Elizabeth McGovern Says Being With Sean Penn Was “Exhausting”
Elizabeth McGovern isn’t just one of the very fancy Countess from Downton Abbey – she’s also an actress who has had a really long career that began in the 80s. I’m pretty sure that almost all actors from the 1980s have a story about Sean Penn, in one way or another (Sean Penn did all my coke, Sean Penn stole my car while high on coke, Sean Penn borrowed my favorite leather jacket from the backseat of my car after he stole it and returned it without a single ounce of coke in the pockets). But Elizabeth has many stories because they dated for a while. The biggest takeaway from dating Sean Penn? It’s that Elizabeth probably needed several weekends at a spa after it was all done because she was tired.
Elizabeth McGovern and Sean Penn are around the same age (he’s one year older) and they both got together in their very early 20s after filming Racing with the Moon in 1984. She tells The Daily Mail that she liked dating Sean in the beginning because it was fun and was her first real experience with dating. They eventually got engaged. But that very quickly she realized that it wasn’t meant to be and that Sean kind of came on pretty strong and overwhelmed. via Entertainment Tonight:
“There’s a road I could have taken, but I decided to call it off. It just felt like we were on different tracks,” she explained in an interview with the Daily Mail. “We were only in our early 20s. It would have been nothing short of a miracle had that become a lifelong partnership because we were both really young and figuring out who we were.”
“It was the frenzy of Sean’s feelings that overwhelmed me,” she remembered. “It was also the first real experience of boys I’d had, which was kind of nice. “In the beginning it was fun. We were a similar age and in the same place professionally, so we were experiencing everything together.”
But then things sadly turned, when Elizabeth realized she didn’t have the stamina to keep up with being Sean Penn’s girlfriend. That characterization feels a little off, because Sean Penn has kind of branded himself as this laid-back, low-maintenance, too cool for Hollywood kind of guy. According to Elizabeth, that whole vibe might be just a bit of an act.
McGovern added, “It was so exhausting, I couldn’t sustain it. We also wanted to do different things. He likes to pretend he’s not really a Hollywood person, but he is.”
Sean Penn went on to date and marry Madonna right after he split from Elizabeth McGovern (and we all know how that allegedly turned out). Elizabeth met and married British film producer Simon Curtis and went to live in London. They’re still married.
Essentially, it sounds like Elizabeth McGovern and Sean Penn ended because they couldn’t match each other’s energy, due to the fact that he was very into being Famous Young Actor Sean Penn and she wasn’t really buying into the whole huge Hollywood star thing. Kind of her to clear things up! But she really didn’t have to elaborate much after that. She could have said, “Being with Sean Penn was…” and anyone within earshot who is familiar with Sean Penn would probably immediately cut her off and ask, “Exhausting? A headache? Too much? All of the above?”