LOS ANGELES (AP) — Go ahead, ask the perfect father of the perfect child for parenting tips. But since most of us fall short of flawless, how about considering Father's Day advice from a dad who's grappled with personal shortcomings, seen a son face his own struggles and still counts his blessings.
Presenting Martin Sheen, 71-year-old actor, liberal activist and father of Charlie Sheen, and Emilio, Ramon and Renee Estevez — all the product of a five-decade marriage to Janet Sheen.
The name that pops out is Charlie, 46, he of the headline-making "Two and a Half Men" meltdown and eruptions over his dad's tough-love attitudes on substance abuse. The waters are calmer with actor-director Emilio, 50, whose collaborations with Sheen include films and the new father-son memoir "Along the Way" (Free Press and Audible.com).
Renee, 45, an actress, has played opposite her dad in several projects, while Ramon, 48, is an actor and an executive with the family's Estevez Sheen production company.
Sheen admits to guilt about how his offspring were affected, in earlier years, by the alcoholism that bedeviled him and by his consuming career ambitions. If he had it to do over again, he wouldn't have had four children, he says, he would have had eight, rough patches or not.
"You're not going to get the ideal relationship," Sheen says. "Charlie could have become a priest, Emilio could have become a doctor. You don't get to choose that. And it's not really a reflection of you. They did have a hand in the bargain."