Charlie Sheen’s wild life in the 80s
It's hard to overstate the level of fame and idolatry that followed a group of young actors in the 1980s known as the Brat Pack.
Taylor Swift may have had her squad, and George Clooney goofed around with Matt Damon and Brad Pitt, but it's nothing compared to the Brat Pack, when for a small moment in time the likes of Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe and Judd Nelson ruled the screen and the clubs.
The core trio were, variously, joined by Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, Andrew McCarthy, Sean Penn and Nicolas Cage, the latter of whom was called the "ethnic one" due to his Italian heritage in a New York magazine profile which famously coined the Brat Pack term.
It was a life of excess, steeped in privilege and adoring women. They made movies together - The Outsiders, St Elmo's Fire and The Breakfast Club - and they partied together.
Around the time of peak Brat Pack, Estevez's younger brother Charlie Sheen was making his way up in the fame game. It was also around this time, during production on 1986 movie Lucas, Sheen is alleged to have sexually assaulted Corey Haim, according to claims made by Corey Feldman. Sheen has denied the accusations.
Sheen wasn't part of the Brat Pack but with older brother Estevez the so-called de facto ringleader of the group notorious for having a great time, Sheen would've seen a group of guys just older than him being feted for being talented, desired and cool. In other words, something to emulate.
Estevez lost his virginity at the age of 14 in the Philippines while father Martin Sheen was on location shooting Apocalypse Now. The younger Sheen lost his at 15 with a prostitute bought with his father's credit card.
As history has proven, things didn't work out very well for Sheen on a personal level, especially in those heady times where his raw talent was rewarded with money and attention.
By the time of his most notorious public breakdown in 2011, he had already been to rehab more than once, suffered through a near fatal overdose, had a restraining order imposed against him by ex-wife Denise Richards, and been hospitalised and arrested (several times).
For hot, young actors in the 1980s, trouble was easy to find. Sheen wasn't alone in indulging in destructive behaviour.
Lowe told NPR in 2011 that on the set of The Outsiders, the actors were always given beers.
"You drink a beer and think nothing of it, it was a culture that was so different. Without even knowing it, it became just a big part of my life to the point where I decided that I needed to go and get help.
"I think the people in Hollywood are looking to fill something missing in them, and performing does that. But when you reach the mountain top, you realise you're still the same, it didn't fill you up."
In the late 1980s, Lowe's career was derailed after a sex tape surfaced of him and two women, one of whom was underage. He has been sober since May 1990.
Estevez knew he wasn't a good role model for his brother. He told the Sunday Times in 2011, when Sheen was caught in yet another scandal, "All I can do for Charlie, and I can't live his life for him, is try to be an example.
"But, really, I was a pretty poor one. As a kid, I was smart enough to be surreptitious about all my misbehaviour, or at least stealthy. But it means my opinions carry little weight with Charlie."
And it wasn't only the men. Demi Moore, Ally Sheedy and Mare Winningham were also in the group.
"I didn't want to do what they had done with John Belushi, which was to just give her the money to kill herself," he told People. Moore went to rehab and committed to sobriety, but then relapsed in the early 2000s.
Other members of the Brat Pack, or those on the fringe, also suffered through substance abuse, including Anthony Michael Hall and Sheedy.
Estevez is now a serious filmmaker who's written and directed three films - Bobby, The Way and The Public - all earnest enterprises interested in matters of service, emotional bond or family. In an interview with The Irish Examiner in 2012, he said he never had a "predisposition" for drinking, admitting he quit drinking for a year in 1991 to see if he could. He now owns a winery.
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