Sean Penn and Robin Wright have officially been divorced for a little under three years now, but the 52-year-old actor hasn’t quite gotten over the relationship just yet.
Penn, speaking in an interview with Esquire, opened up about his relationship troubles throughout the years; before marrying Wright he was married to Madonna, a relationship that famously ended poorly after a domestic assault case was brought up against Penn.
In the interview, Penn says that throughout his relationship with Madonna, and then Wright, he didn’t feel like he was ever actually loved.
“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,” Penn, who stars in Gangster Squad, told the magazine. “I have been the only one that was unaware of the fraud in a few of these circumstances blindly.”
Although Penn never mentions Wright by name in the interview, he went on to talk about being faced with the realizations–the truths–that come out when getting a divorce.
“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 and Wright had two children together: their daughter Dylan, 21, and their son Hopper, 19. Only a year after the divorce was finalized, Hopper was involved in a serious skateboarding accident that required emergency brain surgery.
Naturally, this made things much worse.
“When he was recovering, seeing the morphine go into him and give him relief created kind of a love affair for me with morphine and that usage of it,” Penn confesses. “It had already been eight months of divorce and s**t, and raising a kid that’s going through the divorce himself, and then this f**king thing happens … it was a tough, tough time.”
Faced with the divorce of Wright and his son’s injury, Penn says that it wasn’t until the earthquake that tragically devastated Haiti that he figured out what to do with himself.
“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,” he said. “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.”