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Charlize Theron and Sean Penn split

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They surprised everyone – including themselves – when their 18-year friendship turned into a romance. Now after becoming one of Hollywood's most talked about power couples, Charlize Theron and Sean Penn have apparently broken up.

According to US Weekly, the statuesque blonde called off their engagement after spending time with her partner in Cannes. Other US news outlets then began to report the split.

sean penn 1 © Photo: Getty Images

Sean Penn and Charlize Theron in Cannes

One of their final appearances together was on the red carpet in Cannes. A few days later the duo were seen deep in conversation with his arm wrapped round her.

It had seemed that the relationship, which began around December 2013, was rock solid. They quickly became inseparable and he seemed to dote on her adopted son Jackson. The 54-year-old had even reportedly filed papers to adopt three-year-old Jackson himself.

sean penn 2 © Photo: Getty Images

Sean Penn and Charlize Theron seemed as close as ever in Vienna

In an interview in April, Charlize said: "I'm a very, very, very lucky girl. Very lucky. He's hot."

The 39-year-old actress then joked: "How do you say that in an interview? You’re a forty-year-old woman sounding like a sixteen-year-old."

"I think we’re both finding ourselves at this moment in our lives kind of shocked. Both of us. It is nice to be in something where the friendship came first".

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He had reportedly filed papers to adopt Jackson

Sean, who was married twice before and has two children of his own, has never confirmed the engagement but he talked extensively about what it would mean to marry again.

He told Esquire magazine: "I wouldn't even consider it a third marriage, I’d consider it a first marriage on its own terms if I got married again. I mean, I like the tradition. A friend of mine wrote a line, "Without tradition, new things die." And I don’t want new things to die."