Best known for his serious roles and political activism, Sean Penn has been making headlines for his love life more than his movies lately.
The Oscar winning actor went public in July with a new, young mystery girl in July on a Malibu beach, a sexy brunette who some media outlets initially misidentified as Stacey Koplin.
Now Star magazine has exclusively revealed the woman in question is actually 26-year-old Shannon Costello, an aspiring actress and producer from Seattle who first met Penn,51, at a Los Angeles event party in the fall of 2009.
At the time, the Mystic River actor’s wife, Robin Wright, had filed papers to end their 13-year marriage, but the divorce wasn’t finalized until July 2010.
“There was an attraction between Sean and Shannon when they first met, but it was too soon after the break-up of his marriage, and her parents didn’t approve at the time,” an insider told Star.
Ironically, Shannon’s new boyfriend is already friends with her uncle, outdoors writer Jon Krakauer, who wrote the bestseller Into The Wild, which Sean directed in the 2007 film version of the book.
After Shannon met Penn, she began working as a spokesperson for the J/P Haitian Relief Organization, whom Penn is affiliated with, but a source tells Stars that their romantic relationship didn’t blossom until her contract with the organization ended because it would have been inappropriate.
Now everything is above board, the Milk star has met his new love’s parents, the insider told Star, and they finally approve.
Penn had a whirlwind relationship with actress Scarlett Johansson following her split from husband Ryan Reynolds, but the couple broke up in June.
For the full story, read the new issue of Star magazine — on newsstands now.