June 1987, Madonna was rushed to the Cedars Sinai hospital for an X-ray after her then-husband—Sean Penn hit her across the head with a baseball bat. At the time, they had been having a heart-to-heart talk about reconciling.
Madonna did not make an official complaint because Penn was about to serve a short jail term for attacking a film extra and violating the probation he’d been given for punching a fan. It was a decision she would come to regret. In the late afternoon of December 28, 1988, Penn scaled the wall surrounding the Malibu house and found Madonna alone in the master bedroom.
According to a report filed by Madonna with the Malibu sheriff’s office, the two began to quarrel. Penn told her he owned her “lock, stock and barrel”. When she told him she was leaving the house, he tried to bind her hands with an electric cord. Screaming and afraid, Madonna fled from the bedroom. Penn chased her into the living room, caught her and bound her to a chair with heavy twine. Then he threatened to shave her hair. Penn was “drinking liquor straight from the bottle” and the abuse went on for nine hours, during which he smacked and forced Madonna to perform a “degrading sex act” on him.
He went out to buy more alcohol, leaving Madonna bound and gagged. Some hours later, he returned and continued his attacks, then finally untied her. Madonna then fled the house and ran to her car. Penn ran after her and was banging on the windows of her Thunderbird while she spoke to police on her mobile phone. Fifteen minutes later, she staggered into the sheriff’s office.