Sean Penn opened up to Esquire magazine about the trauma and love in his life, referring to his 14-year marriage to Robin Wright Penn a “fraud.”
Not only that, he feels like he’s never been loved by anyone. From 1985-89 he was married to Madonna, and in 1987 he sent her to the hospital when he cracked her across the head with a baseball bat. The 53-year-old actor briefly dated 28-year-old Scarlett Johansson last year, but reports were that he broke off the relationship because he didn’t want a commitment.
Here’s what he said to Esquire:
There is no shame in my 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. 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 that come out, you sit there and you 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. It can make somebody very bitter and very hard and closed off, but I find it does the opposite to me.
Sean is also very bitter about movie making, and modern culture in general:
In my teens, I fell in love with the movies. And so when I got involved in the movies, I was a genius in terms of how the movies that were made in the generation that inspired me got made — but now the financing wasn’t there to do ‘em anymore. Trauma. I’m caught in a business that I’m in love with the idea of — the whole process that’s possible. Only now they’re not making movies — they’re representing them.
I just did this picture that I enjoyed doing. Gangster Squad. But I do think that in general the standard of aspiration is low. Very low. And mostly they’re just doing a bunch of monkey-f**k-rat movies, most actors and actresses. And I blame them just as much as I do the business. I know everybody wants to make some money, everybody’s got a modeling contract, everybody’s selling jewelry and perfume. I’m blinded by it. Bob Dylan said in an interview one time — somebody asked him, Are you really this reclusive? He says, No, I’m not reclusive, man. I’m exclusive. Exclusivity is like intimacy.
When I was growing up and somebody like Robert De Niro had a movie come out, it was a cultural event. Because he had such a confidence and a single mission that was so intimate. But when people start using themselves as instruments of a kind of consumerist mosh pit, they’re helping that take over. I mean, you are a soldier for it or you’re a soldier against it. That’s all there is to it. And we have so little of that intimacy left, it’s no wonder that interpersonal relationships have become text relationships. It’s a texting orgy. When is somebody gonna sit there, with their mate or their child, and just look them in the eye and say, “I love you?” When is that life??