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How Sean Penn Says He "F--ked Up" His Marriage to Leila George

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Sean Penn revealed a mystic river of regrets he has from his brief marriage to Leila George.

The Gaslit actor opened up in a recent interview with Hollywood Authentic published April 9.

"There's a woman who I'm so in love with, Leila George, who I only see on a day-to-day basis now, because I f--ked up the marriage," Penn said. "We were married technically for one year, but for five years, I was a very neglectful guy."

After being married for a little over a year, Penn and George filed for divorce in October 2021. They dated for four years before tying the knot in July 2020. Penn described the wedding as a "COVID wedding" during an interview on Late Night With Seth Meyers, explaining that the "I do"s happened over Zoom.

During their marriage, Penn shared, he started to prioritize news from the outside world above his home life, telling Hollywood Authentic, "I was not a fucking cheat or any of that obvious shit, but I allowed myself to think that my place in so many other things was so important. And that included my place in being totally depressed and driven to alcohol and Ambien at 11 o'clock in the morning, by watching the news, by watching the Trump era, by watching it and just despairing."

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He also noted the significant age difference as a cause of trouble. Penn, who is 61, and George, who is 30, had different daily routines. Penn said that his routine was more somber and involved the use of substances early in the day.

"[women] don't actually love it when they get up from their peaceful night's sleep and their new husband is on the couch, having been up since 4, watching all of the crap that's going on in the world and has decided that 10:30 in the morning is a good time to neck a double vodka tonic and an Ambien and say, ‘Good morning, honey. I'm going to pass out for a few hours and get away from all this shit,'" he said.

Sean Penn, Leila George
Michael Kovac/Getty Images

Despite his mistakes, Penn said that he's turning a new leaf and putting family, friends and his partner first. For him, it starts by unplugging from the outside world.

"If I'm with my wife for a day, I don't have my phone on, even though I'm juggling a lot of things," he said. "I don't juggle them better by taking more calls. I can have my phone off and not watch the news for 12 hours now."

He added, "Now I think about my end, its impact on friends and family."

Before George, Penn was married to House of Cards actress Robin Wright, with whom he shares daughter Dylan Frances Penn, 30, and son Hopper Jack Penn, 28. He was also previously married to Madonna for four years until 1989.

He said of his recent vodka and Ambien intake, "I don't use them to hide from the world like I used to. I've learned not to let everything overlap with me anymore."

Penn still holds regret for allowing his commitment to outside causes and attention to the Trump administration create a bridge between him and George. Hollywood Authentic shared that he visited George during the interview, adding that he's "still very fond" of her. Though they are separated, he still looks up to her for having such an impact on his life.

Sean Penn, Leila George
Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

"I don't know what's going to happen with us," Penn said, "but I know that this is my best friend in the world and definitely the most influential, inspiring person, outside of my own blood, that anybody could ask to have in their life."

His divorce settlement with George was filed on March 15, 2022, according to a court docket obtained by E! News. The judge has six months to review the judgment and sign off to make the divorce final.

E! News reached out to George's rep for comment but did not hear back.

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