Madonna has come to the defense of her ex-husband Sean Penn, who filed a defamation lawsuit against Empire co-creator and filmmaker Lee Daniels, stemming from a quote that allegedly implied Penn hit women. According to The Hollywood Reporter, on Thursday, Penn amended the initial complaint to include Madonna's declaration that Penn never hit her during their relationship.
"I am aware of the allegations that have surfaced over the years accusing Sean of incidents of physical assault and abuse against me," Madonna's declaration states. It specifically denies allegations that Penn struck her with a baseball bat in 1987 and declares false a December 1989 incident "which purportedly resulted in Sean's arrest for domestic assault and battery against me."
The pop star, who was married to Penn from 1985 to 1989, contends that while the former couple had "more than one heated argument" while married, "Sean has never struck me, 'tied me up,' or physically assaulted me, and any report to the contrary is completely outrageous, malicious, reckless and false."
Penn's suit stems from a THR interview with Daniels in September, where he appeared to defend Empire's leading man, Terrence Howard, regarding media reports of domestic abuse. "[Terrence] ain't done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn, and all of a sudden he's some fuckin' demon," Daniels said. "That's a sign of the time, of race, of what we are right now in America."
The $10 million lawsuit alleges that Penn was falsely accused of hitting women via the quote, which appeared to liken him to Howard.
In September, Howard told Rolling Stone that he had "slapped" his first wife, Lori McCommas, and added that "her lawyer said it was a closed fist, but even slapping her was wrong." He also discussed a 2013 incident in Costa Rica with second wife Michelle Ghent. "She was trying to Mace me," he said. "And you can't see anything so all you can do is try to bat somebody away, and I think that something caught her. But I wasn't trying to hit her."