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Why Sean Penn Called His Marriage To Robin Wright A 'Humiliation' As They're Seen Together For The 1st Time In Years

Photo: Andrea Raffin, photowalking/Shutterstock.com
Sean Penn; Robin Wright

Actors Robin Wright, 56, and Sean Penn, 62, are rumored to be reuniting after being spotted traveling together at LAX—the first time they've been seen together in years.

The pair, who divorced in 2010 after a tumultuous 14-year partnership, have two kids together, actors Dylan Penn, 31, and Hopper Penn, 29, so it’s unlikely they've been incommunicado all these years.

Still, a reunion between Wright and Penn would be something of a surprise—and not only because they're both fresh off recent divorces.

Penn and Wright's stormy on-again/off-again relationship ended in an acrimonious divorce, and both have been sharp-tongued about each other in comments they've made since.

Throw in Penn's long-running history of toxic relationships, and Penn and Wright seem like one of the last Hollywood couples you'd ever expect to see rekindling things.

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Sean Penn and Robin Wright's reunion follows their recent divorces.

Wright is fresh off her divorce from her third husband, Saint Laurent executive Clément Giraudet, whom she married in 2018.

She was previously married to fellow actor Dane Witherspoon, her costar on the soap opera "Santa Barbara," which launched her career.

Penn, meanwhile, just split from his third wife, actress and daughter of Vincent D'Onofrio, Leila George. Penn and George, who is 32 years his junior, divorced in April of 2022. 

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Sean Penn has made disparaging comments about Robin Wright since their 2010 divorce.

In a 2013 interview with Esquire, Penn called his marriage to Wright a "humiliation" and a "fraud" that he was "unaware of" at the time.

He went on to claim their marriage was not a priority for Wright—who famously put her career on hold to raise their children while Penn worked.

Penn told Esquire,"When you get divorced, all the truths that come out, you sit there and you go, What the fu-k was I doing? What was I doing believing that this person was invested in this way?"

Penn also claimed neither of his ex-wives—Penn was previously married to Madonna from 1985 to 1989—ever loved him.

He told Esquire, "As I look back over my life in romance, I don't feel I've ever had [love]."

More recently, Penn impugned Wright's parenting during a 2018 appearance on comedian Marc Maron's "WTF" podcast, saying her "ethics" differ from his. 

Wright has been fairly tight-lipped about Penn, but in a 2011 interview, she candidly told More magazine of her ex-husband, "I know what I don't want... There’s no time. I’m too old for this sh-t.”

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Penn and Wright’s relationship was frequently described as turbulent.

Wright and Penn met just after his 1989 divorce from Madonna and quickly had daughter Dylan together in 1991.

All seemed to be well until the mid 90s, when Penn had an affair with musician Jewel.

Penn and Wright soon reunited and married in 1996, but Wright filed and then retracted divorce papers multiple times in the 2000s.

In 2009, Penn infamously forgot to thank Wright in his acceptance speech for his Best Actor Oscar for “Milk," leading many to suspect the two were again in trouble.

Penn and Wright divorced for good in 2010.

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Penn has a long history of turbulent relationships, substance use issues, and allegations of abuse.

Penn himself attributed his recent divorce from Leila George to his habit of "alcohol and Ambien at 11 o’clock in the morning."

Ex-girlfriend Charlize Theron has never said why her 2015 relationship with Penn ended, but an unnamed source claimed their break-up came after a drunken fight with Penn left her “completely shaken.”

And Penn’s most infamous relationship, with Queen of Pop Madonna, is said to have ended in 1989 because of horrifying abuse allegations.

Madonna has since denied the abuse, even filing a legal defense of her ex-husband as part of the 2015 $10 million defamation lawsuit Penn filed against filmmaker Lee Daniels for remarking on the allegations.

And Madonna has frequently called Penn the love of her life, as recently as 2016.

But police reports and comments from officers who handled the case differ from Madonna’s present-day account—as does her own song about it, for that matter.

Penn's legendarily volatile temper doesn't help his image either—nor do his recent comments on things like the #MeToo movement and modern masculinity.

Ultimately, nobody knows what’s going on with Penn and Wright’s relationship—if there even is one—except the two of them. 

But a reconciliation would certainly be surprising. Penn sure seems to have a hold on his exes, for better or worse.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.