Time clearly hasn't worked its healing powers on Sean Penn's heart.
In the new issue of Esquire, the two-time Oscar winner opens up about his struggle to come to terms with the end of his marriage to Robin Wright. (The pair wed in 1996 and divorced in 2010; Penn was also married to Madonna from 1985 to 1989.)
"There is no shame in saying that we all want to be loved by someone. As I look back over my life in romance, I don't feel I've ever had that," the Gangster Squad star says. "I have been the only one that was unaware of the fraud in a few of these circumstances blindly."
Although the actor doesn't mention Moneyball star Wright, 46, by name, Penn confesses the couple was forced to acknowledge some uncomfortable facts about their relationship during the drawn-out divorce process.
"When you get divorced, all the truths come out, you sit there and go, 'What the f--- 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," he says. "It can make somebody very bitter and very hard and closed off, but I find it does the opposite to me."
Things took a turn for the worse following Penn's split from Wright: less than one year later, their son Hopper, 19, was involved in a serious skateboarding accident. (The pair are also parents to daughter Dylan, 21.)
"It had already been eight months of divorce and s--t, and raising a kid that's going through the divorce himself, and then this f---ing thing happens . . . it was a tough, tough time," Penn confesses.
When everything else in his life felt bleak, the actor says his Haiti activism helped put things -- including his heartbreak and his son's accident -- into perspective.
"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, and then to see that in fact most of the trauma actually predated the earthquake," the founder of J/P Haitian Relief Organization shares. "You had a country that had 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."