Madonna picked up tips for her feature film directorial debut W.E. from her moviemaking ex-husbands Sean Penn and Guy Ritchie.

The pop superstar has stepped behind the camera on her first major release to tell the story of monarch King Edward VIII’s controversial marriage to American divorcee Wallis Simpson, which forced him from the throne.

And the singer reveals she learned about directing while in relationships with Penn and Ritchie, who have both scored huge hits at the box office.

She tells the Radio Times, “I’ve been on a few film sets in my day and I’ve been married to a few directors and I’ve been friends with a lot of directors.

I watched closely what both Sean and Guy did. With Sean I saw the importance of rehearsal and preparing and doing as much work as you can ahead of being on set.

Guy is a much more visual director and he takes a lot of chances and risks when it comes to camera moves and things like that.

And I learned a lot from him in that respect.”               –ON