Angelina Jolie is more than just a talented actress, she embodies our aspirations and fantasies, taking on diverse roles in movies from vulnerable characters to humanitarian activists and even being Brad Pitt’s wife. Her new film, Wanted, showcases her longing for adventure and excitement. Furthermore, Jolie discusses her unconventional family life with Pitt and how it has been influenced by her own upbringing. During an interview with Rich Cohen, she shares her struggles with the passing of her mother, the strained relationship with her father, and her experience with sensuality during her second pregnancy.
It is common knowledge that pregnancy can be a different experience for every woman. While some women may enjoy the physical changes and growth of their bodies, others may not. Angelina Jolie appears to have enjoyed her pregnancy journey with her twins in 2008, as evidenced by numerous photos of her during this time. There are speculations that her partner, Brad Pitt, who is widely considered attractive and desirable, may have contributed to her positive experience. However, regardless of the reason behind it, Jolie seemed to fully embrace her expanding belly, which was clearly visible in various media outlets.
With a wide grin and a happy chuckle, she gushed about how much she adored it. “It makes me feel so empowered as a woman,” she said. As she spoke, she gestured with her hands, which were surprisingly large and strong-looking, mimicking the motion of squeezing a juicy piece of fruit. “Your body changes in all these amazing ways, and suddenly every part of you feels like it has a special role to play. And the fact that you’re growing another tiny life inside you? It’s just mind-blowing.”
During our conversation at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, Texas, the actress confided in me about her pregnancy experience. According to Jolie, her partner finds her pregnancy very attractive which has made her feel sexy and fortunate. She emphasized that women’s pregnancy experiences differ depending on their partners. Before our meeting, she had dropped off two of her children at a school to attend while Pitt finishes filming “Tree of Life” with Terrence Malick. The couple rented a ranch where nannies and tutors were taking care of their other four children who are all adopted from different countries- six-year-old Maddox, three-year-old Zahara, two-year-old Shiloh, and four-year-old Pax. When asked about the movie “Tree of Life,” Jolie explained that it has an existential theme and portrays a nuclear 1950s family with Pitt playing the role of a strong father.
When I asked Jolie about the help she’s getting, she told me that they don’t permit overnight stays. Nonetheless, they collaborate with women from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds. There’s a Vietnamese teacher, a Congolese woman living in Belgium, and an artistic American who leads art workshops. Although their policies may change in the future, the team is currently doing an excellent job with what they have.
The Jolie-Pitt clan is making waves with their unique family dynamic, which includes children from various countries and unmarried parents who are undeniably beautiful. Despite criticism about their marital status, Angelina Jolie revealed that both she and Brad have been previously wed. She emphasized that creating a loving and nurturing family is no easy task, and perhaps their unconventional approach is what suits them best. While they may not be legally married, their commitment to each other feels just as strong as if they were.
As soon as Jolie stepped into the Four Seasons, she surveyed the room quickly, keeping her head down and appearing accustomed to drawing attention and being potentially unsafe. T.S. Eliot’s quote, “The roses had the look of flowers that are looked at,” accurately described her demeanor. Jolie moved rapidly through the lobby, like a shark swimming in the ocean, with her face often covered or made to seem ordinary to avoid disclosing her identity. Nevertheless, people surrounding her reacted peculiarly, causing a commotion. In every photograph taken of her, Jolie exuded an air of dignity, resembling an emissary from a clandestine society or a messenger from a forgotten kingdom. During our interview, we sat near a wall of windows at the hotel restaurant, and individuals circled around Jolie like debris orbiting a planet due to gravity. She was wearing a silky maternity dress beneath a blue blazer reminiscent of a stand-up comic or Frankenstein. After some time, Jolie removed her jacket, uncovering hieroglyphic tattoos on her arms that narrated stories of her wild teenage years and marriages to Jonny Lee Miller and Billy Bob Thornton. By chance, I inquired about Jolie’s pregnancy and how far along she was.
She chose to keep the due date a secret with a sad smile, fearing that it would cause undue stress to those around her. Whenever Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie is filming, they bring their family with them and try to maintain a sense of familiarity by incorporating items from home. They don’t consider specific cities or towns as home, but rather view the backdrops and locations as representing the concept of HOME. This fantasy serves as a memory from someone else’s past. Jolie is an exceptional celebrity who takes on her character’s stories in real life. Instead of becoming the character, the character becomes her, such as the disturbed youth in Girl, Interrupted, the wild child in Gia, the humanitarian in Beyond Borders, and her role as Mrs. Smith (or sort of married) to Brad Pitt in the Mr. & Mrs. Smith movie.
Angelina Jolie shared that she felt compelled to take on the physically demanding and violent role in the high-budget action movie Wanted. She had recently lost her mother and was in a confused state of mind, transitioning from filming a movie about a child’s kidnapping to another film with similar themes. Jolie had a busy few years, adopting children, starring in various films, and becoming a tabloid sensation. Her life was scrutinized, and she was involved in several charitable causes. Jolie was more than just a news topic; she was an award-winning actress and an icon for American women. In 2008, speaking with Jolie was like conversing with Hollywood’s most iconic stars at the height of their careers.
Jolie appeared to be at ease as she ordered an omelet and relished the liberty of being pregnant. As we enjoyed our meal, time seemed to pass by rapidly, with each course being replaced by another. Her laughter was accompanied by a hand covering her mouth, and when moved, she gazed longingly out the window. We discussed a range of topics, from her family to her profession, including her relationship with Pitt. Despite her vow to marry someone outside of the entertainment industry after her previous divorce, she found herself attracted to Brad, who possessed all the qualities she wasn’t looking for but turned out to be the best father figure she could have hoped for. Jolie viewed him more as a dad who loved architecture and travel than as an actor. She wished that he would concentrate more on architecture, despite not being an architect himself. She had witnessed him collaborate with partners to create hotels and studios, as well as working with other architects to renovate a shotgun house using green architecture, which had taught her a lot about the homes they inhabit.
Angelina Jolie discussed the evolution of the paparazzi industry in a recent conversation. According to her, people are drawn to drama and gossip like it’s an addictive snack. She noted that reading about other people’s problems can be comforting if one is unhappy with their own life. In the past, celebrities were more focused on their professional lives and kept their personal lives private. However, nowadays, fans are more interested in trivial details like their fashion choices and dating lives. When asked about parenting, Jolie humorously admitted to resorting to clichéd phrases like “I don’t care who started it, but I’m finishing it” when dealing with her children.
During our conversation, my acquaintance mentioned a parenting technique she had read about in a magazine. This system involves awarding children with sticker stars that they can exchange for treats, which not only helps control their behavior but also introduces them to the fundamentals of capitalism. However, she also stressed the importance of her mother’s parenting style, which encouraged her to develop her individual personality. Despite this, she acknowledged that she can discipline her own children when necessary.
I was interested to know her thoughts on adoption and whether the bond between a mother and biological child differed from that of an adopted one. She replied that in her opinion, there was no difference, but she did find the experience of having a C-section fascinating and miraculous. Having wanted to adopt since she was young, she views it as a gift rather than a sacrifice and feels fortunate to have children from three different continents.
As we continued to chat, Jolie shared her first adoption experience with me. She explained that it fulfilled a long-standing desire to provide a home for a child and described the joy she felt watching her child grow and learn new things every day.
In a casual and relaxed tone, she shared her experience of receiving her first child, Maddox, from a nurse who left soon after. Being unfamiliar with taking care of a baby, she called her mother to inquire about how many bottles babies need in a day. She fondly recollected Shiloh’s birth at a small hospital in Namibia, where they were the only patients. The experience was pleasant, with attentive doctors and nurses in a cozy room. Jolie mentioned that they named Shiloh after the name her parents almost gave their first child before a miscarriage. She also expressed her desire to teach her children about various religions and cultures, instead of following one single faith. Throughout the conversation, she kept reflecting on her mother’s impact on her life and how she taught her about death. She admired her mother’s selflessness towards her family, which taught her the importance of prioritizing children’s needs over one’s own.
During a recent interview, Jolie opened up about the passing of her mother and how she spoke to her son about it. She became emotional, struggling to control her voice and tears while sharing her experience. Jolie talked about how she used different beliefs about heaven and ghosts to explain her mother’s passing to her son. Additionally, she took responsibility for arranging her mother’s body to be picked up and expressed relief that her mother was no longer in pain. Jolie also reminisced about her childhood and how watching her father in “The Champ” affected her relationship with fantasy and reality. Interestingly, when asked about her father’s Oscar-winning movie “Coming Home,” Jolie admitted that she had never seen it.
Jolie’s views on denying rumors about her involvement in Pitt’s divorce from Aniston are influenced by her personal experience of her father leaving her mother and his infidelity with another woman. Although she is officially estranged from her father Voight, his influence as an actor has had a significant effect on her. Growing up, Jolie’s parents’ divorce led to her desire for a big family and belief that artists raise their children differently, with a focus on art and creativity. Despite starring in mediocre films early on, Jolie’s remarkable acting abilities were apparent, and each role added something to her persona, such as meeting her first husband in Hackers or playing a lesbian in Gia. Her appearance in Mr. & Mrs. Smith solidified her relationship with Pitt and gave her a sense of invincibility, but also highlighted the idea of movie stars pretending to be normal people.
It was a wonderful experience to meet up with Jolie again, this time in the historic Hay-Adams hotel in Washington, D.C. Brad had taken their sons to Los Angeles while Jolie was in town with her daughters. I learned that she had attended an event where she presented an award to Mariane Pearl and later gave a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations. Over dinner, we discussed her involvement with refugees and how it all began during her travels to Cambodia for the movie “Tomb Raider.” She shared her experiences of meeting locals who were kind and warm despite their difficult circumstances, which opened her eyes to the world’s problems.
I asked Jolie if her philanthropic pursuits consumed her life and if Brad was just along for the ride. She dispelled my notion, saying that their common goals brought them together. They both wanted to make a difference in the world, and their shared values made their relationship work. We also talked about the media and paparazzi, and Jolie mentioned that she wouldn’t read tabloid stories about other celebrities for guilty pleasure as she had good friends who would be the subject of these stories. As our conversation ended, I was inspired by Jolie’s genuine passion for helping others.