Sean Penn Denies Abusing Ex Madonna: ‘She’s Someone I Love’

5th Annual Sean Penn & Friends HELP HAITI HOME Gala Benefiting J/P Haitian Relief Organization - Arrivals

Madonna and Sean Penn.
(Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage via Getty Images)

Sean Penn denies ever hitting ex-wife Madonna with a baseball bat during their four-year marriage.

“I had a freaking SWAT team come into my house,” Penn told The New York Times in an interview published on Saturday, June 22, adding that Madonna had told police she was worried about guns in the house. “I said: ‘I’m not coming out. I’m going to finish my breakfast.’ The next thing I knew, windows were being broken all around the house and they came in.”

He added, “They had me in handcuffs.”

Despite their tumultuous marriage and eventual divorce, Penn still has a soft spot for his first wife. “She’s someone I love,” he told NYT. “It turns out it’s a lot quicker to repair a friendship after divorce if there are not kids involved. It took [ex-wife Robin Wright] and I quite a while. There was a lot of drama. Much more important to repair it if there are kids involved, but no easy swing, right?”

Sean Penn's Controversies Through the Years feature

Related: Sean Penn’s Controversies Through the Years: Legal Issues and More

Sean Penn is no stranger to drama, both on and off the screen. In addition to his career as an Oscar-winning actor and his relationships with A-listers including Madonna, Robin Wright and Charlize Theron, Penn has made headlines through the years for controversial behavior and comments. Keep scrolling to for a look back at Penn’s […]

Penn, 63, and Madonna, 65, were married from 1985 to 1989, though the “Like a Virgin” singer first filed for divorce from Penn in 1987, though she withdrew the papers before filing again two years later. Both times Madonna filed the paperwork, reports circulated alleging that Penn had not only physically assaulted the pop star, including beating her with a baseball bat, but tied her to a chair for hours.

Madonna, however, has denied that there was ever physical abuse in her marriage to Penn.

“While we certainly had more than one heated argument during our marriage, Sean has never struck me, ‘tied me up,’ or physically assaulted me, and any report to the contrary is completely outrageous, malicious, reckless, and false,” she wrote in a 2015 statement while testifying on Penn’s behalf in a defamation lawsuit against Lee Daniels.

The actor had filed a $10 million lawsuit against Daniels at the time after the Empire creator referred to Penn when discussing domestic violence in Hollywood. (Daniels was defending Empire star Terrance Howard, who had admitted to hitting his first wife Lori McCommas in a 2015 interview with Rolling Stone.) The lawsuit was settled in 2016.

“Not only did we win the case, but Daniels wrote a public letter and he had to contribute to CORE,” Penn said to NYT. (CORE, which stands for Community Organized Relief Effort, was cofounded by Penn and Ann Lee in 2010.)

Penn has three ex-wives, finalizing his divorce from Leila Goerge in April 2022, as confirmed by Us Weekly. With regards to his romantic future, Penn told The New York Times that he is “thrilled every day” to no longer be in a serious relationship.

“I’m just free,” he said. “If I’m going to be in a relationship, I’m still going to be free, or I’m not going to be in it, and I’m not going to be hurting. I don’t sense I’ll have my heart broken by romance again.”

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