Sean Penn is one intense dude. He’s an amazing actor … sort of scary and also incredibly awesome. In the January issue of Esquire, he candidly discusses love, his son’s life-threatening accident, his mission in Haiti … and how the three are linked.
For better or worse, Sean is an original. He’s not a pretty boy and he doesn’t seem to have a light-hearted bone in his body. He’s been nominated for five Best Actor Academy Awards and won twice. He was Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. He allegedly hit Madonna over the head with a baseball bat. He married Buttercup. And he’s basically the patron saint of Haiti.
In Esquire Magazine’s recurring feature “What I’ve Learned,” which provides words of wisdom from prominent figures, including actors, writers, politicians, and scientists, as well as regular people, Sean’s version is characteristically intense.
He makes an interesting connection between his ugly split from actress Robin Wright Penn, an injury sustained by their son, and his passion for relief work in Haiti. While going through his divorce with Robin, their teenage son was involved in an accident in which he nearly died. Following their son’s recovery, Sean felt empty.
“I don’t have anything. My daughter’s eighteen and she’s doing her thing, my son’s with his mother. So I turned on the TV and there was this earthquake in Haiti.”
As everyone knows, Sean didn’t just dick around and answer phones at a fundraiser. He went to Haiti and co-founded a relief organization, which has operated a 55,000 person tent camp since that time.
“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.”
In the article, he goes on to wax cynically poetic about love, claiming that he has never truly been loved. That kind of statement can seem a bit childish and self-serving, but it’s also quite charmingly disarming to hear such a badass talk openly about his feelings.
“There is no shame in saying that we all want to be loved by someone … I don’t feel I’ve ever had that.”
While Sean may not believe that he has experienced love, he has definitely not been lacking in the pussy department. Since splitting with Robin, he has had relationships with model Petra Nemcova and sexpot actress Scarlett Johansson, amongst others.
Overall, Sean seems angry and grumpy and he’s shrinking into a slightly troll-y old man version of himself … but for some reason, I am still in love with him. While it’s nice that he channeled his frustration and hurt into aid for the people of Haiti … more than nice, it’s remarkable, inspiring, and amazing … it’s clear to me that he will not be truly healed until he gets back together with Madonna.