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Arts and Entertainment

Jon Cryer Reveals What It Was Like Being Charlie Sheen's Co-Worker

Jon Cryer, Angus T. Jones and Charlie Sheen from 'Two and a Half Men' pose backstage during the 2007 People's Choice Awards. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for PCA)
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Jon Cryer, best known as Duckie in Pretty in Pink and the straight man on Chuck Lorre's Two And A Half Men, is coming out with a memoir on his 35 years in the business called So That Happened. The Hollywood Reporter has printed an excerpt from the memoir that teases the juiciest parts from his seven seasons with co-star Charlie Sheen. There aren't any bombshells dropped, but Cryer uses his front row seat to offer a clear-eyed yet surprisingly human take on one of the biggest showbiz meltdowns in recent memory.

Cryer writes that things started off well. When he went to Vegas to promote the show with Sheen, he was slightly disappointed to find out the trip was "boring as shit" since Sheen turned out to be "a pretty grounded, sober married guy."

By the second season, Sheen and Cryer were divorced and their markedly different romantic styles were obvious. Cryer was having trouble connecting with the opposite sex, and Sheen showed up to work with vagina pics on his phone: "It was always a perfectly nice-looking vagina, but I would invariably think, 'Why just this, and not the rest of the person?' And what do you say in that moment? Thank you for that vagina picture? How long have you been seeing … it? Please tell me she was awake?"

Cryer did take advantage of Sheen's bad boy wisdom at one point, and got a recommendation from Sheen when he decided to hire a prostitute online. Cryer wasn't quite the playboy Sheen was, "Somehow I ended up spending 25 minutes of my hour helping her with financial planning. If Charlie's example of his evening's entertainment was best exemplified by a snapshot of lady parts, mine would be a picture of me hunched over a table of papers and telling a hot lady, 'The real estate boom is building, you need to diversify.'"

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When things began to spiral out of control, Cryer felt a conflicted sense of loyalty to his co-star. He texted his support when Sheen was arrested in Aspen in 2009 on Christmas Day for assaulting his wife Brooke Mueller and Sheen responded as only Sheen could: "Thanks bro. Yikes — f— me, wut a bad day … I'm flying home tonite. I'll try to call over the weekend. Shower rape was bad but the food was okay. Hair and makeup for mug shot got there too late."

But Cryer had the good sense to know that publicly coming out in support of Sheen who had fallen off the wagon wasn't the best call: "Situations like this are rough on your sense of friendship and loyalty, because the allegations are serious, yet you know Charlie and Brooke are a drug-troubled pair, and Charlie's your longtime friend who was proud of his sobriety, but that doesn't mean he didn't do something to her, and you should give a woman the benefit of the doubt when she's been abused, and oh, boy..."

An interesting thing is that Sheen, like that other infamous tabloid staple Lindsay Lohan, was able to pull things together and focus when the moment absolutely called for it. Cryer talks about one shoot when Charlie was flubbing every line and was clearly not in a good mental health space during his downward spiral with drugs. Sheen stops and asks if he can give it another shot: "Wait a minute; just give me a second." And that's all he needed: "On take two, Charlie completely nailed it. Every beat. Every line. When he absolutely had to focus, he did. It was a strange and impressive thing to behold."

It's clear that Cryer likes Sheen on a certain level, but he seems dumbfounded by the public reaction to Sheen's antics: "An astounding number of people stood up for Charlie, as though people should be able to show up to work rarely, if at all, verbally abuse their co-workers publicly with anti-Semitic slurs, get arrested on a regular basis — as well as abuse drugs to the point where they can barely function — and not have their high-paying jobs threatened."

And he's amazed that there wasn't anyone sane in Sheen's management at that time of crisis to stop him from making an idiot of himself during his one-man tour: "His first few dates resembled exactly what happens when a bunch of assholes throw money at a drug addict to make him dance like a monkey."

Cryer calls out bored entertainment writers who treated Sheen like he was a "rebel, a truth teller willing to poke his masters in the eye." He said that couldn't have been further from the truth: "Charlie was never an insurrectionary guerrilla fighting the established order. He was a guy who got everything he had ever wanted from it. He even texted somebody at the show once, I think they gave the wrong guy too much money."

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