Mexican actress Kate del Castillo says she had sex with Sean Penn after they secretly met with international drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman in Mexico in 2015. The claim comes after the Oscar winner tried to block her three-part Netflix documentary series, The Day I Met El Chapo: The Kate del Castillo Story.
“It was never a relationship,” del Castillo tells PEOPLE. “It was just business. And sex.”
In the series, the actress is seen telling a friend that she “fell” for Penn during their time together.
The Mystic River star has taken issue with the documentary, which tells her side of the story behind the controversial meeting. The New York Times reported that a lawyer for Penn sent a letter to Netflix saying “that blood will be on their hands if this film causes bodily harm.”
Penn’s spokesman Mark Fabiani told PEOPLE, “This is not about one person’s safety. These producers are propagating false and reckless fabrications for their profit. This is nothing but a cheap, National Enquirer-esque tale spun by a delusional person whose hunger for fame is both tawdry and transparent.”
But the actress, 44, insists the documentary “is not at all about Sean or my feud with him” — it’s just about her truth. “I just want people to know why I did what I did.”
“There’s a reason why I did this,” del Castillo adds. “I’m an actress and I’m a producer and I’m a storyteller and I am always trying to look out for great stories to tell. And this is a fascinating story. I risked my life for it but I never did anything illegal.”
Del Castillo and Penn’s meeting with Guzmán, who was a fugitive at the time, ignited a media frenzy after Rolling Stone published a 10,000-word first-person narrative of the experience written by Penn a few days before Guzmán was found and captured by the authorities. Critics railed that Penn, an actor, was not a suitable person to report on such a sensitive and complicated story and that the publisher delegitimized the piece by allowing Guzmán to sign off on the final version.
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The actress, who began interacting with Guzmán in 2012 by tweeting, “Today I believe more in El Chapo Guzmán than I do in the governments that hide truths from me, even if they are painful, who hide the cures for cancer, aids, etc., for their own benefit,” was criticized for sympathizing with a dangerous drug trafficker.
She claims that Penn had watched the documentary and wasn’t happy about it, but that he took too long to voice any concerns about the series.
“He was not happy about it but he had the chance,” she says. “We reached out to him many times and he ignored us. Now he wants to be a part of it and it’s too late. I think he should do his own documentary of himself.”
The Day I Met El Chapo: The Kate del Castillo Story debuts on Netflix Friday.