by Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK
Raise your hand if you knew Charlie Sheen has five kids? Yeah, me neither. I can tell you about his love life (cohabiting with two "goddesses"/porn stars) and his alcoholism ("cured" with the power of his mind) and his work (um, fired) and even his ex-wives (remember when Denise Richards looked like the crazy one?) but something is getting lost in his media-saturated circle around the drain. What's going on with the kids?
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His toddler twins with ex Brooke Mueller made the news recently but only in the context of him losing custody of them and how well the goddesses are bonding with them. His daughters with ex Denise Richards are living with their mother and even farther from the limelight. And what of his other child? Apparently he has a 26-year-old daughter with ex Paula Speers. Who knew?
So how are his kids doing? People magazine has an article on stands today to answer this question with vaguely reassuring statements from "friends" and "insiders" saying things like, "They're doing well. They're continuing with their normal routine." Frankly I don't see how they could be. As part of the emergency custody order granting Mueller full custody of the twins, Sheen cannot even come within 100 feet of his kids per the accompanying restraining order. This, as you may remember, is on top of the restraining order Mueller already has against Sheen for threatening to murder her last year.
Even in a non-celeb family, having your parents split up and your dad descend into alcoholism and insanity is hugely traumatic, nay even life altering. Kids are smart. They know when something is amiss. Even if it's just sensing the tension in their caregivers, kids will internalize that and unless told otherwise will often assume that they are the problem. That said, I don't know that there is much that can be done for Sheen's kids at this point. This moment will be a cloud that hangs over them for the rest of their lives.
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Thankfully kids are also resilient. I honestly have no idea how Sheen's kids are -- although I do think it's an insult to our collective intelligence to pretend everything is business as usual with them -- but I hope that they are surrounded with stable, loving people who can help them navigate this and the coming years.
Fittingly the People article sums up their report on the state of the Sheen kids with this text message received from their loving dad, "The winds are howling tonight. The gods are hungry. The beast is alive. And awake. And deadly." This is perhaps the most fitting use for the axiom "Will nobody think of the children?" I've ever seen.
Charlotte Hilton Andersen is the author of The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything
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