Martin and Janet Sheen are one of the few Hollywood couples who not only make it but also set a good example for others to follow.
They have been married for over 60 years and have stood by each other in sickness and in health, fully honoring their wedding vows.
Many people are unaware that Martin Sheen’s birth name was Ramón Antonio Gerardo Estévez. He has had a successful career in Hollywood as the son of Irish and Spanish immigrants.
His roles in “Mission Impossible,” “Hawaii Five-O,” and “The American President” are well-known and critically acclaimed. But it was his performance as Captain Benjamin Willard in the 1979 epic war drama “Apocalypse Now” that catapulted him into the public eye.
While Sheen has over 60 acting credits and a prolific and successful Hollywood career, that is not the only thing he can brag about. He has also had a successful and lovely marriage with his wife, Janet Sheen.
When he was 20 years old and living in New York, the actor met his wife. Janet had recently moved to the city, having received scholarships to both the Cleveland Institute of Art and Western Reserve University.
When the couple met, she was a scholarship student at the New School for Social Research. They met, felt an instant connection, and fell in love.
The couple was young and impoverished. They sometimes didn’t have enough money for food and had to scrimp and save just for the necessities. In the midst of their poverty, they discovered Janet was pregnant and decided to marry on December 23, 1961. Following their wedding, they had a small reception at a local Jewish deli.
Regardless of how humble everything was, Sheen has always maintained that it was ideal for him. “I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect day.”
Emilio, their eldest child, was born in 1962. His eldest son followed in his father’s footsteps to Hollywood, starring as Andrew Clark in “The Breakfast Club” and later directing a number of notable projects.
Ramón Sheen was born in 1963 as the couple’s second child. Ramón also tried his hand at acting before co-founding Estévez Sheen Productions with his father in the early 2000s.
Charlie Sheen, Martin Sheen’s third child, was born in 1965 and is perhaps the most well-known of Martin Sheen’s children. Charlie is well-known in Hollywood for his bad-boy demeanor. He appeared in the film “Wall Street” alongside his father. His other acting credits include the role of Charlie Harper in the smash hit “Two and a Half Men.”
Two years after Charlie’s birth, the couple welcomed their only daughter, Renée Estevez, who followed in the footsteps of her father and older brothers and became an actress in Hollywood.
Janet Sheen has dabbled in acting, most notably in the 1983 miniseries “Kennedy.” She has, however, worked behind the camera as a producer for the 1989 film “Beverly Hills Brats,” as well as as the executive producer for “The Way,” a film starring her husband.
They appeared to have the perfect Hollywood life. But, at the end of the 1970s, everything nearly came crashing down. Martin Sheen was on the verge of passing away.
The story begins when Sheen was in his thirties and working on “Apocalypse Now,” a major project that he expected to launch him into international stardom. He awoke one day at their remote set location, unable to stand. He got dressed while lying on the floor and dragged himself out to the road. He waited for someone to pass by before being picked up.
Everyone noticed Sheen and was concerned about his health. He then passed out and assumed that was the end of his life. The remote location caused the cast and crew to panic, but they fetched a local doctor to help stabilize what was a major heart attack before airlifting him to a better-equipped hospital. A local priest even performed his last rites because it was assumed he would not survive.
Later, the actor revealed that his role in the film had taken a significant psychological and physical toll on him. Janet arrived after he was airlifted to a hospital in Manila. “It’s only a movie, babe. Please, it’s only a movie!”
He had a nervous breakdown in addition to his heart attack. Janet never left his side for a second during the entire ordeal. Sheen recalls her finding a therapist in New York and forcing him to call him on a daily basis.
“I completely fell apart. My spirit was exposed. I cried and cried. I turned completely gray. I was in intensive care. Janet slept on the floor beside me.”
Sheen attributes his recovery to his wife, noting that she was a key factor in his improved health.
Sheen was reported to have been admitted to a Los Angeles hospital in December 2015 for quadruple bypass surgery — a heart surgery performed to improve blood flow to the heart.
His eldest son, Emilio, told the public not to worry because the situation was not an emergency but rather a proactive one to keep his father healthy. Sheen’s surgery went well, and he was recovering well.
“Not surprisingly, he is recovering beautifully, out of the ICU, and is expected to not only be home for Christmas but be 100% by the time he returns to work on season three of the Netflix series, ‘Grace and Frankie’ early next year.”
He later revealed that, as always, his wife stood by him and made sure he had everything he needed to feel better. Even in the most serious situations, she made him laugh and reminded him to relax.
The actor is known for publicly praising his wife. He did, however, reveal that they do not make a big deal about anniversaries and only celebrate them when their children or grandchildren insist. That is because he believes that “every day is a celebration with this dame.”
The couple genuinely looks out for and cares for one another. “I’ve never met a person with more integrity in my life, though.”
Perhaps the secret to their long and happy marriage is that they keep surprising each other. “And that’s the relationship. I honestly don’t have a clue who [Janet] is because when I get to the point where I’ve caught up with her, she’s gone.”