The gospel-inspired title track and female empowerment ballad “Express Yourself” perfectly describes Madonna’s album, Like a Prayer. But specific parts of the album claim to explore Madonna’s failing relationship with actor Sean Penn, whom she divorced while making the album. “Till Death Do Us Part,” a soul-baring, frantic song disguised as a cheerful pop song, is one of these tracks. It reveals her at her most vulnerable and reflective.

For the first time in 2017, Madonna came out publicly against Penn’s history of abuse allegations. She insisted that while her relationship with the notoriously hot-tempered actor was rocky, he never hit her.

“I am aware of the allegations that have surfaced over the years accusing Sean of incidents of physical assault and abuse against me,” Madonna stated in her amended complaint.

“Specifically, I am aware of the allegations concerning an alleged incident that occurred in June 1987, whereby Sean allegedly struck me with a ‘baseball bat.’ I know the allegations in those and other reports to be completely outrageous, malicious, reckless, and false,” she added.

“I am also aware of allegations concerning an incident that occurred in December 1989, which purportedly resulted in Sean’s arrest for domestic assault and battery against me. I know those allegations to be false. While we certainly had more than one heated argument during our marriage, Sean has never struck me, ‘tied me up,’ or physically assaulted me, and any report to the contrary is completely outrageous, malicious, reckless, and false,” she continued.

Penn first met Madonna on the set of her video for “Material Girl,” and the two married in 1985. If her lovey-dovey 1986 album True Blue, named after Penn’s favorite expression, is any indication, the first year of their marriage was blissful. In the album’s liner notes, Madonna stated, “This is dedicated to my husband, the coolest guy in the universe.” However, things became problematic not long after its release.

In recent years, Madonna and Penn have been getting along well. The two have been seen together on many occasions.