Johansson in the May issue of Vogue (Mario Testino/VOGUE)
They seemed like a picture-perfect couple when they gathered their closest friends and families for their intimate wedding which took place at a remote wilderness retreat outside of Reynold's native Vancouver, B.C., in September 2008. But just two years later, as the couple road tripped through Europe between projects, Johansson says she was distracted. "It was nice, but at the same time, I was like, 'What am I going to do with myself?'" she tells the magazine. "I don't know. I was waiting." She describes the period as "a hard time ... I was feeling very out of my own skin."
A few short months later — in December 2010 — their relationship was over as they shared their separation announcement with the press. Johansson says the split was "comically amicable," but it still hurt. "It was horrible. Of course it's horrible. It was devastating. It really throws you. You think that your life is going to be one way, and then, for various reasons or whatever, it doesn't work out. This was something I never thought I would be doing. And there's no way to navigate it. Nobody can give you the right answer. It's never anything you want to hear. It's a very lonely thing. It's like the loneliest thing you'll ever do, in some way."
The actress — who will next be seen in "The Avengers," which hits theaters in May — says she has no regrets about marrying Reynolds, who is now dating "Gossip Girl" star Blake Lively. "It was a beautiful thing," Johansson says. "The falling in love and getting married and making that commitment … I think it's nice to know that you're capable of loving somebody in that way. I think it's a rare opportunity." And she's still recovering from the painfulness of the split. "I don't feel on the other side of it completely, but it gets better. It's still there. More than anything, it's just that not having your buddy around all the time is weird. There's no rule book. I think it's just time."
Just months after calling it quits with Reynolds, Johansson again made headlines for her personal life — this time for her May-December romance with Sean Penn, who is 24 years her senior. She was photographed playing footsie with him over lunch, there was a trip to Cabo, and they were photographed holding hands following the White House Correspondents Dinner. "We spent time together, yeah," she coyly tells the magazine. "I never put a title on it, really, but we were seeing each other… He's a remarkable person. He really is."
These days the man in her life is not a guy whose name has appeared in lights. In late January she was photographed arm in arm with New York—based advertising creative director Nate Naylor. A few months into their relationship now, he is getting used to dating a celebrity. "It must be very strange for him. It's totally bizarre. It's an adjustment — I mean, it's got to be an adjustment for him way more than it was for me at 19," she says, referring to the age when she became famous. "But he's really remarkably good about it."
Read more about Scarlett in the May issue of Vogue.
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