Sean Penn and Scarlett Johansson are both respectable actors in their own right. Although Penn was acting well before Johansson was, they both made their mark as a prominent lead performer in the mid-90s—for Penn it was the 1995 drama Dead Man Walking, which earned him his first Oscar nomination, and for Johansson it was the 1996 film Manny & Lo, which earned her an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Female Lead. Both Penn and Johansson have since starred in a string of critically-acclaimed films.

Despite having similar career paths, people were still shocked when the news broke in early 2011 that Penn and Johansson were dating. Johansson’s divorce from actor Ryan Reynolds hadn’t even been finalized yet when this new celebrity couple was seen enjoying a romantic vacation in Cabo San Lucas.

Penn’s divorce from his ex-wife, actress Robin Wright, had been finalized a year earlier, and it was rumored that Johansson started pursuing him right away. After only a few months of dating, the celebrity couple called it quits. According to an insider, the relationship didn’t work because she was too clingy and he didn’t want to be tied down and had no interest in a serious relationship.


Even though this celebrity couple wasn’t together for very long, they still received widespread media attention, mostly because of their 24-year age difference. Even Johansson herself was surprised by how much media attention her relationship with Penn received: “In my marriage, funnily enough, we had relative privacy,” the actress said in an interview, adding that having so much attention focused on her new relationship was “a little bit of an adjustment” for her.

Although Penn split with Johansson, he wasn’t quite ready to lose out on having a beautiful, younger woman on his arm. Just a month after they broke up, he started dating 26-year-old Shannon Costello, who was the communications manager for his Haitian Relief Organization. Meanwhile, Johansson moved on with someone a litter closer in age. The now 28-year-old actress is currently dating 31-year-old creative agency manager Romain Dauriac.


“Scarlett Johansson – Scarlett Johansson: ‘Sean Penn And I Were Together’,” web site;, last accessed July 15, 2013.

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