Jolie meeting with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador in April 2012
|Born||Angelina Jolie Voight
June 4, 1975 
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Citizenship||United States, Cambodia|
|Occupation||Actress, film director, screenwriter|
|Years active||1982; 1991–present|
|This article is part of a series on
Angelina Jolie (// joh-LEE, born Angelina Jolie Voight; June 4, 1975) is an American actress, film director, screenwriter, and author. She has received an Academy Award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and three Golden Globe Awards, and was named Hollywood's highest-paid actress by Forbes in 2009, 2011, and 2013. Jolie promotes humanitarian causes, and is noted for her work with refugees as a Special Envoy and former Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). She has been cited as the world's "most beautiful" woman by various media outlets, a title for which she has received substantial publicity.
Jolie made her screen debut as a child alongside her father, Jon Voight, in Lookin' to Get Out (1982), but her film career began in earnest a decade later with the low-budget production Cyborg 2 (1993). Her first leading role in a major film was in the cyber-thriller Hackers (1995). She starred in the critically acclaimed biographical television films George Wallace (1997) and Gia (1998), and won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the drama Girl, Interrupted (1999).
Jolie achieved wide fame after her portrayal of the video game heroine Lara Croft in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), and established herself among the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood with the sequel The Cradle of Life (2003). She continued her action star career with Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), Wanted (2008), Salt (2010) and The Tourist (2010)—her biggest live-action commercial successes to date with international revenues of US$478 million, $341 million, $293 million and $278 million respectively—and she received further critical acclaim for her performances in the dramas A Mighty Heart (2007) and Changeling (2008), which earned her a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actress. Jolie made her directorial debut with the wartime drama In the Land of Blood and Honey (2011).
Divorced from actors Jonny Lee Miller and Billy Bob Thornton, Jolie now lives with actor Brad Pitt, in a relationship notable for fervent media attention. Jolie and Pitt have three biological children and three adopted children.
- 1 Early life and family
- 2 Career
- 3 Humanitarian work
- 4 Personal life
- 5 In the media
- 6 Filmography
- 7 Awards and nominations
- 8 Bibliography
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
Early life and family
Born in Los Angeles, California, Jolie is the daughter of actors Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand. She is the sister of actor James Haven, niece of singer-songwriter Chip Taylor, and goddaughter of actors Jacqueline Bisset and Maximilian Schell. On her father's side, Jolie is of German and Slovak descent, and on her mother's side, she is of primarily French Canadian, Dutch, and German ancestry. Like her mother, Jolie has stated that she is part Iroquois, although her only known indigenous ancestor was a Huron woman born in 1649.
After her parents' separation in 1976, Jolie and her brother lived with their mother, who had abandoned her acting ambitions to focus on raising her children. As a child, Jolie often watched movies with her mother and explained this had inspired her interest in acting; she stated that she was not influenced by her father's career. When she was six years old, her mother and stepfather, filmmaker Bill Day, moved the family to Palisades, New York; they returned to Los Angeles five years later. She then decided she wanted to act and enrolled at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, where she trained for two years and appeared in several stage productions.
At the age of 14, Jolie dropped out of her acting classes and aspired to become a funeral director. She began working as a fashion model, modeling mainly in Los Angeles, New York, and London. During this period, she wore black clothing, experimented with knife play, and went out moshing with her live-in boyfriend. Two years later, after the relationship had ended, she rented an apartment above a garage a few blocks from her mother's home. She graduated from high school and returned to theater studies, though in recent times she has referred to this period with the observation, "I am still at heart—and always will be—just a punk kid with tattoos."
Jolie suffered episodes of suicidal depression throughout her teens and early twenties. She felt isolated at Beverly Hills High School among the children of some of the area's affluent families, as her mother survived on a more modest income, and she was teased by other students, who targeted her for being extremely thin and for wearing glasses and braces. She found it difficult to emotionally connect with other people, and as a result she started to self-harm; later commenting, "I collected knives and always had certain things around. For some reason, the ritual of having cut myself and feeling the pain, maybe feeling alive, feeling some kind of release, it was somehow therapeutic to me." She also began experimenting with drugs; by the age of 20, she had tried "just about every drug possible," including heroin.
Jolie has had a difficult relationship with her father. Because of Voight's marital infidelity and the resulting breakup of her parents' marriage, she was estranged from her father for many years. They reconciled and he appeared with her in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), but their relationship again deteriorated. In July 2002, Jolie—who had long used her middle name as a stage name to establish her own identity as an actress—filed a request to legally drop Voight as her surname, which was granted on September 12, 2002. In August of that year, Voight claimed his daughter had "serious mental problems" on Access Hollywood. In response, Jolie released a statement in which she indicated that she no longer wished to pursue a relationship with her father. She explained that because she had adopted her son Maddox, she did not think it was healthy for her to associate with Voight. In the wake of her mother's death from ovarian cancer on January 27, 2007, Jolie again reconciled with her father after a six-year estrangement.
Early work: 1982; 1991–1997
When she was seven years old, Jolie had a small part in Lookin' to Get Out (1982), a movie co-written by and starring her father, Jon Voight. She committed to acting at the age of 16, but initially found it difficult to pass auditions, often being told that she was "too dark." She appeared in five of her brother's student films, made while he attended the USC School of Cinema-Television, as well as in several music videos, namely Lenny Kravitz's "Stand by My Woman" (1991); Antonello Venditti's version of Crowded House's hit "Don't Dream It's Over", "Alta Marea" (1991); The Lemonheads's "It's About Time" (1993); and Meat Loaf's "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through" (1993). She began to learn from her father, as she noticed his method of observing people to become like them. Their relationship during this time was less strained, with Jolie realizing that they were both "drama queens."
Jolie began her professional film career in 1993, when she played her first leading role in the low-budget, straight-to-video science-fiction sequel Cyborg 2, as Casella "Cash" Reese, a near-human robot, designed to seduce her way into a rival manufacturer's headquarters and then self-detonate. Jolie was so disappointed with the film that she did not audition again for a year. Following a supporting role in the independent film Without Evidence (1995), Jolie starred as Kate "Acid Burn" Libby in her first Hollywood picture, Hackers (1995). The New York Times wrote, "Kate (Angelina Jolie) stands out. That's because she scowls even more sourly than [her co-stars] and is that rare female hacker who sits intently at her keyboard in a see-through top. Despite her sullen posturing, which is all this role requires, Ms. Jolie has the sweetly cherubic looks of her father, Jon Voight." The movie failed to make a profit at the box office, but developed a cult following after its video release.
She next appeared in the 1996 comedy Love Is All There Is, a modern-day loose adaptation of Romeo and Juliet set among two rival Italian family restaurant owners in The Bronx, New York. In the road movie Mojave Moon (1996) she played a young woman who falls for Danny Aiello's middle-aged character, while he develops feelings for her mother, played by Anne Archer. That same year, Jolie also portrayed Margret "Legs" Sadovsky, one of five teenage girls who form an unlikely bond in the film Foxfire after they beat up a teacher who has sexually harassed them. The Los Angeles Times wrote about her performance, "It took a lot of hogwash to develop this character, but Jolie, Jon Voight's knockout daughter, has the presence to overcome the stereotype. Though the story is narrated by Maddy, Legs is the subject and the catalyst."
In 1997, Jolie starred with David Duchovny in the thriller Playing God, set in the Los Angeles underworld. The movie was not well received by critics; Roger Ebert noted that "Angelina Jolie [...] finds a certain warmth in a kind of role that is usually hard and aggressive; she seems too nice to be Blossom's girlfriend, and maybe she is." She then appeared in the television film True Women (1997), a historical romantic drama set in the American West and based on the book by Janice Woods Windle. That year, she also appeared as a stripper in the music video for "Anybody Seen My Baby?" by the Rolling Stones.
Jolie's career prospects began to improve after she won a Golden Globe Award for her performance in TNT's George Wallace (1997). She portrayed Cornelia Wallace, the second wife of Alabama Governor George Wallace, played by Gary Sinise. The film was very well received by critics and won, among other awards, the Golden Globe Award for Best Miniseries or Television Film. Jolie also received an Emmy Award nomination for her performance.
In 1998, Jolie starred in HBO's Gia, portraying supermodel Gia Carangi. The film chronicled the destruction of Carangi's life and career as a result of her addiction to heroin, and her decline and death from AIDS in the mid-1980s. Vanessa Vance from Reel.com noted, "Angelina Jolie gained wide recognition for her role as the titular Gia, and it's easy to see why. Jolie is fierce in her portrayal—filling the part with nerve, charm, and desperation—and her role in this film is quite possibly the most beautiful train wreck ever filmed." For the second consecutive year, Jolie won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Emmy Award. She also won her first Screen Actors Guild Award.
In accordance with Lee Strasberg's method acting, Jolie preferred to stay in character in between scenes during many of her early films, and as a result had gained a reputation for being difficult to deal with. While shooting Gia, she told her then-husband Jonny Lee Miller that she would not be able to phone him: "I'd tell him: 'I'm alone; I'm dying; I'm gay; I'm not going to see you for weeks.'" After Gia wrapped in 1997, Jolie announced that she had given up acting for good, because she felt that she had "nothing else to give." She separated from Miller and moved to New York, where she enrolled at New York University to study filmmaking and attend writing classes; she later described it as "just good for me to collect myself." Encouraged by her Golden Globe Award win for George Wallace and the positive critical reception of Gia, she resumed her career.
Jolie returned to film in the 1998 gangster movie Hell's Kitchen. Later that year, she appeared in Playing by Heart, part of an ensemble cast that included Sean Connery, Gillian Anderson, Ryan Phillippe, and Jon Stewart. The film received predominantly positive reviews, and Jolie was praised in particular. The San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "Jolie, working through an overwritten part, is a sensation as the desperate club crawler learning truths about what she's willing to gamble." Jolie won the Breakthrough Performance Award from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures.
In 1999, she starred in the comedy-drama Pushing Tin, alongside John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, and Cate Blanchett. The film received a mixed reception from critics, and Jolie's character—Thornton's seductive wife—was particularly criticized. The Washington Post wrote, "Mary (Angelina Jolie) [is] a completely ludicrous writer's creation of a free-spirited woman who weeps over hibiscus plants that die, wears lots of turquoise rings and gets real lonely when Russell spends entire nights away from home." She then co-starred with Denzel Washington in The Bone Collector (1999), an adaptation of a crime novel by Jeffery Deaver. Jolie played a police officer haunted by her cop father's suicide, who reluctantly helps Washington track down a serial killer. The movie grossed $151 million worldwide, but was a critical failure. The Detroit Free Press concluded, "Jolie, while always delicious to look at, is simply and woefully miscast."
Jolie next took the supporting role of the sociopathic mental patient Lisa Rowe in Girl, Interrupted (1999), an adaptation of author Susanna Kaysen's memoir of the same name. While Winona Ryder played the main character in what was hoped to be a comeback for her, the film instead marked Jolie's final breakthrough in Hollywood. She won her third Golden Globe Award, her second Screen Actors Guild Award, and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Variety noted, "Jolie is excellent as the flamboyant, irresponsible girl who turns out to be far more instrumental than the doctors in Susanna's rehabilitation."
In 2000, Jolie appeared in her first summer blockbuster, Gone In 60 Seconds, in which she played Sarah "Sway" Wayland, the ex-girlfriend of car thief Nicolas Cage. The role was small, and The Washington Post criticized that "all she does in this movie is stand around, cooling down, modeling those fleshy, pulsating muscle-tubes that nest so provocatively around her teeth." She later explained that the film had been a welcome relief after the emotionally heavy role of Lisa Rowe. It became her highest-grossing movie to that point, earning $237 million internationally.
International success: 2001–2005
Although highly regarded for her acting abilities, Jolie's films to date had often not appealed to a wide audience, but Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) made her an international superstar. An adaptation of the popular Tomb Raider videogame, Jolie was required to learn an English accent and undergo extensive martial arts training to play the title role of Lara Croft. She was generally praised for her physical performance, but the movie generated mostly negative reviews. Slant commented, "Angelina Jolie was born to play Lara Croft but [director] Simon West makes her journey into a game of Frogger." The movie was an international success nonetheless, earning $275 million worldwide, and launched her global reputation as a female action star.
Jolie then starred opposite Antonio Banderas as his mail-order bride in Original Sin (2001), a thriller based on the novel Waltz into Darkness by Cornell Woolrich. The film was a major critical failure, with The New York Times noting, "The story plunges more precipitously than Ms. Jolie's neckline." In 2002, she starred in Life or Something Like It as an ambitious television reporter who is told that she will die in a week. The film was poorly received by critics, though Jolie's performance received positive reviews. CNN's Paul Clinton wrote, "Jolie is excellent in her role. Despite some of the ludicrous plot points in the middle of the film, this Academy Award-winning actress is exceedingly believable in her journey towards self-discovery and the true meaning of fulfilling life."
Jolie reprised her role as Lara Croft in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003), which established her among Hollywood's highest-paid actresses. The sequel was not as lucrative as the original, earning $156 million at the international box office. She appeared in the music video for Korn's "Did My Time", which was used to promote the film. She next starred in Beyond Borders (2003), as a socialite who joins aid workers in Africa and Asia. The film reflected Jolie's real-life interest in promoting humanitarian relief, but it was critically and financially unsuccessful. The Los Angeles Times wrote, "Jolie, as she did in her Oscar-winning role in Girl, Interrupted, can bring electricity and believability to roles that have a reality she can understand. She can also, witness the Lara Croft films, do acknowledged cartoons. But the limbo of a hybrid character, a badly written cardboard person in a fly-infested, blood-and-guts world, completely defeats her."
In 2004, Jolie starred alongside Ethan Hawke in the thriller Taking Lives. She portrayed an FBI profiler summoned to help Montreal law enforcement hunt down a serial killer. The movie received mixed reviews and The Hollywood Reporter concluded, "Angelina Jolie plays a role that definitely feels like something she has already done, but she does add an unmistakable dash of excitement and glamour." She also provided the voice of the angelfish Lola in the DreamWorks animated movie Shark Tale (2004), and had a brief appearance in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004), a science fiction adventure film shot entirely with actors in front of a bluescreen. That same year, Jolie played Olympias in Alexander, about the life of Alexander the Great. The film failed domestically, which director Oliver Stone attributed to disapproval of the depiction of Alexander's bisexuality, but it succeeded internationally, with revenue of $139 million outside the United States.
Jolie then starred opposite Brad Pitt in the 2005 action-comedy Mr. & Mrs. Smith, which tells the story of a bored married couple, John and Jane Smith, who find out that they are both secret assassins. The film received mixed reviews, but was generally lauded for the chemistry between the two leads. The Star Tribune noted, "While the story feels haphazard, the movie gets by on gregarious charm, galloping energy and the stars' thermonuclear screen chemistry." The movie earned $478 million worldwide, making it the seventh-highest grossing film of 2005.
Jolie next appeared in Robert De Niro's The Good Shepherd (2006), a film about the early history of the CIA, as seen through the eyes of Edward Wilson, an officer based on James Jesus Angleton and played by Matt Damon. Jolie played the supporting role of Margaret "Clover" Russell, Wilson's neglected wife. According to the Chicago Tribune, "Jolie ages convincingly throughout, and is blithely unconcerned with how her brittle character is coming off in terms of audience sympathy."
In 2007, Jolie made her directorial debut with the documentary A Place in Time, which captures daily life in 27 locations around the world during a single week. The film was screened at the Tribeca Film Festival and was intended for distribution to high schools through the National Education Association. Jolie then starred as Mariane Pearl in the documentary-style drama A Mighty Heart (2007). Based on Pearl's memoir of the same name, the film chronicles the kidnapping and murder of her husband, The Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, in Pakistan. The Hollywood Reporter described Jolie's performance as "well-measured and moving," played "with respect and a firm grasp on a difficult accent." Jolie was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance. She also played Grendel's mother in the animated epic Beowulf (2007), which was created through the motion capture technique.
Jolie co-starred alongside James McAvoy and Morgan Freeman in the 2008 action movie Wanted, an adaptation of Mark Millar's graphic novel of the same name. The film received predominately favorable reviews and proved an international success, earning $342 million worldwide. She also provided the voice of Master Tigress in the DreamWorks animated movie Kung Fu Panda (2008). With revenue of $632 million internationally, it became the third-highest grossing film of 2008. That same year, Jolie took on the lead role in Clint Eastwood's drama Changeling. Based in part on the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders, the film stars Jolie as Christine Collins, who is reunited with her kidnapped son in 1928 Los Angeles—only to realize the boy is an impostor. The Chicago Tribune noted, "Jolie really shines in the calm before the storm, the scenes [...] when one patronizing male authority figure after another belittles her at their peril." Jolie received nominations for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a BAFTA Award.
Jolie next starred in the 2010 thriller Salt, her first film in two years. She starred alongside Liev Schreiber as CIA agent Evelyn Salt, who goes on the run after she is accused of being a KGB sleeper agent. Originally written as a male character, Salt underwent a gender change after a Columbia Pictures executive suggested Jolie for the role to director Phillip Noyce. The film was an international success with revenues of $294 million. It received mixed to positive reviews, with Jolie's performance earning praise; Empire remarked, "When it comes to selling incredible, crazy, death-defying antics, Jolie has few peers in the action business."
She also starred opposite Johnny Depp in The Tourist (2010), which received mostly negative critical reviews. Peter Travers wrote, "Depp and Jolie hit career lows, producing the chemistry of high-fashion zombies." Roger Ebert defended Jolie, stating she "does her darndest" and "plays her femme fatale with flat-out, drop-dead sexuality." Despite the criticisms, after a domestic box office gross of over $67 million, the film went on to gross a respectable $278 million worldwide. Jolie received a Golden Globe Award nomination for her performance, which gave rise to speculation that it had been given merely to ensure her high-profile presence at the awards ceremony. She won the 2011 Teen Choice Awards for movie actress in an action film. Jolie next reprised her voice role as Master Tigress in the animated DreamWorks sequel Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011). It became the fourth-highest grossing film of 2011, and her highest-grossing film to date, earning $666 million at the international box office.
In 2011, Jolie made her directorial feature debut with In the Land of Blood and Honey, a love story between a Serb soldier and a Bosniak prisoner of war, set during the 1992–95 Bosnian War. She wrote the script after twice visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina in her role as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, with the aim of rekindling attention for the survivors of a war that took place in recent history. To ensure a sense of authenticity, she cast only actors from the former Yugoslavia, most of whom lived through the war—including stars Goran Kostić and Zana Marjanović—and incorporated their experiences into her script. The resulting film, which she also co-produced, was released in U.S. theaters entirely in the Serbo-Croatian-Bosnian language.
In the Land of Blood and Honey received mixed reviews from citics. Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times criticized its "contrived plot points," but ultimately acknowledged that, as a first-time director, "Jolie accomplishes much in such a difficult area as the Bosnian war." Writing for The New York Times, Manohla Dargis likewise criticized Jolie's script, noting the story's "somewhat awkward instructional, at times almost proselytizing aspect," but opined that, for the most part, the film "moves briskly and easily holds your attention." The film won the Stanley Kramer Award from the Producers Guild of America, which honors films that highlight provocative social issues, and received a nomination for a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It aroused both praise and criticism in the Balkans; the response from Bosniak war-victims advocacy organizations was "overwhelmingly positive," while a Serb war prisoners group decried the film for its alleged anti-Serb bias. Sarajevo's regional government named Jolie an honorary citizen of the capital for raising awareness of the war.
After a four-year absence from the screen, Jolie will star in the upcoming Maleficent (2014). She plays the titular role of Maleficent, the main antagonist from Disney's 1959 animated feature Sleeping Beauty. The film will show the original story from Maleficent's perspective, revealing the character's background. She is also set to direct a film about World War II hero Lou Zamperini, a former Olympic track star who survived a plane crash over sea and spent two years in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. Joel and Ethan Coen will rewrite the script, based on Laura Hillenbrand's biography Unbroken.
Jolie first personally encountered the effects of a humanitarian crisis while filming Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) in war-torn Cambodia, an experience she later credited with having brought her a greater understanding of the world. Upon her return home, she contacted the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for information on international trouble spots. To learn more about the conditions in these areas, she began visiting refugee camps around the world. In February 2001, she went on her first field visit, an 18-day mission to Sierra Leone and Tanzania; she later expressed her shock at what she had witnessed.
In the following months, she returned to Cambodia for two weeks and met with Afghan refugees in Pakistan, where she donated $1 million in response to an international UNHCR emergency appeal, the largest donation UNHCR had ever received from a private individual. She covered all costs related to her missions and shared the same rudimentary working and living conditions as UNHCR field staff on all of her visits. Jolie was named a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador at UNHCR headquarters in Geneva on August 27, 2001.
Over the next decade, she went on field missions around the world and met with refugees and internally displaced persons in more than 30 countries. In 2002, when asked what she hoped to accomplish, she stated, "Awareness of the plight of these people. I think they should be commended for what they have survived, not looked down upon." To that end, her 2001-02 field visits were chronicled in her book Notes from My Travels, which was published in October 2003 in conjunction with the release of her film Beyond Borders. She aimed to visit what she termed "forgotten emergencies," crises that media attention had shifted away from, and she became noted for going "where real bullets fly," traveling to such war zones as Sudan's Darfur region during the Darfur conflict, the Syrian-Iraqi border during the Second Gulf War, where she met privately with U.S. troops and other multi-national forces, and the Afghan capital Kabul during the war in Afghanistan, where three aid workers were murdered in the midst of her first visit.
On April 17, 2012, after more than a decade of service as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, Jolie was promoted to the rank of Special Envoy to High Commissioner António Guterres, the first to take on such a position within the organization. In her expanded role, she represents UNHCR and Guterres at the diplomatic level to facilitate lasting solutions for people displaced by major crises. In the months following the promotion, she made her first visit as Special Envoy—her third over all—to Ecuador, where she met with Colombian refugees, and she accompanied Guterres on a week-long tour of Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq, to assess the situation of refugees from neighboring Syria.
Millennium Village and other projects
In an effort to connect her Cambodian-born son with his heritage, Jolie purchased a house in his country of birth in 2003. The traditional home sat on 39 hectares in the northwestern province of Battambang, adjacent to a national park infiltrated with poachers who threatened the dwindling populations of Asian black bears, Asian elephants, and Indochinese tigers. She purchased the surrounding 60,000 hectares and turned the area into a wildlife reserve named for her son, the Maddox Jolie Project. In recognition of her conservation efforts, King Norodom Sihamoni awarded her Cambodian citizenship on July 31, 2005.
In 2006, Jolie expanded the scope of the project—renamed the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Project (MJP)—to create Asia's first Millennium Village, in accordance with UN development goals. She was inspired by a meeting with the founder of Millennium Promise, noted economist Jeffrey Sachs, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where she was an invited speaker in 2005 and 2006. Together they filmed a 2005 MTV special, The Diary of Angelina Jolie & Dr. Jeffrey Sachs in Africa, which followed them on a trip to a Millennium Village in Western Kenya. By 2007, some 6000 villagers and 72 employees—some of them former poachers employed as rangers—lived and worked at MJP, in ten villages previously isolated from one another. The compound includes schools, roads, and a soy milk factory, all funded by Jolie. Her home functions as the MJP field headquarters.
In addition to the facilities at MJP, Jolie has built at least ten other schools in Cambodia, and funds the Maddox Chivan Children's Center, a care facility for children affected by HIV, in the capital Phnom Penh. In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the birthplace of her daughter, she funds the Zahara Children's Center, which treats children suffering from HIV or tuberculosis. Both centers are run by the Global Health Committee. She has also built schools elsewhere in the world, including a school and a boarding facility for girls at Kakuma refugee camp in north-western Kenya, a school for girls in Tangi, Afghanistan, and another girls-only school in the Afghan capital Kabul. These facilities and other projects are funded through the Jolie–Pitt Foundation, which Jolie and her partner Brad Pitt established in September 2006.
Political and legal involvement
Jolie became more involved in promoting humanitarian causes on a political level from 2003 onwards. She began lobbying humanitarian interests in the U.S. capital, where she had met with senators and representatives of Congress at least 20 times by 2006. She has been involved in child and women protection efforts, pushing for legislation to aid child refugees and other vulnerable children in both developing nations and the U.S., and fronting an international campaign against sexual violence in military conflict zones. She explained in 2006, "As much as I would love to never have to visit Washington, that's the way to move the ball."
Since its founding at the 2007 Clinton Global Initiative, Jolie has co-chaired the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, which funds education programs for children affected by disaster. In its first year, the partnership supported education projects for Iraqi refugee children, youth affected by the Darfur conflict, and girls in rural Afghanistan, among other affected groups. The partnership has worked closely with the Council on Foreign Relations' Center for Universal Education—founded by the partnership's co-chair, noted economist Gene Sperling—to establish education policies, which resulted in recommendations made to UN agencies, G8 development agencies, and the World Bank. Jolie joined the Council on Foreign Relations in June 2007.
Jolie also co-chairs Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), which provides free legal aid to unaccompanied minors in immigration proceedings across the U.S. She founded KIND in October 2008, in a collaboration with the Microsoft Corporation and 25 leading U.S. law firms. She had previously, from 2005 to 2007, funded a similar initiative, the then-newly launched National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children. In the wake of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, she established the Jolie Legal Fellowship, whose member attorneys—the first of whom was appointed in January 2011—assist and support government officials and other organizations in their efforts to secure the legal protection of Haiti's most vulnerable children.
In May 2012, Jolie joined UK Foreign Secretary William Hague in a campaign against sexual violence in military conflict zones, the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative. To highlight the problem, Jolie and Hague subsequently travelled to eastern DR Congo, where rape has been frequently used as a weapon of war by rebel groups and soldiers. In 2013, she spoke at a G8 foreign ministers meeting, where ministers pledged $36 million in funding to go toward developing international standards for the investigation and prosecution of war rape, and before the UN security council—the UN's most powerful body—which responded by adopting its broadest resolution on the issue to date.
Jolie has received wide recognition for her humanitarian work. In 2002, she received the inaugural Humanitarian Award from the Church World Service's Immigration and Refugee Program, and in 2003, she was the first recipient of the Citizen of the World Award by the United Nations Correspondents Association. She was awarded the Global Humanitarian Award by the UNA-USA in 2005, and she received the Freedom Award by the International Rescue Committee in 2007. In 2011, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres presented Jolie with a gold pin reserved for the most long-serving staff, in recognition of her decade as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador. In November 2013 she received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, an honorary Academy Award, from the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Jolie had a serious boyfriend for two years from the age of 14. Her mother allowed them to live together in her home, of which Jolie later said, "I was either going to be reckless on the streets with my boyfriend or he was going to be with me in my bedroom with my mom in the next room. She made the choice, and because of it, I continued to go to school every morning and explored my first relationship in a safe way." She has compared the relationship to a marriage in its emotional intensity, and said that the breakup compelled her to dedicate herself to her acting career at the age of 16.
During filming of Hackers (1995), Jolie had a romance with British actor Jonny Lee Miller, her first lover since the relationship in her early teens. They were not in touch for many months after production ended, but eventually reconnected and married soon after on March 28, 1996. She attended her wedding in black rubber pants and a white T-shirt, upon which she had written the groom's name in her blood. Jolie and Miller separated in September 1997 and divorced on February 3, 1999. They remained on good terms, and Jolie later explained, "It comes down to timing. I think he's the greatest husband a girl could ask for. I'll always love him, we were simply too young."
Jolie had a brief relationship with model-actress Jenny Shimizu on the set of Foxfire (1996). She later said, "I would probably have married Jenny if I hadn't married my husband. I fell in love with her the first second I saw her." Shimizu claimed in 2005 that her relationship with Jolie had lasted many years and continued even while Jolie was romantically involved with other people. In 2003, asked if she was bisexual, Jolie responded, "Of course. If I fell in love with a woman tomorrow, would I feel that it's okay to want to kiss and touch her? If I fell in love with her? Absolutely! Yes!"
After a two-month courtship, Jolie married actor Billy Bob Thornton on May 5, 2000, in Las Vegas. They met on the set of Pushing Tin (1999), but did not pursue a relationship at that time as Thornton was engaged to actress Laura Dern. As a result of their frequent public declarations of passion and gestures of love—most famously wearing one another's blood in vials around their necks—their marriage became a favorite topic of the entertainment media. Jolie and Thornton announced the adoption of a son from Cambodia in March 2002, but abruptly separated three months later. Their divorce was finalized on May 27, 2003. Asked about the sudden dissolution of their marriage, Jolie stated, "It took me by surprise, too, because overnight, we totally changed. I think one day we had just nothing in common. And it's scary but... I think it can happen when you get involved and you don't know yourself yet."
In early 2005, Jolie was involved in a well-publicized Hollywood scandal when she was accused of being the reason for the divorce of actors Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. She and Pitt were alleged to have started an affair during filming of Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005). She denied this on several occasions, but later admitted that they "fell in love" on the set. She explained in 2005, "To be intimate with a married man, when my own father cheated on my mother, is not something I could forgive. I could not look at myself in the morning if I did that. I wouldn't be attracted to a man who would cheat on his wife." Jolie and Pitt did not publicly comment on the nature of their relationship until January 2006, when Jolie confirmed to People that she was pregnant with Pitt's child. Pitt and Jolie announced their engagement in April 2012, after seven years together. The couple—dubbed "Brangelina" by the entertainment media—are the subject of worldwide media coverage.
- Maddox Chivan Jolie-Pitt
- born August 5, 2001, in Cambodia
- adopted March 10, 2002, by Jolie
- adopted early 2006 by Pitt
- Pax Thien Jolie-Pitt
- born November 29, 2003, in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- adopted March 15, 2007, by Jolie
- adopted February 21, 2008, by Pitt
- Zahara Marley Jolie-Pitt
- born January 8, 2005, in Awasa, Ethiopia
- adopted July 6, 2005, by Jolie
- adopted early 2006 by Pitt
- Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt
- born May 27, 2006, in Swakopmund, Namibia
- Knox Léon Jolie-Pitt
- born July 12, 2008, in Nice, France
- Vivienne Marcheline Jolie-Pitt
- born July 12, 2008, in Nice, France
On March 10, 2002, Jolie adopted her first child, seven-month-old Maddox Chivan, from an orphanage in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He was born as Rath Vibol on August 5, 2001, in a local village. Jolie applied for adoption after she had visited Cambodia twice, while filming Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) and on a UNHCR field mission. The adoption process was halted in December 2001 when the U.S. government banned adoptions from Cambodia amid allegations of child trafficking. Once the adoption was finalized, she took custody of Maddox in Namibia, where she was filming Beyond Borders (2003). Although Jolie and her then-husband Billy Bob Thornton announced the adoption together, she in fact adopted Maddox as a single parent.
Jolie adopted a daughter, six-month-old Zahara Marley, from an orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on July 6, 2005. Zahara was born as Yemsrach on January 8, 2005, in Awasa. At the time of the adoption, Zahara was wrongly believed to be an AIDS orphan and it was unknown whether she herself had contracted HIV, but she later tested negative. Shortly after they returned to the United States, Zahara was hospitalized for dehydration and malnutrition. In November 2007, media outlets reported that Zahara's biological mother wanted her daughter back, but she denied these reports, saying she thought Zahara was "very fortunate" to have been adopted by Jolie.
Jolie was accompanied by her partner Brad Pitt when she traveled to Ethiopia to take custody of Zahara. She later indicated that she and Pitt had made the decision to adopt from Ethiopia together. In December 2005, Pitt's publicist announced that Pitt was seeking to adopt Maddox and Zahara. To reflect this, Jolie filed a request to legally change her children's surnames from Jolie to Jolie-Pitt, which was granted on January 19, 2006. The adoptions were finalized soon after.
In an attempt to avoid the media frenzy surrounding their relationship, Jolie and Pitt went to Namibia for the birth of their first biological child. On May 27, 2006, Jolie gave birth to a daughter, Shiloh Nouvel, in Swakopmund. Pitt confirmed that their newborn daughter would have a Namibian passport. The couple decided to sell the first pictures of Shiloh through the distributor Getty Images themselves, rather than allowing paparazzi to make these valuable photographs. People paid a reported $4.1 million for the North American rights, while Hello! obtained the British rights for a reported $3.5 million. All profits were donated to charities serving African children.
On March 15, 2007, Jolie adopted a son, three-year-old Pax Thien, from an orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam. He was born as Pham Quang Sang on November 29, 2003, in HCMC, where he was abandoned soon after birth. Jolie adopted Pax as a single parent, because Vietnam's adoption regulations do not allow unmarried couples to co-adopt. The rights for the first post-adoption images of Pax were sold to People for a reported $2 million, as well as to Hello! for an undisclosed amount. In April, Jolie filed a request to legally change her son's surname from Jolie to Jolie-Pitt, which was approved on May 31, 2007. Pitt's adoption of Pax was finalized in the United States on February 21, 2008.
At the Cannes Film Festival in May 2008, Jolie confirmed that she was expecting twins. For the two weeks she spent in a seaside hospital in Nice, France, reporters and photographers camped outside on the promenade. She gave birth to a son, Knox Léon, and a daughter, Vivienne Marcheline, on July 12, 2008. The rights for the first images of Knox and Vivienne were jointly sold to People and Hello! for a reported $14 million—the most expensive celebrity pictures ever taken. The proceeds were donated to the Jolie-Pitt Foundation.
Cancer prevention treatment
On February 16, 2013, at the age of 37, Jolie underwent a preventive double mastectomy after learning she had an 87% risk of developing breast cancer due to a defective BRCA1 gene. Her family history warranted genetic testing for BRCA mutations: her mother, actress Marcheline Bertrand, had breast cancer and died from ovarian cancer at the age of 56, while her maternal grandmother had ovarian cancer and died aged 45. Her maternal aunt Debbie Martin, who had the same defective BRCA1 gene as Jolie, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 and died at age 61 on May 26, 2013. Jolie's mastectomy lowered her chances of developing breast cancer to under 5 percent, and testing of the removed breast tissue showed no signs of cancerous cells. On April 27, Jolie had reconstructive surgery involving implants and allografts. She reportedly intends to undergo a preventive oophorectomy, as she still has a 50% risk of developing ovarian cancer due to the same genetic anomaly.
Jolie kept news of her mastectomy private until she had completed the three-month process. On May 14, The New York Times published an op-ed titled "My Medical Choice" in which Jolie wrote about her decision and procedures, with the aim of helping other women make informed health choices. To that end, her treatment regimen was posted on the website of the Pink Lotus Breast Center, where she was treated. In her piece—published concurrently with U.S. Supreme Court deliberations on BRCA gene patent rights held by Myriad Genetics—Jolie acknowledged the largely prohibitive cost of BRCA gene testing and advocated wider accessibility. On June 13, 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that isolated genes are not patentable, invalidating the BRCA gene patents held by Myriad Genetics.
Jolie's announcement drew extensive public attention; a Time cover story titled "The Angelina Effect" observed that Jolie brought "genetic testing in the spotlight," and noted her ability to influence people on a large scale. Various public figures applauded Jolie for her decision; UK foreign secretary William Hague, who visited refugee camps in Congo-Kinshasa with Jolie in March, called her "an inspiration to many." Most medical experts who weighed in publicly agreed that Jolie made the right choice for herself, but differed in their response to its expected influence on the public. Her decision was met with praise from health campaigners, who welcomed her raising awareness of the options available to those at risk, while other experts feared a widespread overestimation of BRCA mutation occurrence, as less than 1% of all women carry this genetic condition, and a misunderstanding of the risks involved for those who do test positive. Eric Topol, a geneticist and director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in California, told attendees at a genetics symposium "This is the moment that will propel genomic medicine forward", saying that Jolie's announcement was "incredibly important symbolically".
In the media
During the first decade of her career, Jolie—who does not employ a publicist or an agent—maintained a "wild child" persona in her communication with the media. She openly discussed her love life, including her bisexuality and her interest in BDSM. After she kissed her brother during the Academy Awards in 2000, their close relationship became the subject of tabloid media speculation, which she dismissed. She spoke about her experiences with drugs and depression, and recalled the time, in 1997, when she almost hired a hitman to kill her, as well as the three days, just before her marriage to Billy Bob Thornton, that she was sectioned at UCLA's psychiatric ward. By the mid-2000s, Jolie's involvement with the UNHCR and the adoption of her son Maddox had transformed her public image from Hollywood eccentric into humanitarian and devoted mother.
Jolie has attracted notable media attention for her physical appearance—particularly her full lips and her many tattoos, being her most distinctive features. She has been named the world's "most beautiful" or "sexiest" woman by various media outlets, including Vogue in 2002, Esquire in 2004, American FHM and British Harper's Bazaar in 2005, People and Hello! in 2006, Empire in 2007, and Vanity Fair in 2009. Vanity Fair stated that 58 percent of their voters named Jolie "Most Beautiful Woman in the World," and that the competition including other celebrity women "wasn't even close." People named Jolie one of 2012's Most Beautiful at Every Age.
Jolie's extensive collection of tattoos has often been addressed by interviewers. She has fourteen known tattoos, among which the Latin proverb "quod me nutrit me destruit" (what nourishes me destroys me), the Tennessee Williams quote "A prayer for the wild at heart, kept in cages," two sak yant designs featuring a prayer of protection and a twelve-inch-by-eight-inch tiger, and seven sets of geographical coordinates indicating the birthplaces of her children and her partner Brad Pitt. Over time, she has covered or lasered several of her tattoos, including the name of her second husband, "Billy Bob", and the Chinese characters "死" (death) and "勇" (courage).
Jolie's recognizability, influence and wealth are extensively documented. According to the Q Score, in 2000, subsequent to her Oscar win, 31% of respondents in the United States said Jolie was familiar to them; by 2006 she was familiar to 81% of Americans. In a 2006 global industry survey by ACNielsen in 42 international markets, Jolie, together with partner Brad Pitt, was found to be the favorite celebrity endorser for brands and products worldwide. She was the face of St. John and Shiseido from 2006 to 2008, and in 2011 had an endorsement deal with Louis Vuitton reportedly worth $10 million—a record for a single advertising campaign. She was among the Time 100, a list of the most influential people in the world as assembled by Time, in 2006 and 2008. Forbes named her Hollywood's highest-paid actress in 2009, 2011, and 2013, with estimated annual earnings of $27 million, $30 million, and $33 million respectively, and she topped the magazine's Celebrity 100, a ranking of the world's most powerful celebrities, in 2009.
On July 23, 2009, serving as a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador, Jolie made a third trip to the Iraq War, visiting the U.S. troops stationed in 'Camp Liberty' in Baghdad's International Zone. During an interview there, she mentioned having also visited Washington, D.C.'s Walter Reed Army Medical Center: "...I was INSPIRED and reminded of all the bravery of... of all you young and, men and WOMEN...I'm always just HONOURED to spend time with, with everybody who spends time in the military...I was allowed to come and I'm privileged to be here."
An unauthorized biography on Jolie by Andrew Morton was published in 2010. Janet Maslin highlights the lack of sources noted in the book in a review in The New York Times, saying "the people most eager to tell him about Ms. Jolie are people who don’t know her, so that the book is shrink-wrapped in glib insights from dubious psychiatric talents". Allen Barra describes it as "the worst book in the 21st century so far" in a Salon review which summarizes the book as "ill-informed, moralistic and just plain mean".
Awards and nominations
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|Find more about Angelina Jolie at Wikipedia's sister projects|
|Media from Commons|
|Quotations from Wikiquote|
- Angelina Jolie at the Internet Movie Database
- Angelina Jolie at AllRovi
- UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie, official homepage at UNHCR.org
- Journey Through Eastern Congo, multimedia journal narrated by Jolie
- Interviews with Angelina Jolie by Charlie Rose
- Ancestry, on the WARGS site
- Parents and maternal ancestry on FrancoGene