Jon Cryer Shares What Charlie Sheen Was Like Before Things Went ‘Off The Rails’


Before the tiger blood, Charlie Sheen seemed like a pretty cool cat.

At least according to Jon Cryer.

Cryer and Sheen co-starred on the incredibly successful CBS sitcom “Two and a Half Men” in the early 2000s before Sheen was fired from the show after a string of strange behavior and sparking a public feud with the series’ creator, Chuck Lorre.

Cryer told Entertainment Tonight in an interview published Monday that when the show started in 2003, Sheen was a “joy.”

“We got along great, he had been sober for two years when we started the show, and it was really important to him to keep sober,” Cryer told the outlet. “And for those first few years, the show was also going so smoothly.”

Cryer admitted that he was often “struck by how great Charlie Sheen was at performing in front of an audience.”

Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer at the Emmy Awards in 2004.

Steve Granitz via Getty Images

“He just had it straight out of the box like it was genetically programmed into his body. That was fun and very self-assured,” he said. “For those first couple of years, it was, you know, an incredible joy.”

Sheen’s charm paid off — literally. By the time he was fired from the show in 2011, he had become the highest-paid actor on TV, Forbes reported.

Cryer told ET that Sheen’s transformation from a charismatic star into full-fledged warlock didn’t happen overnight. Cryer said that despite Sheen relapsing and splitting from his wife, “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Denise Richards, in 2005, he “was still lovely to work with,” knew all his lines and showed up to work on time.

Sheen as Charlie and Cryer as Alan in a 2008 episode of "Two and a Half Men."
Sheen as Charlie and Cryer as Alan in a 2008 episode of “Two and a Half Men.”

CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images

“But you could tell that there was some trouble brewing,” Cryer said.

Cryer described Sheen suddenly having issues with the show’s writing, which Cryer said he couldn’t quite understand.

“I would say, ‘This is the kind of joke you had no problem with a year and a half ago, and suddenly now it’s an issue?’” Cryer recalled. “So, you know, it was very subtle. It took a while before it started really going off the rails.”

Sheen’s behavior, which included talking disparagingly about Lorre in public, became increasingly erratic.

Cryer said this is why he started talking to Lorre about ending the show altogether.

Cryer and Sheen during an interview on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” in 2004.
Cryer and Sheen during an interview on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” in 2004.

“I think there was a moment where Chuck Lorre and I were looking at each other and we said, ‘It’s not worth this show going on if going on enables Charlie Sheen to kill himself. If giving him enough money to do whatever the thing is that ends his life, you know, we don’t want to be a part of that,’” he said.

“And I think, actually, when Charlie was let go from the show, the first thought amongst most of us was, ‘OK, we’re done. This has been a great thing, but we’re done at this point.’”

The show didn’t end, however. Ashton Kutcher was brought on to replace Sheen, and the series concluded in 2015 after 11 seasons.

Ten years after his departure, Sheen said he regretted his behavior.

“There [were] 55 different ways for me to handle that situation, and I chose number 56,” he told Yahoo! Entertainment in February 2021. “And so, you know, I think the growth for me post-meltdown or melt forward or melt somewhere — however you want to label it — it has to start with absolute ownership of my role in all of it,” Sheen explained. He added:

“And it was desperately juvenile.”

Despite feeling remorse for his actions on the show, Sheen hasn’t exactly been “winning” since he left “Two and a Half Men” in 2011.

In 2020, actor Corey Feldman accused Sheen of sexually assaulting his friend, the late actor Corey Haim, while the two were working on the 1986 film “Lucas.” Sheen has denied Feldman’s allegations, which were featured in Feldman’s documentary “(My) Truth: The Rape of Two Coreys.”

These allegations were not new, however. Sheen sued the National Enquirer for libel in 2017 after the tabloid printed Feldman’s rape allegations. (The parties settled in 2018.)

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