And that actually made things difficult when he directed her in an upcoming movie

Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

Just a few months after Sean Penn referred to Charlize Theron as "the love of my life", she has said the same of him – in the context of the challenges they faced making a movie together.

Penn, 54, directed Theron, 39, in the upcoming film The Last Face. And she tells British Elle‘s June issue that in many ways it was a trying time.

“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,” she says.

“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.”

The Oscar winners have been dating for more than a year, and Theron recently told Esquire that she felt like a “very, very lucky girl,” adding, “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.”

This winter, when a reporter from France’s Le Parisien asked Penn about his “girlfriend,” the actor interjected: “No, no, excuse me, Charlize is not my girlfriend. She’s the love of my life.”

In the Elle interview, Theron also talks about negotiating equal pay in Hollywood, having made headlines doing so this winter for her role in the Snow White and the Huntsman sequel.

“I have to give them credit because once I asked, they said yes. They did not fight it,” she says of the studio. “And maybe that’s the message – that we just need to put our foot down. This is a good time for us to bring this to a place of fairness, and girls need to know that being a feminist is a good thing. It doesn’t mean that you hate men. It means equal rights. If you’re doing the same job, you should be compensated and treated in the same way.”

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