It’s been a year of change for actor Sean Penn. Not only did his marriage to Robin Wright come to an end, but the Oscar-winner has left Hollywood and taken up residence in the earthquake-devastated region of Pétionville, Haiti, where he runs a camp for 50,000 displaced survivors.
“I wanted to give back something more to help struggling people, but I didn’t know how best to do it,” the 49-year-old actor tells Vanity Fair. “I was for 20 years in a relationship with Robin and 18 years with children. I didn’t have time to commit to anything—for real—in places like Iraq, except to denounce the war. But now I’m single. I can lend a hand.”
Of his ex Robin, he says, “She is a ghost to me now. We spent all those years together. … Now she’s just gone.”
Sean adds that he has no plans to leave Haiti, where he works alongside international aid providers and army officials.
“There is no exit for me until there is more life than death…. It’s a reciprocal thing. They have returned to me something I had lost—my humility.”
Sean and Robin are parents to daughter Dylan, 19, and son Hopper, 17.