After ending their two-year relationship last summer, the actors avoided one another at Cannes

By Peter Mikelbank and Dave Quinn
Updated December 08, 2020 02:02 PM
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Credit: Joel Ryan/AP; Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock

After ending their two-year relationship almost a year ago, exes Charlize Theron and Sean Penn avoided one another while doing press in Cannes for their new movie The Last Face.

“There was no contact between them,” a source tells PEOPLE. “Not a thing.”

“Really, like they’d never met,” the source continued.

Theron, 40, hit the carpet first, smiling in a knee-length pink scalloped dress with matching belt. She accessorized the look with black strappy heels and bright red lips.

Penn, 55, followed later, wearing a casual army-green jacket, black T-shirt, khaki pants and shades.

The two never interacted directly during the press event. “There was always someone in between them – at least one person. It was like they were on two separate orbits,” a source explained.

The distance remained at the film’s press conference – with three actors sitting between Theron and Penn. The two did not acknowledge each other while speaking to reporters.

“[Penn] had on a poker face, and stared straight ahead when [Theron] spoke,” a source said. Theron, meanwhile, looked around when Penn spoke.

“Sort of like watching ice in a freezer,” added the source.

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The couple reunited last summer in Cape Town – more than six weeks after their relationship ended – to reshoot scenes for The Last Face. Penn is directing the film, about the head of an international aid agency in Africa (Theron) who meets a relief aid doctor (Javier Bardem) amid a revolution.

Last year at Cannes, Theron and Penn were the talk of the festival, walking the red carpet together at Theron’s Mad Max: Fury Road premiere.

In March, Theron put the rumors about her breakup to rest, saying any reports that she “ghosted” Penn – aka completely and suddenly cut off all communication – are untrue.

“There is this need to sensationalize things,” Theron told WSJ Magazine. “When you leave a relationship there has to be some f—ing crazy story or some crazy drama. And the f—ing ghosting thing, like literally I still don’t even know what it is.”

“It’s just its own beast. We were in a relationship and then it didn’t work anymore. And we both decided to separate. That’s it,” Theron added.