In the wake of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner's divorce announcement, news of another A-list couple's breakup faded into the background. That's probably how Sean Penn and Charlize Theron preferred it, though, because unlike Affleck and Garner, they chose not release a joint statement to announce their split.
Penn and Theron ended their relationship as quietly as it began.
The exes were last seen together during the Cannes Film Festival in May.
When Penn and Theron flew home, the actor returned to his Malibu mansion, while Theron and her 3-year-old son, Jackson, stayed at her Hollywood home. Before their breakup made headlines, the two backed out of at least one scheduled event together before she flew to London to film The Huntsman.
Reps for the stars have not commented on the split.
The actors have kept a low profile since then. But on Wednesday, Theron, 39, was photographed by the paparazzi for the first time since she broke up with Penn, 54. Wearing a gray sweater and black yoga pants, the Dark Places actress was seen running inside an Arco Gas Station before heading to SoulCycle. Penn, who took his Malibu mansion off the market, has been seen in public several times post-split.
One month before the actors' breakup was revealed, Theron raved about Penn, who directed her in the upcoming film The Last Face. "Putting aside that he's my partner, he's the love of my life; for the first time, I felt that my work was really bleeding into my life, and that made it hard," the Academy Award winner told Elle U.K. "There were moments where I was incredibly unfair to him. And moments where I felt like…he was incredibly unfair to me. But it makes you realize that no matter how complicated it gets, the priority is the relationship." In April, she told Esquire she felt like a "very, very lucky girl," to be dating Penn, with whom she'd been friends for years. "I think that for both of us there was never a moment where we thought that this—what we have today—would ever even be a possibility."
Penn and Theron began dating in December 2013, and the following spring, the Mad Max: Fury Road star opened up about their relationship for the first time in a Vogue cover story. "Sean and I have known each other for 18 years. We were just really good friends. And it's been slow going because you are aware that you could screw that up and lose it," Theron revealed. "We had to think about it. But at the end of the day, it was somewhat effortless. It just kind of naturally happened, and before I knew it, I was in something that was making my life better—the people who really love me can see the effect it has had on me."
Theron also told the magazine she does not want to get married. "Let's put it this way: I never had the dream of the white dress," she said. "And watching other people getting married? I think it's beautiful for them, but to be quite honest, usually I'm sitting there just devastated. It's supposed to be this night of celebrating love, and all you see is a couple separated all night making sure everybody else is OK. It just looks like a lot of work. And as you get older, you start sifting through the stuff that really matters."
A year later, in her Esquire cover story, Theron said her stance had not changed. "The marriage thing is always so strange to me," the actress admitted. "I love the possibility of anything, but I'm really enjoying myself and the everyday moment and how that coincides with my son and my life and my friends."
Three months earlier, however, it was clear that Penn had other ideas. "Yes, I'd get married again," the Oscar-winning Milk actor confessed to Esquire U.K. "I'm in love with a woman and home is where the heart is, right?"
That may have been true then, but it certainly isn't now.