From the very beginning, Two and a Half Men was a hit for CBS, drawing in anywhere from 13 to 16 million viewers per season.
Many have credited the sitcom’s success to its long roster of A-list guest stars, from Kathy Bates (who won an Emmy in 2012 for her role as the ghost of Charlie Sheen’s character, Charlie Harper) to Megan Fox to Steven Tyler to Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, the chemistry between core cast members Sheen, Jon Cryer (Alan Harper) and Angus T. Jones (Jake Harper) was undoubtedly the real reason the show became a smash.
Two and a Half Men revolved around Charlie, a promiscuous jingle writer whose brother, Alan, and nephew, Jake, moved into his Malibu beach house after Alan’s wife, Judith Harper (Marin Hinkle), filed for divorce. Over the first eight seasons, viewers witnessed the ever-hedonistic Charlie bringing home woman after woman while a heartbroken Alan struggled to find love again.
Things took an unexpected turn at the end of season 8 when Sheen started behaving erratically in real life. After he entered rehab in 2011, CBS placed the series on a production hiatus and said in a statement, “We are profoundly concerned for his health and well-being.” Sheen — who was the highest-paid actor on TV at the time, with a paycheck of $1.8 million per episode — went on to publicly attack the show’s creator, Chuck Lorre, leaving the network with no choice but to fire him.
During the season 9 premiere, Charlie was said to have died after falling in front of a train on vacation in Paris with his stalker neighbor, Rose (Melanie Lynskey). After his death, Charlie’s house was sold to Walden Schmidt (Ashton Kutcher), who allowed Alan and Jake to continue living there, creating a modern family of sorts. The series finale — spoiler alert! — ultimately revealed that Charlie had been alive all along but kept prisoner by Rose. After managing to escape, he returned to his oceanside home, only to have a piano fall on him, leaving him dead once and for all without ever reuniting with Alan and Jake.
After Sheen’s departure from the show, he and Cryer went their separate ways. The Pretty in Pink star admitted on Access Live in 2019 that they had not spoken “in a couple of years,” explaining, “It’s kind of a roller-coaster when you have Charlie in your life, and I just haven’t decided to get back on that roller-coaster.”
Scroll down to see where the Two and a Half Men cast members are now!