Sean Penn is ''aware'' he can be ''difficult to like from afar''.

The 59-year-old actor has earned a reputation over the years for being hard to work with and while he acknowledged he has ended up locked in disputes with his directors, he blamed his attitude on the attitudes of the filmmakers.

Speaking to SiriusXM DJ Howard Stern, he said of his reputation: ''There've been several times I've worked with directors who I felt might have found a different job description, and perhaps weren't the storytellers that their initial meetings with each of us actors might have indicated.

''Actors are kind of canaries in the coalmine emotionally, and you have to go to whatever place is necessary inside yourself. If you don't have somebody there who at least respects that - most of what I was referring to is that the arrogance goes further than charm.

''I am aware that I can be a difficult person to like from afar, often. I sometimes think I have a great love affair but not too good with humans.''

But the 'Milk' star - who is dating 27-year-old actress Leila George and was previously married to Madonna and Robin Wright - admitted he can also be ''difficult'' in his personal life too.

He said: ''Am I difficult? Yeah I think so. I will say I'm a person who feels and expresses energetically, I've misled people into thinking it's all about me.

''I think the interview you're talking about would be a lady named Layla George, she knows me better than I do on this level, that doesn't mean I agree with her perceptions but I certainly find them fascinating.... She's the gal in my life.''

When Sean accepted the Best Actor award for Milk at the 2009 Academy Awards, he touched on his difficult reputation in his speech.

He said: ''I did not expect this... and I want it to be very clear that I do know how hard I make it to appreciate me, often.''