Sean Penn has opened up about his past relationships, and the result isn’t pretty. The actor says he doesn’t feel like love was reciprocated by anyone he cared for, and that includes ex-wives Madonna and Robin Wright.
“There is no shame in saying that we all want to be loved by someone. As I look back over my life in romance, I don’t feel I’ve ever had that,” he says. “I have been the only one that was unaware of the fraud in a few of these circumstances blindly. When you get divorced, all the truths come out, you sit there and go, ‘What the f— was I doing? What was I doing believing that this person was invested in this way?’ Which is a fantastically strong humiliation in the best sense,” he says. “It can make somebody very bitter and very hard and closed off, but I find it does the opposite to me.”
Penn doesn’t name names, but his separation from Wright was a famously embattled one; they were married from 1996 to 2010 and the split was highly publicized. After the divorce and a horrifying accident that left his son with a serious head injury, Penn says he went through a period of lonlieness…until he heard about a disaster in Haiti that ended up changing his life.
“One of the first reports I saw, they were doing trauma surgeries, amputations — children, with no IV pain medications. Now, my joke has always been that an actor in Hollywood knows where to find narcotics but not bulk narcotics. And they needed about 350,000 vials of morphine and ketamine. So I started putting a little ragtag team together to locate the drugs, and talked to the State Department and Southern Command to get a slot to land — the airport was crazy at that time. And that’s what got us there. The road started with the most obvious kind of trauma — my son’s head — and then to get to a place that had been just so devastated and traumatized, and then to see that in fact most of the trauma actually predated the earthquake. You had a country that had never experienced anything that related to comfort, and out of that you had great trauma — but also this great strength that, I think, we all benefited from,” he said.
The disaster led to Penn moving to Haiti to set up shop, where he organized workers to do whatever was needed to help get displaced people the most basic of necessities, and sometimes a few comforts. As for his love life, he seems to be more focused on his work right now than finding someone. He famously dated Scarlett Johansson for five months, but when they split he said it was because he didn’t want to be “tied down”.