What Tiger Woods Can Learn from Charlie Sheen
In case you were busy this holiday season spending time with friends and family, let me catch you up on the latest hot celebrity gossip: Sheen was arrested in Colorado for allegedly threatening his wife Brooke Mueller with a knife on Christmas day. Now, before you jump to conclusions, celebrity-focused websites are reporting that either one or both of the parents of toddler twin boys was roaring drunk at the time. "Mueller has recanted much of her story," the folks at TMZ.com noted, "... so her credibility has clearly come into serious question."%%DynaPub-Enhancement class="enhancement contentType-HTML Content fragmentId-1 payloadId-61603 alignment-right size-small"%% Yes, it's been a Christmas that would make Jerry Springer proud.
In today's celebrity culture, being liked isn't everything -- it's the only thing. That's why chances are good that Sheen will emerge from his troubles quickly, while Woods' rehabilitation will take years. Love him or hate him, Sheen seems genuine -- genuinely nuts -- but people know that about the actor and like him nonetheless. The public is in awe of Woods' golf prowess, but we find him to be a cold and aloof person.
Pitcher of T-Shirts and Underwear
Like Woods, Sheen's allegedly boorish behavior has financial ramifications, and while they're not so great as those faced by the legendary golfer, they are considerable. Lots of people count on the son of Oscar-winning actor Martin Sheen for their livelihoods. He is the star of one of the top-rated shows on TV -- Two and a Half Men on CBS (CBS), which averages about 15 million viewers a week. It has been syndicated since 2007 and is shown in some cities twice a day. Sheen and basketball great Michael Jordan are pitchmen for Hanesbrands Inc. (HBI), the maker of t-shirts and underwear. Hanes reported a third-quarter sales decline, but it expects sales in 2010 to rise about 5% because of "shelf-space and distribution gains."
Commercials featuring the duo were running during Sunday's football games. Officials from Hanesbrands and CBS could not be immediately be reached for comment about Sheen.
CBS isn't going cancel a cash cow like Two and a Half Men unless Sheen gets caught with dead bodies in his trunk. Woods, on the other hand, will need years to repair the damage he has done to his reputation. He never let people see the man beyond the golf swing except under carefully controlled situations. The public respected him, but it didn't embrace him. Not so with the lovable rogue Sheen, as Robert Seidman of the website TV By the Numbers notes.
A Bad Boy with Charm
For all his faults, Sheen never claimed he was a role model for anyone. How could he? They based a sitcom around his bad-boy reputation. His track record for substance abuse and womanizing could fill up a dozen Jackie Collins novels. Here are some examples.
- In 1990, he shot his then-fiance Kelly Preston by "accident" in the leg. Preston eventually married John Travolta.
- He testified at the trial of Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss that he spent $53,000 on her prostitutes. Not that he could have denied it -- they had the canceled checks.
- His former wife, Denise Richards, claimed Sheen made death threats against her. The former couple apparently were on speaking terms before the incident with Mueller.
- In 2008, Sheen's own father, actor Martin Sheen, turned him in to authorities for violating his probation by using drugs.
Ironically, one of the story lines in this season's Two and a Half Man has shown Sheen's alter ego Charlie Harper gradually maturing, settling down and planning to get married. Looks like this is a case where art did not imitate life.