Sources close to the situation say that Richards, 34, made the swift, bold move out of concern that Sheen, 39, – a once-notorious Hollywood bad boy who cleaned up his act in 1998 – had reverted to some of his old ways. Richards hopes, these sources say, that Sheen will seek help – a move that could preserve their marriage and keep their family intact. (The pair also have a 1-year-old daughter, Sam.)
Sheen strongly denies any such misbehavior. "He did not cheat. He did not have a relapse. There is no scandal. He is not going into rehab," says his rep, Stan Rosenfield. "Sometimes marriages don't work. It's as simple as that."
According to a source close to the actor, Sheen had moved out of the couple's $1.6 million four-bedroom house in Agoura Hills, Calif., a few weeks before Richards's court filing and is living nearby: "All was not well with the marriage," this source said. Still, Sheen, who has hired a lawyer, has yet to respond to the divorce petition. "He was not expecting it," says this source. "He was surprised."
After the announcement of the split, both Sheen and Richards went on with life as if little were amiss. Richards, who shopped for baby items solo at Target and Babies R Us near her home on March 6, "is doing pretty good," said her father, Irv.
On March 7, heading into a scheduled one-week hiatus after several weeks of production on Two and a Half Men, Sheen appeared upbeat when he faced reporters to field questions about his CBS sitcom.
Warner Bros. Television, which produces Men, released a statement that praised Sheen's "impeccable standard of leadership" on the show and stressed that his "marital situation?has in no way affected his professional commitment to the series." Says a source on the set: "He has been at work every single day. There has been nothing out of the ordinary; he has been his usual, professional, nice self. I have never seen any evidence other than that he adores and loves his wife and baby."
Whatever their problems, most close to Sheen and Richards are rooting for the couple to overcome them. "He is a good guy who works hard and loves his family," says Sheen's on-set coworker. "I hope they can work things out."