Angelina Jolie travels at warp speed. Since our last interview, nearly three years ago, she’s tracked more than 100,000 air miles, traveling to places as far-flung as Thailand and Chad.She’s partnered with Brad Pitt, who shares her drive to leave a mark on the world. She’s adopted more children, had a baby, started a foundation and made nine movies. And there’s no sign she’s ready for a break.
This month, Jolie stars in A Mighty Heart, portraying 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. 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) home from Ethiopia in 2005. She and Brad had baby daughter Shiloh (Shi) in May 2006.
She adopted Pax from Vietnam this spring. Just nine days after bringing him home, Jolie, 31, took a rare break to talk with RD about her growing family and wanting to make a difference.
Jolie: I met this amazing person, and we realized 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 realized 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.
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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 mommy is.
RD: How do you introduce a new child into this family without sibling rivalry?
Jolie: We had a long talk with Mad about the fact that his brother is going to be scared and that Mommy is going to have to give him attention. And we’ve tried to figure out a lot of private time for each of them. When everybody goes to bed, we give Mad time. When everybody is at school, we give Shiloh time. In between, Z and Pax each get special time. And on Sundays we have a big family sleep, when the boys get in bed with us and we watch a movie. It started with Mad, then Pax, and now Z is desperate to move into the bed. We’re talking about having to build a bigger bed!
RD: How has Brad been with this?
Jolie: He couldn’t go with us to Vietnam to get Pax because he was working. But they got together very quickly. I think Pax, after seeing how much Zahara and Mad and Shi love Brad, understands that he’s his daddy. Everybody seems to be safe in his arms. He makes everybody laugh. He helps everybody.
RD: Do you want more children?
Jolie: Yeah, yeah. More biological, more adopted.