Penn: Robin Is 'a Ghost to Me'

Actor opens up about his work in Haiti
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 3, 2010 10:52 AM CDT
Penn: Robin Is 'a Ghost to Me'
Sean Penn carries the belongings of a person displaced by the earthquake as people are relocated from the Petionville Golf Club to a new camp in Port-au-Prince, April 10, 2010.   (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

For the past five months—with only brief breaks for fundraising, testifying on Capitol Hill, and of course attending the Oscars—Sean Penn has lived in a tent camp in Haiti. Douglas Brinkley, who volunteered with Penn in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, talks to him about his experience for Vanity Fair:

  • On Robin Wright: “She is a ghost to me now.”

  • Why he went to Haiti now: “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.”
  • How long he’ll stay: “There is no exit for me until there is more life than death. I can always see light in any situation. But I can see the light very clearly in terms of the ‘big picture’ for Haiti.”
  • The people of Haiti: “There is a strength of character in the people who have, by and large, never experienced comfort. That’s exactly the character that our Main Street culture lacks and needs in the United States. They have returned to me something I had lost—my humility.”
(Read more Sean Penn stories.)

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