Charlie Sheen's cocaine problem scared Chuck Lorre: 'There was violence and blackouts'
Lorre tells TV Guide Magazine that ultimately, he, Warner Bros., and CBS had to make a decision that was driven not by financial interests. "We chose to make a moral decision as opposed to a financial one. This was not a game. This was drug addiction writ large. This was big-time cocaine, and in his own words, an 'epic drug run' that could have ended with either his death or someone else's," Lorre says.
He explains that removing Sheen from the show was a last resort after months of trying to intervene while he spiraled out of control on a terrifying bender. Though Sheen publicly and mercilessly blasted Lorre, Lorre maintains that he made his decision out of concern for Sheen. "I was so afraid my friend was going to die. When we would shoot a show on a Friday night, there was always that 'I'll see you Monday. I hope.' The holidays were the worst, because those long stretches of time were the ones we feared the most."
It got to the point where he even felt somewhat responsible for enabling Sheen's problem.
"I didn't want to be writing a sitcom while my friend died. Or worse, hurt someone else. We couldn't be complacent. There was a tragedy unfolding right in front of us. There was violence and blackouts. On a certain level, if you're looking the other way, you're responsible," he says.