"He is not a monster," says Kenly, 29, a key member of Sheen's so-called "Goddess" posse of live-in girlfriends in 2011.
"He has regard for human beings and cares about people. I do not see him knowingly putting women at risk."
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"He's got young kids. He's also not an idiot and I don't see him opening himself up to that legal nightmare."
Now a mother with a young daughter, Kenly left Los Angeles a few years ago and lives a quiet life in the Midwest with her long-term partner.
Although the circumstance of her relationship with Sheen was clearly unconventional, Kenly, who says she is HIV-negative, holds no ill feelings towards him.
"He loved us all," she says of the goddesses. "He cares."
While Sheen and Kenly have remained friendly over the years, she has not discussed the diagnosis with him.
"He's a good man and I feel very fortunate to have spent the time with him that I did, and I'm so sad to hear of his health troubles," she says. "I hope he's okay."
Sources tell PEOPLE the actor, who has long struggled with substance abuse and has admitted to soliciting prostitutes in the past, will discuss being HIV-positive tomorrow on the Today show.
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To learn more about living with HIV/AIDS today and to contribute in the fight against the diseases, visit amfAR.org.