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Madonna: 'Guy Ritchie, Sean Penn encouraged W.E.'

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Madonna at the Venice Film Festival

© PA Images

Madonna has revealed that ex-husbands Guy Ritchie and Sean Penn provided encouragement and inspiration for her new film W.E.

The romantic drama, which premiered this week at the Venice Film Festival, follows the affair between King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, and a contemporary relationship between the married Wally Winthrop and Russian security guard Evgeni.

At a festival panel promoting the film, Madonna explained Ritchie and Penn's influence on her latest directorial work, reports Reuters.

"I am and was attracted to very creative people, which is why I married Sean Penn and Guy Ritchie, two very talented directors," she said.

"They both encouraged me as a director and as a creative person to do what I did, and they were both very supportive."

Madonna added that she particularly identifies with Wallis Simpson's character, as she feels that they have a lot in common.

"I identified with her in that I think it's very common when people become celebrities or public figures or icons that we are often reduced to a soundbite and that you're given a few attributes and then you're not allowed to have anything more than that," she explained.

W.E. has divided film critics, with several describing the project as "bold", while others have deemed it "extraordinarily silly".

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