Charlie Sheen spends Christmas in jail following wife's accusations of assault
'Bad boy' actor with a history of violence against women in cell for eight hours
Charlie Sheen, the highest-paid television actor in America, spent Christmas Day behind bars after his wife made an emergency, early-morning phone call to the police complaining that she had been assaulted.
The star of America's favourite sitcom, Two and a Half Men, was arrested and charged with the second-degree crimes of assault and menacing, which can carry a 12-month prison sentence. The 44-year-old actor was also charged with criminal mischief.
Sheen is thought to have become angry after he and his wife, Brooke Mueller Sheen, also known as Brooke Allen, began drinking on Christmas morning. The row escalated at their rented house in Aspen, Colorado, and, grabbing her around the throat, Sheen is alleged to have violently pushed his wife.
An ambulance was also called, but Mueller was not taken to the hospital.
According to the celebrity gossip website TMZ.com, police attending the scene gave both Mueller and Sheen blood alcohol tests. Despite telling police Brooke was the aggressor and that he was just trying to defend himself, Sheen was taken to Pitkin County Jail, where he was locked up for eight hours.
He was eventually freed on bail, after paying a bond of $8,500 (£5,325) and being advised by a county judge on the conditions of his release. A court date has been set for 8 February 2010.
Well-known Colorado attorney Richard Cummins, who is representing Sheen, cautioned against any rush to judgment. "I think at the end of the day it will be much ado about nothing," he told the Associated Press. "I don't think there's any criminality about what went on. The February court date may be to determine whether a case goes forward or not."
Sheen's publicist, Stan Rosenfield, also warned against making assumptions about what might have taken place in the Sheen household. "It would benefit everyone not to jump to any conclusions," he cautioned.
Sheen and former actress and real- estate investor Mueller, with whom the actor has twin boys, married in May 2008, shortly after Sheen's bitter divorce and custody battle with actress Denise Richards. It is the third marriage for Sheen, who has three other children, and the first for 32-year-old Mueller.
Their relationship, however, is said to have become strained since the birth of twins Bob and Max in April. These rumours were fuelled by Mueller's decision three months ago to rent a house in Aspen, while Sheen remained in LA.
Sheen, whose real name is Carlos Estevez, is the son of actor Martin Sheen and brother of actor-director Emilio Estevez. He made his name in films including Platoon, Wall Street, Major League and Hot Shots!, going on to become America's best-known TV sitcom personality.
Sheen has never made any secret of his "bad boy" past: it is an open joke that his character, Charlie Harper, in the CBS series is loosely based on the actor's own womanising, heavy-drinking exploits.
But his reputation has also been marred by his history of violence towards women and substance abuse, including prescription drugs.
In 2005, while Richards, his second wife, was pregnant, she filed for divorce on the grounds that Sheen had abused drugs and alcohol and threatened her with violence.
During the bitter dispute for custody of their two daughters, Richards' former nanny, Diana Alvarez, submitted a sworn declaration alleging Sheen had inappropriately touched the two girls.
Sheen denied the claims, branding them "diabolical accusations" and "laughable and inane". He and Richards have since made peace with each other.
In December 1996, Sheen was arrested and charged with attacking a girlfriend at his Southern California home. He pleaded no contest to the accusation, and was placed on two years' probation. That incident followed yet another, six years earlier, when he accidentally shot his then-fiancée, Kelly Preston, in the arm. The couple split up shortly afterwards.
Sheen's history of drug taking also stretches back many years. In 1998, his father turned him in for violating his parole when Sheen injected himself with cocaine and overdosed.
The actor also came under criticism when, in 2006, he publicly questioned the American government's account of the 11 September attacks on the World Trade Centre.
During a filmed interview, the actor said the collapse of the towers looked like a controlled demolition. He later went on to become a prominent advocate of the 9/11 Truth movement, which continues to call for a new investigation into the attacks because, it maintains, the 9/11 commission was a whitewash and that the administration of former US President George W Bush could have been responsible.