Angelina Jolie travels at warp speed. Since our last interview, two-and-a-half years ago, she’s covered more than 160,000 air kilometres, travelling to places as far-flung as Thailand and Chad. She’s partnered with Brad Pitt, adopted more children, had a baby, started a foundation and made nine movies. And there’s no sign she’s ready for a break.
Her latest film, A Mighty Heart, opens later this year. She portrays freelance journalist Mariane Pearl, whose husband Daniel, a Wall Street Journal reporter, was kidnapped and murdered in Pakistan while reporting on Islamic militants. Produced by Pitt, the movie reflects Jolie’s international interests, which took hold after she won the Oscar for Girl, Interrupted at age 24. While still a regular on “most beautiful” lists, the actress, a UN Goodwill Ambassador and now mother to four children, seems to have left the glamour life far behind. In addition to Maddox (Mad), a Cambodian boy she adopted in 2002, Jolie brought Zahara (Z) from Ethiopia in 2005. She and Brad had baby daughter Shiloh (Shi) in May 2006.
She adopted Pax from Vietnam in March this year. Just nine days after bringing him home, Jolie, 31, took a rare break to talk with Reader’s Digest about her growing family and wanting to make a difference.
RD: When we last met, you were a single mother with one son, Maddox. You now have Brad and four kids. What happened?
Jolie: I met this amazing person, and we realised we had very similar views on how we wanted to live our lives. It’s happened quickly, with so many children. Yesterday, picking up the kids from school, Brad turned around in the car, and there were three of them. He couldn’t stop laughing. We love them and are having a great time.
RD: Was your pregnancy with Shiloh intentional?
Jolie: It was. Before I met Brad, I always said I was happy never to have a child biologically. He told me he hadn’t given up that thought. Then, a few months after Z came home, I saw Brad with her and Mad, and I realised how much he loved them, that a biological child would not in any way be a threat. So I said, “I want to try.”
RD: Tell us a little about Pax. Why did you decide to adopt a toddler?
Jolie: As kids get older, it’s harder for them to be adopted. I wasn’t prepared a few years ago, but I felt now our home was stable, and I could balance that.
RD: Is adopting a toddler different?
Jolie: Pax is almost three and a half and has never made a real decision for himself, because everybody does everything in a group in the orphanage. There were all these things he’d never had. The first time I gave him a bath, he was suddenly laughing, out of his mind. He took five baths in one day. We’d be talking and he’d take his clothes off and run into the bathroom.
RD: How did he come to adjust to you?
Jolie: The first two days, he cried a lot. I hired a translator, and he would explain what was going on. The first night, I slept alone with him. I was expecting him to wake up and scream, but he woke and just stared at me. I handed him a stuffed animal, and we walked around the room pointing at things. By day three, he didn’t want me to put him down. I think he got used to the reality that somebody loves you and that’s what a mother is.