Chuck Lorre is finally speaking through something other than the "vanity cards" that close each episode of his CBS sitcom "Two and a Half Men," and he's telling his side of the Charlie Sheen controversy.
In a new interview with TV Guide, Lorre claims he had no choice but to shut down production on the show, because he was concerned about Sheen's party lifestyle and feared for the actor's life.
“You can’t do that much cocaine and work.” Lorre says, “I didn’t want to be writing a sitcom while my friend died. Or worse, hurt someone else. We couldn’t be complacent."
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Sheen and Lorre had an explosive falling out in February, which lead to Sheen's firing (and eventual replacement by Ashton Kutcher) as well as the actor's tumultuous string of TV interviews, web rants, and freewheeling nationwide live speaking tour engagements.
Lorre, meanwhile, has remained relatively quiet, only dropping hints in cryptic messages that pop up during the end credits of each episode of "Men." But in this new interview, he claims the dispute went beyond ego and was instead the inevitable end result of growing tension and erratic behavior.
"There was a tragedy unfolding right in front of us," continues Lorre. "There was violence and blackouts. On a certain level, if you’re looking the other way, you’re responsible. It was falling apart. It was heartbreaking to be around here then.”
Not that Lorre has completely lost his sense of humor about the incident. The writer/producer recently sent out a holiday card depicting himself being mauled by a gorilla. The card states, "Oddly enough, not my worst day this year."