Charlize Theron says working with Sean Penn was part dream, part nightmare.

The pair were first linked late in 2013 and have confirmed that after years of being good friends romance blossomed. However, their relationship was tested when Sean cast Charlize in his directorial effort The Last Face, which was shot in South Africa last year.

"It's a dream but then it's also a nightmare. Putting aside that he's my partner, he's the love of my life; for the first time I felt my work was bleeding into my life and that made it hard," she told British magazine Elle. "There were times when I was incredibly unfair to him. And moments where I felt likeā€¦ he was incredibly unfair to me. But it makes you realise that no matter how complicated it gets the priority is the relationship."

Both Charlize and Sean have spoken about how much their romance took them by surprise. But it seems things are going from strength to strength as they are constantly battling marriage rumours. While Charlize understands people love hearing about how their friendship bloomed into something else, she has a more pragmatic take on it.

"I think we all want to believe that we have some kind of power or control over making those things happen. But sometimes, they were just meant to happen. I'm just glad that I didn't fight it any more than I did," she said.

The actress also spoke broadly about Hollywood, and the struggles which women their still face. Earlier this year it was reported that she had negotiated a pay rise for her work on 2012's Snow White and the Huntsman after realising she was being paid less than Chris Hemsworth. At the time Charlize wasn't that happy about the private information being discussed openly, but she's now rethought that.

"I've never shied away from talking about stuff when people are a*sholes, but in that case, I have to give credit because once I asked, they said yes. They did not fight it," she explained. "And maybe that's the message: that we just need to put our foot down. This is a good time for us to bring this to a place of fairness, and girls need to know that being a feminist is a good thing. It doesn't mean that you hate men. It means equal rights."