensation,” Singer said.
The suit also was filed on behalf of the sitcom’s other cast members and crew, who were put out of work. Although they are not a party in the case, Singer said the actor is attempting to get reimbursement for all members of the show who lost money because of the actions of Warner Bros. and Lorre.
Last week, Warner announced it was paying the “Men” crew for four of the eight episodes it canceled this season. The studio is pondering whether to continue the show with a new character and new actor replacing Sheen.
“Two and a Half Men,” which debuted in 2003, stars Sheen as womanizing bachelor Charlie Harper, who creates an ad hoc family with his neurotic brother, the divorced Alan (Jon Cryer) and Alan’s son, Jake (Angus T. Jones).
The actor was among TV’s highest-paid at a reported $1.8 million per episode for “Men.”
On top of Sheen’s $100 million request for damages, the 45-year-old actor is seeking punitive damages.
He took to Twitter soon after the lawsuit’s filing, writing, “Fastball: Torpedo away… You corporate Trolls were warned. And now you’ve been served!”
“I think his theory of the case is interesting,” said Jeffrey Spitz, an entertainment litigator for more than 25 years. “He’s pitched it in a way that is potentially beneficial to him in that he’s saying all of this occurred before he opened his mouth.”
Spitz said that may enable Sheen’s attorneys to keep his most recent interviews from being used during the trial, although what evidence may be heard will be decided by a judge.
“It also gives him a good leverage position in any settlement negotiations,” said Spitz, a partner at Greenberg Glusker who has represented Sharon Stone and boxer Oscar de la Hoya in legal disputes.
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