Florence flirts with Sean Penn

Did Sean Penn learn nothing from those tempestuous years with Madonna back in the last century? Does he really want to be back in a relationship with a preposterous singer with a highly-developed sense of her own importance?

The answer, it seems would be a yes, judging by Penn’s frankly undignified flirting with Florence Welch. Penn ran into Florence without her Machine at a Gucci Art event in Los Angeles recently, and seems to have been smitten.

Penn wears his 52 years fairly overtly, but seemed like a teenager with a crush as he chatted intimately with the newly-single singer who is exactly half his age. "Sean was flirting with her all evening and they got along like a house on fire," said one of those insiders who are always ready to oblige when the Daily Mail is looking for a quote.

Penn is obviously in the market for a target for his affections, especially now that his ex Scarlett Johansson appears to be dating Leonardo Di Caprio. Florence recently split from her boyfriend James Nesbitt (not the famous one).

Penn married Madonna in 1985, although the relationship was always a volatile one, with Penn often lashing out at the paparazzi who pursued the couple. Penn was charged with domestic assault against Madonna, which he pleaded down to a misdemeanour. The couple divorced in 1989.

Florence and the Machine have become one of the biggest British acts in America in recent years, winning a Grammy nomination for Best New Act in 2011.Last year’s Ceremonials album debuted at number six in the Billboard chart.

A relationship with Penn might cause consternation in the British press, who love to hate the actor and ridicule his political posturing. It’s unlikely that Penn’s flirtatious banter with Florence would have touched on the topic of the Falkland Islands. Penn was recently highly critical of what he described at Britain’s "colonialist attitudes".

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