'Two And A Half Men': Why Did Charlie Sheen Leave The Show?

'Two and a Half Men': Why Did Charlie Sheen Leave The Show?
June 21, 2020 - 08:01 / Lucas Anderson

Charlie Sheen's run as the star of Two and a Half Men came to a heartbreaking end during season 8 of the hit sitcom. Learn why he was fired in 2011 and what he's had to say about it since then...

Sadly, for fans of Two and a Half Men, the popular sitcom lost its leading man when Charlie Sheen was fired in 2011.

Sheen had starred as "Charlie Harper" on the show for its first eight seasons alongside main cast members Jon Cryer and Angus T. Jones.

But, despite a massive viewership and record profits and cast salaries, Sheen displayed erratic behaviour and ended up in a high-profile war of words with the show's producers in 2011.

Two and a Half Men: Charlie Sheen was fired in 2011

The then 46-year-old Sheen, who was struggling with addiction problems, had left the show to go into rehab in January 2011. There were plans to resume production a few months later, but the rest of season 8 was scrapped after Sheen publicly criticized the show's creator Chuck Lorre.

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Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, and Angus T. Jones in Two and a Half Men.

The firing of Sheen from Two and a Half Men was made official on March 7, 2011. Documents surrounding the firing went public, revealing that, at the time, Sheen allegedly "engaged in a dangerously self-destructive conduct and appears to be very ill."

Deadline's report went on to cite "his inability to perform the essential duties of his position, (including) his physical appearance, inability to deliver lines, inability to collaborate creatively with staff and crew, inability to work with the executive producers."

These patterns escalated into "inflammatory comments poisoning key working relationships, and frustration of the show's creative environment by the public spectacle of his self-inflicted disintegration," the leaked letter read.

Two and a Half Men killed off "Charlie Harper"

Two months later, it was announced that Ashton Kutcher would fill the gap left by Sheen's absence. The final appearance of "Charlie Harper" was in the season 8 episode "That Darn Priest" on Feb. 14, 2011.

The season 9 premiere then wrote his departure into the show by killing him off in a subway accident.

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Charlie Sheen in 2018.

In 2013, Sheen reflected on the lead up to his firing from Two and a Half Men in an interview with Katie Couric, titled "Why Charlie Sheen Really Left Two and a Half Men."

"I think I just started partying to hard, I started having way too much fun," he told Couric. "It spilled over onto the set a little bit. I mean, I wasn't partying on the set, I was never high while I worked."

"The show was getting in the way of my social life," he added.

When Couric questioned him about finding a middle ground between having a social life and fulfilling the duties of his multimillion dollar TV role, he replied: "You make a very good point. At the same time, you want to have fun having that type of success. But, you know, I take things too far. That's who I am."

And while Sheen owned up to his self-described party lifestyle and derogatory comments, he steadfastly denied accusations that he was unable to perform his role as "Charlie Harper" on set.

"Lies," he called these allegations, which prompted him to file a wrongful termination lawsuit that was settled out of court in September 2011. 

Two and a Half Men continued for four seasons after Sheen's exit. The cast also lost "Jake Harper," played by Angus T. Jones, in 2014. Jones returned for the series finale in 2015, but Sheen did not, despite reportedly being invited to appear in the episode.