Charlie Sheen made a bombshell announcement on the "Today" show Tuesday morning, telling fans that he is HIV-positive and has known for four years. Celebrities had mixed reactions to the news, on and offline, though most were supportive.
Friend Heather Locklear posted a photo of herself with Sheen on Instagram and wrote, "My heart hurts. Prayers for Charlie and his family," of her "Spin City" co-star.
TV personality Piers Morgan also tweeted his support: "Bravo @charliesheen - that took guts today. Proud to be your mate."
Pundit Marc Lamont Hill extended his sympathies to the star, tweeting, "I keep thinking about how the world mocked Charlie Sheen when he had his 'celebrity melt down.' I can't imagine what he was going through."
Other celebrities used Sheen's announcement as a teaching moment to fans.
Former child star Danny Pintauro, who is also HIV-positive, tweeted a link to an article about fact-checking the articles on Charlie Sheen and HIV, and wrote, "We cannot let misinformation guide this media frenzy."
"Orange Is the New Black" actress Laverne Cox retweeted a post that said, "Before you read anything else about #CharlieSheen, read this" with a link to an explainer article about HIV. Then she tweeted another piece on talking respectfully about people with HIV and wrote, "Love this article. Language to destigmatize HIV is so vital."
Actress Holly Robinson Peete retweeted a post that said, "Please remember before you make jokes about Charlie Sheen on your timeline, there are others living with HIV/AIDS that follow you." Then she posted a link to Sheen's interview on "Today" and hashtagged it, "#HIV #Awareness."
Former Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss, who is friends with Sheen, told the Daily Mail that she fully supports Sheen and hopes he can be a role model for others with HIV.
"Of all the people he can show you can live with that and still have a good life," she said. "He was still do pretty much what he wants and be a good father to his kids."
She added that she does not believe Sheen would ever secretly put someone else at risk of contracting HIV.
"For one thing, having sex intentionally knowing you're HIV and not telling the other person is against the law," she said. "He wouldn't have wanted to do that. It's not worth it for him to get into that kind of trouble."
Fleiss also slammed people who say Sheen deserved it because of his partying lifestyle.
"I'd say f*** those people," she said. "He doesn't deserve to have HIV. It's not his fault. It's like saying people in a car crash deserve to have been in a car crash."
On the flip side, the former adult film star Bree Olson, who dated Charlie Sheen, had a meltdown and told Howard Stern that she was never aware of Sheen's HIV-positive status. She also said that she and Sheen had both unprotected and protected sex, and when they had protected sex, they used lambskin condoms, which are not as effective as latex condoms at preventing STDs. She took to Twitter to air her anxieties. She wrote, "Recorded myself for half an hour being tested for HIV and getting the results. This is so stressful."
Sheen's ex-wife Brooke Mueller confirmed that she and her twin sons with Sheen are all HIV-negative.
One anonymous celebrity who claims that she is well-known in Hollywood wrote a post for website xoJane, saying that her ex-husband is HIV-positive and that it hurts her to see all of the gossip and speculation about Sheen. She wrote, "So Charlie (who I know through work, though am not close to) coming out and talking about it is helpful to all of us. The gossiping is not."