She even left movies for a while to take care of her kids, while Penn continued working.
Forrest Gump actress Robin Wright was just 20 years old when she married her Santa Barbara co-star, Dane Witherspoon. Even though their's was a young and passionate romance it wasn't meant to last for too long. While Wright moved on to movies with her newfound fame from soap operas, Witherspoon dreamed of making movies or leaving behind Hollywood dreams forever, and within two years, they were divorced, as per Pens and Patrons.
However, the filming of the movie State of Grace in 1990 introduced the actress to the swooning Sean Penn who had recently been divorced from singer Madonna. The two found themselves falling for each other right away, unaware that heading into a relationship right after a heartbreak could not be the wisest decision after all.
With the passing time, their relationship got stronger but Wright hadn't made her place in the industry as strongly as Penn. Once she moved in with the star, Wright found herself pregnant with their first child which further set back her career in films. Their daughter, Dylan Frances Penn, was born in 1991. Wright was just 24 then. By 1993, she was a mother to two sons, Hopper Jack and Jack Nicholson. Wanting to give her children an identity, the young actress married Penn in 1996 and took his name.
Talking to Vanity Fair in 2015, the actress recalled, "I was pregnant and ostensibly married at 24. I [changed my name] really for my children because we'd had kids before we married, and I thought that we should all have the same name. That's traditional."
Even though she was getting offers from different directors, she chose to stay at home and look after her and Penn's children. “We were learning as we were going along. We agreed as parents that we’d not work at the same time, so that one of us was always with the kids. He was making more money than I was at the time, so it was a simple decision: ‘You go work—I’ll stay with the kids.’”
It's not like Wright didn't work at all. She starred with Penn in a number of movies like Crossing Guard, and She’s So Lovely but when the cameras weren't rolling, they were struggling to keep their on-screen chemistry off-screen as well. But Wright was trying to be a full-time mom and rejected roles that were being conceptualized with her. “I turned down so many films because I wanted to be a mom that…they stopped offering," she said as per Redbook.
They even tried escaping the glamorous life of L.A. to work on their crumbling relationship. They settled down in Bay Area but by 2007, Wright was done with holding on to the last strings of her marriage and filed for a divorce. Four months later she surprisingly withdrew her petition, leaving their 11-year-old marriage tainted with the mark of failure forever.
When Penn accepted his Academy award for Milk in 2009 and did not mention Wright in the acceptance speech even once, it sparked questions of trouble in paradise once again. Right after the incident, Penn filed for a divorce but the couple reconciled after a few months... again. Their reunion lasted only for a few months more and then Wright filed another petition for divorce, this time she dropped the "Penn" from her last name.
Their 20-year-old relationship came to an end in July 2010. Talking about the pain of going through a divorce, Wright told The Telegraph in 2014, “Divorce in and of itself, and with children, is devastating. Worse than that. One of the reasons why we got back together and broke up so much was trying to keep the family together." Stating further that her kids were the main reason she stayed with Penn, she added, "If you’ve got kids, it’s a family, and you try again, and you try again. We did that for a long time.”
Recalling her marriage once again in 2015, “I believe we were together not only to have our beautiful children but to learn how to love … for the next time around, the right way."