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How Charlie Sheen and "Two and a Half Men" Creator Finally Ended Decade-Long Feud

Sheen was fired from the sitcom 12 years ago after falling out with Chuck Lorre.

After eight seasons of starring on Two and a Half Men, Charlie Sheen's time on the sitcom came to a dramatic end when he was fired in 2011. As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, the firing came after production on the series had already been paused due to the actor's erratic behavior, including repeatedly insulting series creator Chuck Lorre in interviews and even making antisemitic remarks about him. At the time, Sheen was struggling with substance abuse and entered rehab.

Now, though, Sheen and Lorre have buried the hatchet and are working together once again. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Lorre explained how this was able to happen with so much bad blood between them.

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Sheen's firing from Two and a Half Men kicked off a decade-long feud between Sheen and Lorre. After being fired, Sheen sued Lorre and Warner Bros. Television for $100 million, and the parties ended up settling, as reported by E! News. As for how the show continued without Sheen, his character was killed off—more than once. The 2015 series finale even featured a grand piano being dropped on the character and Lorre himself turning to the camera and saying, "Winning!" which had become Sheen's catchphrase.

E! News reported that in 2018, Sheen apologized to Lorre during an interview with The Kyle and Jackie O Show. "I kind of poisoned the waters and I take responsibility for all of that. I was really stupid and juvenile," he said, "[Chuck]'s one of the best and the brightest that this industry has ever had the pleasure of witnessing."

In 2022, Lorre told Variety that he was, for a period of time, unable to re-watch episodes of Two and a Half Men when Sheen was still in the cast. "There were a couple of years there where I couldn't watch it. It was too hurtful," he said. "I can enjoy them all now. You know, he did a brilliant job."

Chuck Lorre and Charlie Sheen at Lorre's Hollywood Walk of Fame star ceremony in 2009
MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images

When they were trashing each other publicly, it was hard to believe that the two would ever collaborate again. But in 2023, they're doing just that. Lorre's new show, Bookie, recently premiered on Max, and it features Sheen playing a fictionalized version of himself. The series is about a bookmaker (Sebastian Maniscalco), who takes bets from people including celebrities.

"It seemed like a simple idea that some of his clients can be rather well-to-do people of note. So we wrote the scene without actually naming the person, just sort of a placeholder. Early on one night, it just kind of hit me that Charlie was perfect for this," Lorre told Rolling Stone. "I called [co-creator] Nick [Bakay] and I said, 'I know who should be our successful celebrity gambling degenerate.' And then the question was, 'Well, how are we going to go about doing that? And is that a good idea?' Charlie and I, obviously, have some blood under the bridge."

Lorre said that he got in contact with Sheen and found that the actor was "in a good place."

He continued, "We worked together for eight and a half years. We made around 170 episodes of Two and a Half Men together, of which I'm very proud of. I think they're really funny. And we had a good time until it all came apart. And we're both in a place, thankfully, to say, 'Let's do this. Let's have fun with this.' … It was a big weight off my heart to embrace this man as a friend and move on."

The Rolling Stone interviewer pointed out that Sheen had said some things about Lorre that would be hard for many people to move past.

"Well, the things that were said were, I believe, the result of stuff he was going through," the 71-year-old responded. "I don't believe that those things that were said are his true nature. And so there was a time where it would've been impossible, but that is not now, or when we did this last winter. I just had to ask myself, Can I do this? And the answer was yes. The hurt that was caused was gone. And Charlie's in a good place in his life, and he's terrific in this."

Sheen talked about what it was like to work with Lorre again. "Chuck got on the phone and couldn't have been more lovely or engaging," the 58-year-old actor told the New York Post. "It was just so refreshing and liberating. I felt like so much weight had been lifted. It was hard for me to reach out [to Chuck] just because of the amount of shame I've lived under for all these years. I told Chuck, 'You know, there's not a day that goes by that I don't have a moment of regret about the whole episode,' and he said, 'It's time to move past all that.'"

In addition to Sheen and Lorre reuniting for Bookie, the series also features Two and a Half Men star Angus T. Jones in a cameo role. The former child star also has a complicated past with the sitcom.

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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