Ginger Lynn shares her past with Charlie Sheen

Everyone has by now heard about the manic, tough-talking Charlie Sheen, the sitcom actor who publicly insults his bosses and makes T-shirt-ready boasts of "winning" and having tiger blood. But former porn star Ginger Lynn says she got intimate with another side of TV's top-earning actor — one that fans can now share for a price.

"There's a side of him that I don't think many people hear about," Lynn said during an interview Friday. "Especially because right now, everyone's focusing on the negative. I have the soft, the considerate, the sensitive, the warm, the scared, the encouraging sides — I have all these sides of Charlie that no one's talking about."

Now those in Sheen's corner — that is to say, anyone not among the critics whom the actor dubs "trolls" — can have them too, as Lynn is prepared to use an adult-film collectibles site (gingerlynnauctions.com) to sell off a trove of gifts, mementos and letters Sheen sent her during their two-year-plus romance in the early 1990s.

There is a baseball cap from his beloved Cincinnati Reds, with Sheen's inscription on the brim. A signed, self-published book of Sheen's poetry. Intimate letters. A vest the actor wore in a film. A strand of pearls he bought her during a trip to Japan. And, in light of Sheen's recent troubles after another round of rehab, a real conversation starter: An oversized, hardcover copy of the 1991 edition of "The Complete Drug Reference," which Sheen inscribed: "From one druggie to another."

"Charlie has a very specific, individual, warped sense of humor, which I love," Lynn said from behind the desk of her home office in her spacious house on a Woodland Hills street dotted with handsome, $1-million-plus properties. But their relationship ended a long time ago. "I don't know Charlie today. I haven't seen him in over 15 years." Referring to the items up for auction, she said: "There's someone out there who's going to appreciate these more than I do today."

In unloading the Sheen items from her past, she freely admits that the profit motive is uppermost. "Of course it's a business opportunity," she said. (Sheen's manager, Mark Burg, did not respond to a request for comment.)

Selling celebrity collectibles is a time-honored tradition in Hollywood, and the Internet has only quickened the pace. Sellers on EBay have offered wads of chewing gum supposedly chomped by Britney Spears (at least some of the items have been proved to be hoaxes). In 2000, a bidder ponied up more than $1,000 for two slices of French toast Justin Timberlake didn't finish during a breakfast interview with a radio station. And online casino GoldenPalace.com last week paid more than $40,000 for locks from Justin Bieber's haircut.

"Nothing wrong with people trying to make a buck by selling collectibles relating to Charlie Sheen," said Paul Levinson, a Fordham University professor and pop culture expert. "He's a bigger celebrity than ever before, and it's not as if any demonstrable tragedy has happened in connection with him." He added: "Media are making plenty of money in the ads they run in the Sheen interviews they broadcast."

Sheen and Lynn's long-ago romance offers revealing context for the antics of the TV star, who on Monday was officially fired from CBS' smash sitcom "Two and a Half Men" after a verbal duel with his employers.

Now 48, the Illinois-born Lynn was one of the top sex stars of the early 1980s, just as the VCR was pulling porn out of the shadows and into middle-class living rooms. Blond and petite, with a look patterned in part after Madonna's during that early MTV era, Lynn (real name: Ginger Lynn Allen) was the first and probably best known of Sheen's porn-star girlfriends, a habit the actor has continued to this day with such successors as Bree Olson, one of what Sheen calls the "goddesses" who have occupied his Mulholland Drive mansion.

Sheen met Lynn in early 1990, after she had left adult movies (she would later return to the business for two brief stints). She was trying to build a career in mainstream features with a small part in the western "Young Guns II," which costarred Sheen's brother Emilio Estevez. Sheen — already a movie star thanks to acclaimed performances in "Platoon" and "Wall Street" — was smitten and pursued her aggressively, she said. But she agreed to a first date only in a group setting. The pair ended up joining Christian Slater, Kiefer Sutherland and other actors at a strip bar, where Lynn said she bought Sheen a dance. "We ended up going back to his room that night," she recalled.

Within a month, Lynn said, Sheen had broken off his engagement with actress Kelly Preston. But his family and handlers weren't nearly as sold on the young star's new girlfriend, who some believed would tarnish his then-pristine matinee-idol image. "We had this relationship, it was fabulous, it was wonderful," Lynn said. "The hardest part was attorneys and managers and agents and publicists and people saying, 'Do this, don't do that.' 'Ginger's gonna ruin your career and that's not gonna be good for you.'" It didn't help that in 1991, Lynn was convicted in a federal tax-evasion case (she ended up serving 4 1/2 months in prison).

Their nights were also disappearing into a haze of heavy-duty partying, Lynn said. When it came to drug and alcohol abuse, "I was right there with him," she said. "It was almost like he was the male version of me and I was the female version of him." In August 1990, Sheen showed up unexpectedly at her house with a playful love letter he'd written in rehab (now one of the items to be auctioned): "I'm sitting in bed writing to you from my penthouse suite at the Hotel du Cap. The view up here is incredible. I can see the Eiffel Tower, Mount Rushmore, Niagara Falls, Riverfront Stadium … and I can see you as well, which happens to be my favorite sight of all."

He added: "I must admit that I cannot go through this alone. And so far you've been with me every step of the way." The couple decided to enter rehab together.

Lynn insists that despite numerous allegations of Sheen violence against wives and female companions, he never abused her. "Not one time did he raise his voice," she said. "No violence."

The relationship ended on a sour note nonetheless, due at least in part to Sheen's wandering eye. Toward the end, he turned up as a frequent client of Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss. Lynn was stung when she got a card for her 32nd birthday that read: "You still make heads turn — only now it's the other way." Underneath, Sheen had scribbled, "Just kidding!"

Lynn rebounded with a relationship with porn producer Steve Hirsch that produced her son, Sterling, who is now 14. She began to supplement her acting income by auctioning off personal items — including photos and worn clothing — to fans online. "I was going and buying socks every day and wearing them to the gym so I could sell them," she said with a smile. "I had no laundry to do. I would just wear it and put it on EBay." Her top-selling pair of panties fetched $1,025, she said.

When asked what she thinks of her former movie-star boyfriend's present-day rants that have garnered international headlines, Lynn offers warm wishes. "We all have demons. We all fight them," she said. "We fall down, we get back up. I've done it. Everyone I know has done it. It seems to me, without knowing any details, that right now Charlie is gonna take a little different course. Hopefully, he'll rise again, he'll be like the phoenix."

scott.collins@latimes.com

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