"I'm not crazy anymore," Charlie Sheen told journalists this week, at a press conference for his upcoming FX series Anger Management. During the event, Sheen candidly discussed the dramatic past year of his life, during which a very public meltdown made him a headline-grabbing media star, got him fired from his gig as TV's highest paid actor on Two and a Half Men, and eventually led to a mea culpa tour ending in his being cast in the FX sitcom (which will be loosely based on Adam Sandler's 2003 movie). Here, four lessons Charlie Sheen says he's learned:
1. Sometimes, you have to take a chill pill
"Last year's headline-making antics are indeed a thing of the past," says Monica Rizzo at People. Sheen said that these days, "everything is a lot more mellow and focused and much more rooted in reality." The star has gone from making $2 million a week on Two and a Half Men to earning only $1,700 a week on the indie A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Schwann III, which he just wrapped production on. "I was never happier," Sheen said of the paycut. That's not just talk, says Josef Adalian at New York. The change in attitude was apparent: "He appeared healthy and stable and at least somewhat self-aware, demonstrating a quick wit and patient attitude."
2. It's important to have some control
After routine clashes with producer Chuck Lorre on Two and a Half Men, Sheen says it's refreshing to work somewhere that values his two cents. "I've been doing this 30 years, and it's nice to finally be in a situation where the people I'm working with are excited about my input." In a minor shot at his former boss, says Gary Levin at USA Today, Sheen added that "that hasn't been the case for a long time." In another "not-so-veiled" dig at his former home, Sheen said there are some Two and a Half Men staples that he won't allow on his new show: "There'll be no fart jokes and dick jokes and poo-poo jokes… That's when writers get lazy."
3. You have to complain in moderation
When asked if he would have approached his falling out with Two and a Half Men any differently, Sheen responded, "I would have been a little less vocal" about my complaints. Still, the actor maintains that he "was absolutely right" in his stand. Sheen says his outburst stemmed from "the pressure cooking of 30 years in the business and finally wanting to say all the things that I didn't. And I said them all at once and it created a tsunami of bizarre proportions." Since, he says he's learned to "try and pick my spots and think a little longer" before speaking publicly.
4. Let bygones be bygones
Sheen is humble enough to give credit to Ashton Kutcher and the revamped Men for earning high ratings and maintaining its quality, says Levin. "I think he's doing a great job," Sheen says of his replacement. "I though the moment at the urn with the smoke of my body and his reveal at the window was one of the great television moments of all time." (The scene occurred in September's season premiere, which centered around the funeral for Sheen's character and the introduction of Kutcher.) Sheen does say that the episode was "a little mean-spirited," but stresses that he's moved on. "It's dead and buried now, right?"