Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins’ split: Was it politics or another man?


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It sure was a shock to learn, just before Christmas, that Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins were breaking up. Since their very brief announcement, the rumor mill has been running wild. A new article by a reporter from The Daily Beast, who has a long history of not-so-pleasant run-ins with the couple, suggests that the split may have been caused by Susan and Tim’s differences of opinion on political issues. Specifically, the report claims that Robbins has been quietly donating campaign money to Republicans (gasp!) while Susan has gone even further to the left. According to this report, even Susan’s own mom was surprised by the breakup.

It was their low-key, under-the-radar, one might even say boring approach to life in the big city that apparently allowed them to separate in the summer with zero publicity. Lenora Tomalin, Susan’s 86-year-old mother, says she was “shocked” when her daughter called last week to tell her about the split a day before the news broke. “It was perfect timing because the press couldn’t do much with it, because of Christmas and all the other news that would be in the forefront,” Tomalin told me over the Christmas weekend.

She recently saw Susan and Tim at a family wedding in New Jersey and says everything seemed normal. “My daughter was a little concerned about my hearing about it otherwise. It has affected me a lot, I’m still dealing with it,” Tomalin told me. “The way she was talking, it was very amicable. Tim is still in the picture because of the kids. I think they’re handling it beautifully. There’s no recrimination of any kind.”

Tomalin roundly dismissed published speculation that the 63-year-old Sarandon has taken up with 31-year-old Jonathan Bricklin, a business partner and co-investor in the Manhattan ping-pong club Spin. “Gracious, no!” Tomalin said, adding that she met Bricklin recently when he and Susan gave her a tour of the establishment. “He’s a gem. He has nothing to do with her other than as a business partner… If she was [seeing Bricklin romantically], Susan would be upfront about it.”

Tomalin added: “I’m fond of Tim even though I had that blowup with him years ago.”

That was back in early 2003, when I was writing The Washington Post’s Reliable Source column and Tomalin gave me an interview in which she identified herself as a staunch Republican and described the tension her political differences had caused between herself, Susan, and Tim. After the item appeared, Tim called her to angrily upbraid her for airing dirty laundry. She said she was devastated. Weeks later, when I ran into Robbins at a party in Los Angeles, he was still steamed—profanely putting me on notice that if I ever wrote about his family again, he would “find” and “hurt” me. Months later, he was still telling anyone who’d listen—like a lunchtime crowd at Washington’s National Press Club—that I am “a sadistic creep who writes, or rather, scratches, his column with his fingers in the dirt.”When it came to politics, Robbins and Sarandon tended to espouse and admonish rather than try to persuade. Either you were enlightened or just weren’t—either ideologically chaste or downright corrupt. “I am not, was not, a big Clinton fan,” Robbins told me back in 2002. “I hear he was a liberal. I hear people described as liberals all the time that I don’t tend to agree with. I think the rise of the Southern Democrats and the Democratic Leadership Council has pushed the definition of what’s a liberal farther and farther to the right.”

…Loyal Dems would undoubtedly be gobsmacked to learn that, if Federal Election Commission records are to be believed, Robbins has not only donated regularly to Democratic candidates over the past 18 years, he also has written checks to conservative Republicans. In the 2006 election cycle, according to public records, the actor gave $5,000 to 10 Republican candidates for the House and Senate—including, most shocking of all, Minnesota’s resident wingnut, Rep. Michele Bachmann. Why such largesse to the enemy? Former GOP congressman J.D. Hayworth of Arizona, who lost in 2006 despite Robbins’ $500 donation, was baffled and surprised when I reached him over the weekend. “Maybe because I covered the Durham Bulls as a sports broadcaster in the late 1970s and early ’80s? Maybe because I used to frequently rent Bob Roberts back in the ’90s?” Hayworth wondered, mentioning two of Robbins’ starring vehicles. “All I can say is, ‘Thank you!’ I hope he enjoyed the Christmas card.” My efforts to reach Robbins to hear his explanation were unavailing, alas.

[From The Daily Beast]

But other sources are saying that the couple’s breakup was due to Susan’s flourishing relationship with a business partner who is 30 years her junior. Jonathan Bricklin, 31, is reportedly getting “touchy feely” with Sarandon, even though her rep, Jonathan’s rep, and Susan’s mom are all denying it.

Susan Sarandon and long-time lover Tim Robbins announced their split two days before Christmas, with their rep issuing a statement saying they “separated over the summer” and “no further comments will be made.”

Since then Sarandon, 63, has denied she is in a relationship with ping-pong club owner Jonathan Bricklin, 31, as has his rep.

But an inside source close to Bricklin tells Fox411.com that the two are spending a lot of quality time together.

“The way they touch each other, greet each other and spend so much time together, they are far more than friends,” said the source. “They are very comfortable with each other, very touchy-feely. You don’t touch a friend the way Jonathan and Susan do.”

The source, who has seen the two together since Sarandon and Robbins announced their split, added that “Susan looks great…. She’s been extremely busy over the holidays with her kids, the new club and Jonathan. She meets him at the club all the time in the middle of the day.”

The club in question is a new NYC ping-pong club called SPiN, in which they have both reportedly invested money.

Yes, we’ll say it again, a ping-pong club. (Only in New York…)

Anyway, the couple even apparently spent part of the New Year’s holiday together.

“Susan is always around [SPiN], she enjoys being with Jonathan, and they were together over the New Year last week,” said the insider.

While some eyes may widen at the couple’s 32-year age difference, the insider says the two look great together.

“She may be 63, but she is glowing. She hardly wears makeup and she still looks phenomenal,” the pal blabs. “Susan is too gorgeous to be single!”

The source adds that the May-November relationship wasn’t what ended the Sarandon/Robbins romance.

“[Sarandon and Robbins] have been separated for some time,” said the insider. “It was definitely not a rash decision, and Susan and Tim are very protective of all their children, especially their two boys.”

[From Fox News/Hollywood 411]

For a couple like Susan and Tim, who have long been very vocal and passionate about their political views, it makes sense that a change of opinion might be a deal-breaker. It’s too bad, because there are a lot of couples with differing political views who somehow find a way to make it work – look at Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver. Maybe it was a combination of the two? Either way, I doubt that Tim or Susan are ever going to comment about it. But at least they are taking the high road and not talking smack about each other.

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32 Responses to “Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins’ split: Was it politics or another man?”

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  1. LaLaLand says:

    there are a lot of couples with differing political views who somehow find a way to make it work – look at Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver.

    Yes, also James Carville (lib) and Mary Matalin (conserve), so it makes me think politics wasn’t the deciding factor. But who knows except for them and that’s their business.

  2. Cece says:

    How about the fact that not getting married makes the decision much easier. Many couples try harder singe the divorce process is a bit of a pain.

  3. Oi says:

    I’m sorry, maybe I’m not as politically involved/passionate as I should be, but I always find it pretty lame when politics is a relationship breaker. I hope that’s not the case.

    didn’t Kid Rock date Sheryl Crowe as well?

  4. Popcorny says:

    Again, I don’t think she’s seeing this Bricklin guy. I think he’s gay and I think he’s a good friend and business partner.
    The person who’s insinuating it (their being anything more than platonic friends) immediately takes up the “Susan’s still desirable” tact, and that seems to be the motive for the insinuation (and that’s all it is).
    It’s insulting to women, I think, that other’s feel the need to rush to her defense (that she’s “still” attractive/desirable) as if she’s any less desirable/attractive (because she’s older and/or had a breakup).
    Those are the folks highlighting/emphasizing that she’s some how “broken” and feel she needs a condescending/patronizing pat on the head or a high 5 to her sex-parts. It’s degrading.

  5. Shane Gentry says:

    Entirely possible that he contributes to the most extreme members of Congress because he knows those people fire up his own side. The old saying, “Keep your enemies close” makes a lot of sense. No other explanation for him contributing to Michelle Bachmann. She’s nuts.

  6. lio says:

    Why has it to be someone or something ‘s fault? Sometimes, break-up just happen. You don’t know why, you don’t know when but the love story is just over…i think they dealt with it with a lot of class and i wish the tabloid would respect that

  7. prettytarheelfan says:

    If anything, political variations add spice to many relationships. Although it’s great to have activities in common, you aren’t supposed to be your partners clone. For example: My husband is a left-wing Yankee nutjob who thinks Obama’s healthcare plan is much too conservative. I, however, am a rabid Libertarian who feels that the government should defend my borders and stay the eff out of everything else-including, but not limited to: commerce, healthcare, retirement, Detroit, abortion, religion, farming, insurance, etc.
    Consequently, I believe:
    She’s totally banging the younger guy.

  8. Praise St. Angie! says:

    “How about the fact that not getting married makes the decision much easier. Many couples try harder singe the divorce process is a bit of a pain.”

    not likely, considering the divorce rate is over 50%.

  9. BitterBetty says:

    Honestly, I don’t think there was a big dramatic blowout. I think their relationship just ran it’s course. they’re not the kind to stay in it just to be in it, so they went their separate ways.

  10. Goddess711 says:

    Tim Robbins is sounding like a major douchebag. He eminates douchebag to me.

    I’m thinking Susan waited til the kids were old enough and bolted. Robbins sounds like a freak in that description.

  11. danielle says:

    Hmm, whether you are male or female, I think if someone 30 years younger is dating you, it’s likely to be for fame &/or money.

  12. Laura says:

    Remember they’ve been together for decades, when your partner changes something so reflective as your ideology, it makes a difference. If my guy goes conservative, yeah that could change things, only because I’m so ultra liberal – like Susan?

  13. Bam Bam says:

    He sounds normal about the politics, give to both parties, probably chose to donate to those people he personally liked and knew, which is better than blindly giving to one party. I agree the relationship probably ran its course, but as a conservative involved with a liberal, arguments can get pretty heated and damage the relationship.

  14. elvisgrace says:

    Um, am I the only one who thinks it’s kind of messed up that Sarandon’s OWN MOTHER wasn’t told about any of this until one day before the rest of the world, and Sarandon herself couldn’t be bothered to be the one to break the news?

  15. Cinderella says:

    Yeah, Susan’s really going to tell her 86 year-old mother that she’s screwing a young guy.

    I think she’s banging him, too.

  16. EMV says:

    Robbins has always been politically vocal as well as Surandon towards being liberal. I don’t see how this rumor could be true…who cares what broke them up anyway? I doubt politics was it though.

  17. gloaming says:

    “A new article by a reporter from The Daily Beast, who has a long history of not-so-pleasant run-ins with the couple”
    —————————————

    That says it all really…….. It’s just a hit piece.

    The Daily Beast article stating they’ve got different political leanings now and saying they can’t deal with their so-called different opinions, implies that they’re both stupid and immature.

    Something that these two most certainly are not.

    I doubt we’ll ever know the real reason…..
    I’m still gutted they broke up. :-(

  18. hatsumomo says:

    So no matter what comes out about the relaionship, its always going to be spun around to defend Susan’s actions and make Tim the douche? Its reeks of sexism to me and this whole thing disgusts me.

  19. She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named says:

    Thank you Gloaming, it seems like an obvious hit piece to me too. Way to capitalize on a family break-up. And the gossip by Fox News about her being with a younger man, wow, what a shock.

  20. BK1Diva says:

    Thank you LaLaLand….You said it quite eloquently. I love Carvelle and Arnie and Maria really put the icing on the point that it was most likely not politics….”things that make you go hmmmmm”!

  21. Sumodo says:

    I don’t tell my mother SQUAT.

  22. Ally says:

    Oh, eye roll. Robbins donated to those right-wing people (Michele Bachmann? Give me a break, she’s looney-tunes*) so he could get on their mailing lists, and be current on what crazy they were up to.

    * Most recently, she raved about the Census being a big government plot and that people shouldn’t fill it in. Then she finally realized this might lead to her district being wiped off the map, and stopped talking about it. D’oh!

  23. TaylorB says:

    Seems to me they had a pretty good relationship that simply ran its course. But hey 20+ years is nothing to sneeze at.

    As for him donating to republicans, that is not a big deal at all, as others have pointed out either he wanted on mailing lists or he actually liked the candidates themselves, both of which are perfectly acceptable… HOWEVER I do question his donation to Rep Bachman, regardless of party, she is just flat out wackadoodle; I am from MN and personally I would pay NOT to be on her mailing list. She says/does the craziest things, her antics prior to the election were beyond questionable, not the least of which was her claiming that she made her decision to run by fasting for days until ‘god’ came to her and told her to run. Not to mention her shameful display of hanging all over President Bush at the SOTU address was embarassing to even watch, the poor President looked shocked and uncomfortable. She is the perfect example of why voting strictly along party lines whilst paying no attention to the actual candidate at hand can produce some very unfortunate results.

    • PrettyNRedConservative says:

      Who cares why they split. Also to you and others talking about Bachman, take a good long look at that Leftwing Nutjob, Pelosi, aka Botox Nancy aka “We have to pass the Bill to read what’s in it” Yes, she is one really stupid lefty, along with the people who vote for that witch!

  24. Aspen says:

    I seriously doubt anyone would end a decades-long partnership over political donations.

  25. Firestarter says:

    @Aspen, I agree. Also, as hatsumomo mentioned, it seems people want to paint Tim Robbins as the bad one, and not Sarandon, or blame Fox news for reporting on her younger guy, since no other agency has made mention of it. *eye roll*

  26. Misty_* says:

    As @Aspen said, couples don’t end extremely long term relationships for politics. They probably broke up because Susan is doing Bricklin, which is really good for her, because Tim has the reputation of being a jerk and a cheater. I’ve heard Bricklin is rich (not sure, though), so, I don’t think he would need Susan’s money. Even if he did, Susan is just after one adventure, nothing serious, so, his reasons would be highly irrelevant to her. Rich men are used to get young girls to live with them for some time, until thing get sour. When that happens, they just pick another girl and it goes on like this forever. They live the moment. Why can’t women just have fun for the moment too?

  27. lucy2 says:

    @ TaylorB regarding Bachman: “she is just flat out wackadoodle” LOL!!! She really is. I hope her time in public office is up soon.

    If politics are extremely important to someone and they are not open minded to other views, I could see changing ideals being a problem. But in this case, I’m more likely to agree that Tim donated to keep on mailing lists, and that they simply grew apart. Whether or not she’s seeing someone else, who knows. Hopefully it was an amicable split and they’re both happy and remain friendly for their kids’ sake.

  28. Elizabeth McAleer says:

    What ever happened to “for better or worse,in sickness and in health….”, oh that’s right,they never married so walk away..easy and simple.

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