Sean Penn's marriages to Madonna and Robin Wright did not work out, and now the actor is speaking honestly about his feelings toward the failed marriages he calls "frauds" and his continued humanitarian work.
"There is no shame in saying that that we all want to be loved by someone," Penn told Esquire magazine. "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."
Penn was married to Madonna from 1985 to 1989; the couple split after she filed for divorce. They had a turbulent marriage that was known for its fights between the two. At one point, Penn spent 60 days behind bars for fighting with his wife. They finally announced the separation, which their representative told the New York Times was "amicable."
He later married Robin Wright in 1996, and the couple has two children: Hopper and Dylan. They announced their divorce in 2010, and now Penn calls the marriage a "fraud."
"When you get divorced, all the truths come out, you sit there and you go, 'What the [expletive] 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," Penn noted.
He has since thrown himself into charity work, co-founding the J/P Haitian Relief Organization. Penn has visited Haiti numerous times and has a deep connection to the people affected by the 2010 earthquake.
"You had a country that 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 explained.