Kate del Castillo’s brush with El Chapo and Sean Penn: a story of risk and betrayal

Discover the untold story of Kate del Castillo's encounter with El Chapo Guzmán and the betrayal by Sean Penn that followed. Learn how the Mexican actress navigated the dangerous situation and her ongoing efforts to continue bringing productions to her home country.
  1. The 2015 interview between Kate del Castillo, Sean Penn, and notorious Mexican drug lord El Chapo Guzmán sparked international headlines and criticism against Penn.
  2. The encounter was marked by betrayal, as Penn’s article in Rolling Stone put del Castillo’s life in danger, and she felt used by both El Chapo and Penn.
  3. Despite the trauma and fear she experienced, del Castillo continues to visit her home country of Mexico and remains determined to bring other productions to the country.

It was in 2015 when Kate del Castillo and Sean Penn made international headlines for interviewing Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán Loera -a well-known Mexican drug lord who is currently serving a sentence in a high-security prison in the United States- when he was a fugitive from justice. The information released by the U.S. actor in Rolling Stone went around the world, unleashing endless criticism against him.

Undoubtedly, this scandal marked the Mexican artist, who until then had only faced controversy for her love life. In fact, when the information transcended, nobody imagined a sentimental bond between the actors; it has been Kate del Castillo herself who, over the years, has uncovered the background of everything she lived with whom she considers a traitor.

With the six-part series, Kate debuts as an executive producer associated with her home "Cholawood" (Photo: ViX+)
With the six-part series, Kate debuts as an executive producer associated with her home “Cholawood” (Photo: ViX+)

The protagonists of this story met years before their encounter with El Chapo, supposedly thanks to Damián Bichir, because in a meeting they had when they were a couple, they coincided with Sean Penn, who was already known to the Mexican actor. At first, they only greeted each other since the American married Robin Wright.

I think there was a certain admiration and, dare I say it, also by him for me. We got along very, very, very well. We talked for hours and hours, he came to my house several times. We cried together. We laughed together, we got drunk together,” she said in an interview with Adela Micha.

Sean Penn would have hung the medal for having interviewed El Chapo and collaborating with the US government for his arrest. (Photo: Earl Gibson / HFPA/© HFPA/Handout via REUTERS)
Sean Penn would have hung the medal for interviewing El Chapo and collaborating with the US government for his arrest. (Photo: Earl Gibson / HFPA/© HFPA/Handout via REUTERS)

During those years, Kate began to receive mysterious emails from none other than Chapo’s lawyers. According to what the star of La Reina del Sur told in an article she published in 2016 in Proceso:

As an actress and filmmaker I have always looked for interesting, fascinating projects, challenges to get out of my comfort zone. That’s why I couldn’t say ‘No’. That’s why I decided to answer an email and say ‘I accept’.

Kate del Castillo

After tweeting an analysis about drug trafficking in Mexico, those close to the drug lord sought a way to contact her to collaborate on a project that could put her life at risk not only because she would be interviewing him personally but also because Penn would later betray her in her article for Rolling Stone.

They knew very well how to do things and cover themselves. They were working for the American government, so there is nothing I can do or say that this gentleman not only used me as bait but that he did not protect me and put me in danger. He put my life at risk in every way,” she said in an interview with Javier Poza about why her legal process against Sean Penn did not proceed.

The meeting happened thanks to the communication that Chapo's lawyers established with Kate. (Photo File)
The meeting happened thanks to Chapo’s lawyers’ communication with Kate. (Photo File)

And the fact is that Kate del Castillo not only exploded against Sean Penn for putting her at risk to “look good” with the U.S. government when she revealed Chapo’s location but also because he would have used her in other ways:

He betrayed me. He can go to sleep peacefully because I wouldn’t give a fifth for that person. He tricked me, he got into my bed, in other words, there were a lot of things that make you say ‘How deplorable,’ in other words, a deplorable person“, she commented to journalist María Antonieta Collins.

Kate del Castillo lived a nightmare after meeting with "El Chapo" Guzmán (Photo: NBC Screenshot)
Kate del Castillo lived a nightmare after meeting with “El Chapo” Guzmán (Photo: NBC Screenshot)

The star of La ingobernable assured, in an interview with Javier Poza, that after what happened, she has no relationship with Madonna’s ex-husband and hopes never to hear from him: “He left my life. I never wanted to answer his phone again, I blocked him everywhere. I’m not interested in hearing from him at all”.

Regarding the constant fear she has experienced every time she visits Mexico since she interviewed the drug lord, she told María Antonieta Collins: “I’m not going to lie to you. Every time I go in, I get nervous because they were very traumatic moments for me. But every time I go back to Mexico, it’s my home, my country, where I’m from, and I’m not going to stop going to Mexico and, even more so, bringing productions.”