The troubled star's 23-month-old sons, Bob and Max, were taken Tuesday night as they were being put to bed in the home Sheen shares with two live-in girlfriends he calls the "goddesses," Sheen told NBC's "Today" show this morning.
"I stayed very calm and focused," Sheen told NBC, adding that he didn't want to "come from a place of panic, ego, emotion" as authorities came for the children.
To the boys, Sheen said, "'I love you.' I said, 'Don't say "goodbye." Say "see you later."'"
It was the latest twist in Sheen's downward spiral of drugs and alcohol that led CBS to shut down his hit show "Two and a Half Men."
Sheen, 45, said he "stupidly" assumed the boys were being taken back to the home of his estranged wife, Brooke Mueller, but said he'd received reports they were brought to a hotel in Santa Monica.
"At this moment on live television, I do not know where my children are," Sheen said. "But I am not panicking. It's about getting very focused and getting very much in touch with what I have to do to complete the task of bringing these two beautiful young men back to the home they deserve to be raised in."
Sheen had been told police were on their way to his house but didn't know they were coming for the children until he opened the door. He said he did not protest.
"I'm not into resisting the law and just had to surrender to it," Sheen said, adding that he videotaped the encounter and provided car seats to the authorities.
People magazine reports that Mueller won a restraining order earlier Tuesday forbidding Sheen from communicating with her or coming within 100 yards of her or the boys.
"I am very concerned that [Sheen] is currently insane," Mueller stated in her legal declaration, People says. "I am in great fear that he will find me and attack me, and I am in great fear for the children's safety while in his care."
Mueller alleged that Sheen took the boys from her home without permission on Saturday and has kept them from her, according to People. She tried to get the boys back, but she said Sheen allegedly threatened: "I will cut your head off, put it in a box and send it to your mom."
On "Today," Sheen called the quote "colorful" but denied making it. He urged Mueller, whose divorce from Sheen becomes official in May, to contact him.
Sheen has taken to the airwaves in a public fight with CBS over his job. The actor has spent the past several days giving interviews to rival networks ABC and NBC and other media outlets, showing off the goddesses, talking about his "epic" partying and saying that he's cured himself of drugs.
Asked to respond to critics who feel his home is unsuitable for the boys, Sheen said, "There's nothing to hide. There's nothing but love and compassion and absolute support for these amazing children."