It seems like we've only known Charlize Theron and Sean Penn as a couple for a year or so, but in a new interview with Esquire, the actress explained that their romance has been over 20 years in the making. "I think our friendship stemmed from mutual respect — more on my end, because I really didn’t have a body of work 20 years ago, but my love and passion for making films — that was our common ground," Theron told Esquire. That respect went beyond their art, though. It extended to their humanitarian efforts, and real conversations about how to make the world a better place. "Sean liked to have conversations outside of just making movies. That’s sometimes hard to find among friends here, and that’s where our friendship really blossomed. A lot of people want to tell you the answer to solving all of Africa’s problems from what they’ve seen on CNN. Sean is not that guy." Theron went on to explain that Penn's work in Haiti and her work with AIDS in South Africa gave them a major common ground. Still, romance was never in the cards. "I think that for both of us there was never a moment where we thought that this — what we have today — would ever even be a possibility. Ever ever ever," she told Esquire. "I think we’re both finding ourselves at this moment in our lives kind of shocked. Both of us." Shocked, but quite happy, too. Theron pointed to their solid friendship as the foundation for their partnership. "There’s a foundation of 20 years that the two of us have shared with each other in all these different ways that is really the foundation of something that has brought a lot of beautiful things into my life," she told the magazine. Then, she got straight-up lovey-dovey about Penn. We're talking heart-shaped eyes emoji, here. Just look at what she had to say: "We get so stuck in wanting to predict the future that we forget the moment that we’re in. And, the moment that we’re in is just really good. I love the possibility of anything, but I’m really enjoying myself and the everyday moment and how that coincides with my son and my life and my friends. I’m a very, very, very lucky girl. Very lucky. He’s hot. He is hot. How do you say that in an interview? You’re a 40-year-old woman sounding like a 16-year-old. There’s something beautiful about that, but you lack the articulation of really saying what it’s like when somebody walks into your life and makes you see something that you really never thought you’d be able to see. If somebody had said to me, ‘This is what it will be,’ I would’ve said, ‘Fuck off.’ As you can see, it makes me smile.” Love really is alive and well, guys.