Actress | Producer | Director
Angelina Jolie Voight
June 4, 1975
Los Angeles, California, USA
Height: 5′ 7″ (1.7 m)
Angelina Jolie is an Oscar-winning actress who became popular after playing the title role in the “Lara Croft” blockbuster movies, as well as Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), Wanted (2008), Salt (2010) and Maleficent (2014). Off-screen, Jolie has become prominently involved in international charity projects, especially those involving refugees. She often appears on many “most beautiful women” lists, and she has a personal life that is avidly covered by the tabloid press.
Jolie was born Angelina Jolie Voight in Los Angeles, California. In her earliest years, Angelina began absorbing the acting craft from her actor parents, Jon Voight, an Oscar-winner, and Marcheline Bertrand, who had studied with Lee Strasberg. Her good looks may derive from her ancestry, which is German and Slovak on her father’s side, and French-Canadian, Dutch, Polish, and remote Huron, on her mother’s side. At age eleven, Angelina began studying at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, where she was seen in several stage productions. She undertook some film studies at New York University and later joined the renowned Met Theatre Group in Los Angeles. At age 16, she took up a career in modeling and appeared in some music videos.
In the mid-1990s, Jolie appeared in various small films where she got good notices, including Hackers (1995) and Foxfire (1996). Her critical acclaim increased when she played strong roles in the made-for-TV movies True Women (1997), and in George Wallace (1997) which won her a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy nomination. Jolie’s acclaim increased even further when she played the lead role in the HBO production Gia (1998). This was the true life story of supermodel Gia Carangi, a sensitive wild child who was both brazen and needy and who had a difficult time handling professional success and the deaths of people who were close to her. Carangi became involved with drugs and because of her needle-using habits she became, at the tender age of 26, one of the first celebrities to die of AIDS. Jolie’s performance in Gia (1998) again garnered a Golden Globe Award and another Emmy nomination, and she additionally earned a SAG Award.
Angelina got a major break in 1999 when she won a leading role in the successful feature The Bone Collector (1999), starring alongside Denzel Washington. In that same year, Jolie gave a tour de force performance in Girl, Interrupted (1999) playing opposite Winona Ryder. The movie was a true story of women who spent time in a psychiatric hospital. Jolie’s role was reminiscent of Jack Nicholson‘s character in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), the role which won Nicholson his first Oscar. Unlike “Cuckoo”, “Girl” was a small film that received mixed reviews and barely made money at the box office. But when it came time to give out awards, Jolie won the triple crown — “Girl” propelled her to win the Golden Globe Award, the SAG Award and the Academy Award for best leading actress in a supporting role.
With her new-found prominence, Jolie began to get in-depth attention from the press. Numerous aspects of her controversial personal life became news. At her wedding to her Hackers (1995) co-star Jonny Lee Miller, she had displayed her husband’s name on the back of her shirt painted in her own blood. Jolie and Miller divorced, and in 2000, she married her Pushing Tin (1999) co-star Billy Bob Thornton. Jolie had become the fifth wife of a man twenty years her senior. During her marriage to Thornton, the spouses each wore a vial of the other’s blood around their necks. That marriage came apart in 2002 and ended in divorce. In addition, Jolie was estranged from her famous father, Jon Voight.
In 2000, Jolie was asked to star in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001). At first, she expressed disinterest, but then decided that the required training for the athletic role was intriguing. The Croft character was drawn from a popular video game. Lara Croft was a female cross between Indiana Jones and James Bond. When the film was released, critics were unimpressed with the final product, but critical acclaim wasn’t the point of the movie. The public paid $275 million for theater tickets to see a buffed up Jolie portray the adventuresome Lara Croft. Jolie’s father Jon Voight appeared in “Croft”, and during filming there was a brief rapprochement between father and daughter.
One of the Croft movie’s filming locations was Cambodia. While there, Jolie witnessed the natural beauty, culture and poverty of that country. She considered this an eye opening experience, and so began the humanitarian chapter of her life. Jolie began visiting refugee camps around the world and came to be formally appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Some of her experiences were written and published in her popular book “Notes from My Travels” whose profits go to UNHCR.
Jolie has stated that she now plans to spend most of her time in humanitarian efforts, to be financed by her actress salary. She devotes one third of her income to savings, one third to living expenses and one third to charity. In 2002, Angelina adopted a Cambodian refugee boy named Maddox, and in 2005, adopted an Ethiopian refugee girl named Zahara. Jolie’s dramatic feature film Beyond Borders (2003) parallels some of her real life humanitarian experiences although, despite the inclusion of a romance between two westerners, many of the movie’s images were too depressingly realistic — the film was not popular among critics or at the box office.
In 2004, Jolie began filming Mr. & Mrs. Smith(2005) with co-star Brad Pitt. The film became a major box office success. There were rumors that Pitt and Jolie had an affair while filming “Smith”. Jolie insisted that because her mother had been hurt by adultery, she herself could never participate in an affair with a married man, therefore there had been no affair with Pitt at that time. Nonetheless, Pitt separated from his wife Jennifer Aniston in January 2005 and, in the months that followed, he was frequently seen in public with Jolie, apparently as a couple. Pitt’s divorce was finalized later in 2005.
Jolie and Pitt announced in early 2006 that they would have a child together, and Jolie gave birth to daughter Shiloh that May. They also adopted a three-year-old Vietnamese boy named Pax. The couple, who married in 2014, continue to pursue movie and humanitarian projects, and now have a total of six children. Won 1 Oscar. Another 52 wins & 104 nominations.
Niece of Chip Taylor.
One of People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People in the World. 
She is extremely close to and protective of her older brother, James Haven. He often accompanies her to awards shows, and she used his name, or at least his memory, as inspiration in the “Where’s Jamie?!” scene in Girl, Interrupted (1999).
Has the letter “H” tattooed on the inside of her left wrist, which is a reference to two people she is close to who have this letter in their names: her brother, James Haven, and Timothy Hutton. She got the tattoo when she was dating Timothy but since their break-up she now says it’s only for James.
Has a tattoo of the Tennessee Williams quote, “A prayer for the wild at heart, kept in cages.” on her left forearm.
Was married to Jonny Lee Miller in a black leather pants and a white blouse. On the white blouse she painted her husband’s name in her own blood (across the back).
Tattoos include the Japanese sign for death, two pointy black American Indian symbols, a dragon, and a large black cross.
Daughter of Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand.
Collects knives and has an interest in mortuary science.
Angelina and her brother, to whom she is very close, publicly spoke out to deny false rumors that the two were having an incestuous love affair. 
Started modelling at age 14 and had a childhood dream of becoming a funeral director.
Named the world’s sexiest woman in Swedish magazine Café.
“Jolie” means “pretty” in French.
Goddaughter of actress Jacqueline Bisset.
Has the Latin phrase “Quod me nutrit me destruit” (“What nourishes me also destroys me”) tattooed across her stomach.
Appointed Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva, Switzerland after her visits to Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Pakistan. [August 2001]
Born at 9:09 AM PDT
“Introducing Angelina Jolie” in opening credits of Love Is All There Is (1996) suggests delayed release as Jolie already had at least two major screen roles by 1996.
On her father’s side, she has German and Slovak ancestry. Her mother was of approximately one half French-Canadian, one quarter Dutch, and one quarter Polish, descent. Angelina also has a remote Huron ancestor, her maternal eight times great-grandmother, Catherine Anenontha, who was born, c. 1649, in Ancienne-Lorette, Quebec. Angelina’s paternal grandparents were Elmer Vojtka, later Elmer Voight, and Barbara Kamp, while Angelina’s maternal grandparents were Rolland Frederic Bertrand and Lois June Gouwens.
Ranked #87 in Premiere magazine’s 2002 annual “Power 100” list.
In role as goodwill ambassador, she visited Tham Hin refugee camp in Thailand to check on conditions of 9,000 refugees from bordering Myanmar. [May 2002]
Announced in late 2002 that she was “in talks” to portray the late porn star Linda Lovelace.
Voted the 3rd Sexiest Female Movie Star in the Australian Empire Magazine. [September 2002]
She is the woman most American males would like to date on New Year’s Eve, according to a survey by movie rental chain Blockbuster Inc. Results of the survey showed her in the top spot with 35 percent of respondents saying she would be their number one pick for a hypothetical New Year’s Eve candlelit dinner. Rival star Catherine Zeta-Jones gained second spot in the online survey conducted by Blockbuster in November 2003. The survey had 31,969 responses.
Named “The sexiest woman alive” by the Swedish evening newspaper “Aftonbladet”. 
Voted #9 in the 2004 FHM UK list of 100 Sexiest Women in the World.
One of her favorite television series is King of the Hill (1997). She also enjoys the Game Show Network and Animal Planet.
She was voted #2 on VH1’s “100 Hottest Hotties”.
Graduated from Beverly Hills High School at age 16, the same school as Lenny Kravitz. She also went to school with Michael Klesic and Bahar Soomekh.
Ranked #6 in Stuff magazine’s “102 Sexiest Women in the World”. 
Voted #1 star most men would like to kiss under the mistletoe in a poll for Sky Movies.
Used to own several pet reptiles, including two snakes. Therefore she had no problem shooting the snake scene in Alexander (2004).
Went to elementary school at William O. Schaefer School in Tappan, New York. She graduated from El Rodeo elementary school in 1989.
Her father starred with her godmother Jacqueline Bisset in End of the Game (1975), which was directed by her godfather Maximilian Schell.
Voted Hollywood’s Sexiest Single Mother, in a poll for website Date.com.
Consulted with real-life FBI profiler Robert K. Ressler for her role in Taking Lives (2004).
In 2003, she was the first recipient of the Citizen of the World Award from the UN’s Correspondents’ Association for her work as a goodwill ambassador with the UNHCR.
Ranked #2 on Mr. Blackwell (aka Richard Selzer)’s Worst Dressed List. 
Named Esquire magazine’s Sexiest Woman Alive. 
Named Most Beautiful Woman in People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People in the World. More than 500,000 readers were polled. 
She was made an official citizen of Cambodia by the King for her ongoing efforts to help the environment there. [August 2005]
Was nominated for Worst Actress at the Razzie Awards for four straight years from 2002 to 2005, but each time was beaten by another of her fellow nominees.
Performed her own stunts in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) and received cuts from the chandelier scene as a result. She also set fire to her silk pajamas on the chandelier while she was doing her “bungee jumps” in the house. She was taken to a hospital with minor burns but resumed filming the next day.
Named #7 on Maxim magazine’s Hot 100 Women of 2005 list.
Ranked #1 in E! Television’s 2006 101 Sexiest Celebrity Bodies.
Gave her Oscar Statuette, Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and Critic Choice Award to her mother. She felt she didn’t need to hang on to awards.
Her godfather Maximilian Schell always gave her a doll as a birthday present, from her first to sixteenth. Sometimes it was a modern doll, made of plastic, sometimes it was an old and precious one, made of wood or porcelain.
Gave her mother the nickname “Great Lady”.
One of the first actresses to win 3 consecutive Golden Globes in 3 different categories: “Best Supporting Actress in a Mini Series”: George Wallace (1997), “Best Actress in a TV Movie or Mini Series”: Gia (1998), “Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture”: Girl, Interrupted (1999). Coincidentally, all her roles were based on real people.
Ranked and voted #3 by Ask men.com’s Top 99 Most Desirable Women of 2006.
(April 28, 2006) One of People magazine’s 100 Most Beautiful People in the World.
Named #1 in FHM’s “100 Sexiest Women in the World 2005” special supplement.
Has tattoos of the coordinates representing the birth countries of each of her kids (she even has the coordinates of France tattooed on her arm twice, one each for Knox and Viv), which cover up the Billy Bob Thornton tattoo. [June 2006]
Holds a Private Pilot Certificate with the Airplane, Single Engine, Land rating. This means that she is qualified to fly any single-engined aircraft based on land (i.e., no seaplanes) under visual flight rules only (i.e., no instrument qualifications yet so she cannot fly in conditions requiring instruments).
Has a fondness for Liverpool Football Club because her son Maddox “only wants to play for Liverpool”.
She donated many items to Rocky Stone to be given to less fortunate kids as part of the Toy Mountain Campaign.
Was the cover girl for the much anticipated issue of Forbes magazine, in which appeared the infamous Celebrity 100 list. [June 2006]
Named #4 on Maxim magazine’s Hot 100 Women of 2006 list.
Became the third actress to join the coveted $20 Million Club (after Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz), when she signed to do Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) for that amount.
Is a huge fan of author Ayn Rand.
Named #2 in FHM magazine’s “100 Sexiest Women in the World 2006” supplement.
Is left-handed and therefore had to have guns specially made so that she could reload them easily for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001).
Her mother Marcheline Bertrand died from ovarian cancer in Los Angeles after a 7½ year battle. [January 2007]
Chosen the greatest sex symbol of all time in the British television show “The 100 Greatest Sex Symbols”. [February 2007]
Was on the “Time 100”, a list of the world’s 100 most influential people in the world by “Time” magazine. 
Ranked #12 on Maxim magazine’s Hot 100 Women of 2007 list.
Is an alumna of the Lee Strasberg Institute as are Frank Miranda, Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Sally Field.
Ranked #33 on EW’s The 50 Smartest People in Hollywood. 
In 2007, Forbes magazine estimated her earnings for the year at $20 million.
Moved to New Orleans with Brad Pitt and their four children. 
In 2006, after the birth of her daughter Shiloh, she sold the first pictures of her newborn for $4,100,000. She later donated the profits to charity.
Ranked #3 in the Forbes Celebrity 100 list. 
The first male to hold Jolie in his arms was Charley Boorman. He’d served as a pageboy at the wedding of Jolie’s parents Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand during the Deliverance (1972) shoot, and later happened to be present during the delivery of Jolie. Boorman was just 8-years-old and Jolie was but an infant. Today Boorman quips that his epitaph should read: “I was the first man to get his hands on Angelina Jolie”.
Was considered for the role of Kelly Kapowski on Saved by the Bell (1989), which went to Tiffani Thiessen.
Since becoming a Goodwill Ambassador in 2001, she has visited over 20 countries.
In an interview about her movie Changeling (2008), Angie revealed that although her mom’s name was Marcheline, everyone called her “Marshmallow”, because she was such a softie.
Went to Beverly Hills High School with writer/actor Quincy Rose, son of Mickey Rose, and Antonia Bennett, daughter of Tony Bennett.
Friends with Gwen Stefani.
Voted in first place in a poll to find the 100 Greatest Sex Symbols for Britain’s Channel 4. Elvis Presley was runner-up. [July 2009]
Victoria Bonya named her daughter after her.
When Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton first married, the couple moved into the Beverly Hills home formerly owned by Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash. 
Was considered for the role of Natasha Rushman/Black Widow in Iron Man 2 (2010) after Emily Blunt dropped out of the project, but Scarlett Johansson was cast instead.
Replaced Charlize Theron as Elise Clifton-Ward in The Tourist (2010) shortly before filming began.
Was originally cast as Dagny Taggart in Atlas Shrugged: Part I (2011) before being replaced by Charlize Theron, who in turn was replaced by Taylor Schilling.
Was 6 months pregnant with her daughter Shiloh when she completed filming The Good Shepherd (2006).
Returned to work 4 months after giving birth to her daughter Shiloh in order to begin filming A Mighty Heart (2007).
Was considered for the role of Ryan Stone in Gravity (2013), but Sandra Bullock was cast instead.
Was born Angelina Jolie Voight, however in 2002, she dropped her surname “Voight” and began using her middle name “Jolie”.
Ranked #90 in the 2011 FHM list of “100 Sexiest Women in the World”. Previously, she ranked #70 in 2010, #14 in 2009, #9 in 2008, #8 in 2007, #4 in 2006, #3 in 2005, #9 in 2004, #32 in 2003, #32 in 2002, #61 in 2001, and #68 in 2000.
Was named after costumer designer Angela Alexander who designed costumes for the film The All-American Boy (1973) that her father Jon Voight starred in. Jon and Angela became good friends on the set, and he became fascinated when she told him her original Greek name was “Angeliki”, which in Greek means “Angelic Messenger of God”. During the film’s shoot, Jon Voight came to Angela on the set and told her that one day if he and his wife (then actress Marcheline Bertrand) ever had a daughter he was going to name her “Angelica”. They had only had a son at the time; Jolie was born two years later. Although he originally named her Angelica, a year later after his divorce with Marcheline, she began calling her “Angelina.”.
Was 2 months pregnant with twins Knox and Vivienne when she completed filming Changeling (2008).
Returned to work 8 months after giving birth to twins Vivienne and Knox in order to begin filming Salt (2010).
Ranked #10 in Men’s Health 100 Hottest Women of All Time. 
The three oldest children of Angelina and Brad Pitt were adopted: sons Maddox Chivan Jolie-Pitt (born on August 5, 2001, adopted by Angelina on March 10, 2002 and by Brad in early 2006) and Pax Thien Jolie-Pitt (born on November 29, 2003, adopted by Angelina on March 15, 2007 and by Brad on February 21, 2008), and daughter Zahara Marley Jolie-Pitt (born on January 8, 2005, adopted by Angelina on July 6, 2005, and by Brad in early 2006).
Delivered all her biological children via scheduled Caesarean sections.
Was a guest writer for The Economist’s special edition The World in 2008. In an article entitled A Year For Accountability, she stated that, “accountability is perhaps the only force powerful enough to break the cycle of violence and retribution that marks so many conflicts… Common sense tells us that when risks are weighed, decisions are made differently. When crimes against humanity are punished consistently and severely, the killers’ calculus will change.”
Cohabiting with Brad Pitt since 2005.
Gave birth to her 4th child at age 30, a daughter Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt, on May 27, 2006. Her father is Brad Pitt.
Gave birth to twins (her 5th and 6th child) at age 33, a son, Knox Léon Jolie-Pitt, and a daughter, Vivienne Marcheline Jolie-Pitt, on July 12, 2008. Their father is Brad Pitt.
Jolie wrote an Op/Ed newspaper article titled “My Medical Choice” that was published on May 14, 2013, in The New York Times in which she revealed that she had undergone a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction because she is a carrier of a “faulty” gene, BRCA1. Her doctors advised her that that gene, along with her family history of breast cancer (including her mother’s death at age 56) made it much more likely that she would have developed breast cancer (the medical estimate was that she had an 87% risk of breast cancer), so she elected to have the surgery as a preventative measure.
Her maternal aunt, Debbie Martin, died from breast cancer at age 61. [May 2013]
She handpicked Lana Del Rey to perform the song “Once Upon a Dream” as the main theme for Maleficent (2014).
Was the 116th actress to receive an Academy Award; she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Girl, Interrupted (1999) at The 72nd Annual Academy Awards (2000) on March 26, 2000.
Was made a honorary Dame by Queen Elizabeth II on June 13, 2014 in London.
Greatly admires Johnny Depp. She worked with him on The Tourist (2010).
Is one of 15 Oscar-winning actresses to have been born in the state of California. The others are Fay Bainter, Gloria Grahame, Jo Van Fleet, Liza Minnelli, Tatum O’Neal, Diane Keaton, Sally Field, Anjelica Huston, Cher, Jodie Foster, Helen Hunt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Marcia Gay Harden and Brie Larson.
Under gone a preventive double mastectomy, two years later had reconstructive surgery implanting breast implants.(Feb 2013).
In a multilingual household her kids speak French and according to Angelina they all have their own respective languages. Shiloh is learning the Khmer, Pax is learning Vietnamese, Maddox is learning German and Russian, Zahara is focused on French, Vivienne is learning Arabic,and Knox is learning American Sign Language.
She and Brad Pitt married in California 14 August 2014 and in southern France 23 August 2014.
Filed for divorce from Brad Pitt on September 20, 2016.
Counts Sidney Lumet’s The Hill (1965) as a film that had a particularly profound effect on her. A great admirer of Lumet’s filmmaking style, Angelina keeps a copy of his 1995 book “Making Movies” as her frequent film reference bible.
Her former realtor is the late Elaine Young.
Had her ovaries removed to prevent ovarian cancer which runs in her family.[March 2015].
Developed Bell’s Palsy and hypertension in 2016.
- Therapy? I don’t need that. The roles that I choose are my therapy.
- Because I am a bad girl, people always automatically think that I am a bad girl. Or that I carry a dark secret with me or that I’m obsessed with death. The truth is that I am probably the least morbid person one can meet. If I think more about death than some other people, it is probably because I love life more than they do.
- You’re young, you’re drunk, you’re in bed, you have knives; shit happens.
- And my dad, you’re a great actor but you’re a better father.
- [on if she ever caught her husband Billy Bob Thornton cheating] I’ve told Billy if I ever caught him cheating, I wouldn’t kill him because I love his children and they need a dad. But I would beat him up. I know where all of his sports injuries are. And I’d beat her, too!
- I’ll make it real simple, I’m a 36-C. In the game, she’s a double-D. In the movie [Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)], she’s a D. We split the difference… [Lara] is much more athletic, and she has smaller breasts, but she’s still Lara Croft, so there.
- I seem to be getting a lot of things pushed my way that are strong women. It’s like people see Hackers (1995) and they send me offers to play tough women with guns, the kind who wear no bra and a little tank top. I’d like to play strong women who are also very feminine.
- I’d like to believe that the people that have supported me in my work or identified with me in films, the people that feel they know me, they do and they don’t have misconceptions – they understand. I believe that.
- [on her split from husband Billy Bob Thornton] I’m angry. I’m sad. It’s a very difficult and sad time. It was a real deep connection, a deep marriage, so it’s not that simple to say this or that one thing caused the problems. It’s clear to me that our priorities shifted overnight. He’s focused on his music and career. I’m focused on my baby. It comes down to what’s important to you.
- [People magazine – July 8, 1996] There’s something about death that is comforting. The thought that you could die tomorrow frees you to appreciate life now.
- [on playing Olympias in Alexander (2004)] I felt that if I lived at that time, with the dangers she had and the threats she had and the lack of power she had as a woman, I would not have been that different from her. And I thought I also just saw her as a mother who really would push her son at a time that if he didn’t get the throne, he didn’t acquire a certain kind of strength and ability and greatness, he would probably just die or be killed or be exiled. So out of concern, out of love for your own, just to come from this place that seems very much like the horrible mafia father, but in fact it was for his own survival that she was focused on, which made it very easy for me to focus on thinking of my own son and what he had to do to protect himself from bad things that could hurt him.
- If you don’t get out of the box you’ve been raised in, you won’t understand how much bigger the world is.
- [on the superficiality of the industry] We are setting an example of what we think is beautiful and you really want to put that much make up on me?
- You might never find out that you are useful for all the right reasons – and not all those stupid things that people tell you you’re useful for.
- [CNN International Edition – January 29, 2005] My role as goodwill ambassador has made my work as a film star relatively dull. I can’t find anything that interests me enough to go back to work. I’m simply not excited about anything. I’m not excited about going to a film set.
- [on what she does with the money she makes each year] Save one-third, live on one-third and give away one-third.
- If I make a fool of myself, who cares? I’m not frightened by anyone’s perception of me.
- If I think more about death than some other people, it is probably because I love life more than they do.
- Love one person, take care of them until you die. You know, raise kids. Have a good life. Be a good friend. And try to be completely who you are. And figure out what you personally love. And like go after it with everything you’ve got no matter how much it takes.
- [Regarding the possibility of marriage with her current beau and father of her child, Brad Pitt] We have both been married before so it’s not marriage that necessarily kept some people together.
-  I’m drawn to kids that are already born. I think some people are meant to do certain things, and I believe I’m meant to find my children in the world somewhere and not necessarily have them genetically.
- [interview with Ann Curry] I’m in a strange, I suppose, place in my life. I think that happens when you lose a parent, where you drop into a different kind of serious. And yet, at the same time, you want to laugh and enjoy as much as possible every day. I’m hanging on to my family really tight at this moment, and, because of that, trying to be as good a woman as I can be in my life. Dammit, you got me crying.
- It’s alright. It’s a part of life… I lost my mom. It’s a natural thing for a child to lose a parent. I lost my mom too young, but it happened. And I’m happy she’s out of pain, because I love her and she’s my friend.
- Not many people know this about me but I’m a natural blonde. My hair went from light blonde naturally to a darker kind of blonde. My mother dyed my hair dark when I was a child as I loved the look then. So I’m basically a natural blonde.
- [on making action movies] I think there’s always going to be that side of me. [Harrison Ford] is doing it, and he’s doing it well, (so) it looks like I’ve got some more time.
- 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.
- My natural color is dark blonde. But when I was four or five, my mother dyed my hair dark brown, and she decided to keep it that way. And I stuck with that.
- [on Cambodia and her humanitarian work] One of the first camps I went to had 400,000 people. It was a sea of human misery. In Sierra Leone, I saw tens of thousands with their arms and legs cut off [by rebels], orphaned children. I felt completely overwhelmed. I cried constantly. I felt guilty for everything that I had. Then I realized I wasn’t doing these people any favors by crying. I kept getting angry at the injustices until I couldn’t think straight. I took a deep breath and focused on how I could help. I discovered that I was useful as a person. When I met suffering people, it put my life into perspective. It slammed me into a bigger picture of the world.
- I was actually quite a cool kid. I was not tough. I was certainly independent and bold. I was never teased. I never had any trouble from anybody… I was never satisfied. I had trouble sleeping. I didn’t really fit. I always feel that I’m searching for something deeper, something more… You want to meet other people that challenge you with ideas or with power or with passion. I wanted to live very fully. I wanted to live many lives and explore many things.
- [on Brad Pitt] (He made me) a better person. I’ve learned so much from him, as you do when you come together with another person. You both make each other better. You both learn about the best of each other, and recognize the things where you’re failing, or where you need to step up. When it’s a great partnership, you really are patient with each other.
- I grew up in front of everybody, really. The big years of exploration. There was a certain madness I was going through. I learned a lot about myself. People tend to sum up times in your life and simplify. I would say there’s a way of being bold when you’re young that seems very brave… What’s perceived as tough is a very funny thing. I think to be a parent is one of the scariest, boldest things to do, as opposed to, um, getting a tattoo… Much more than jumping into a pool when you’re 20.
- There’s certainly a side of me that isn’t completely… sane. Or completely ‘even’ all the time. We all have our dark sides.
- When I first read the script for Changeling (2008), I couldn’t put it down but then I said ‘no’ immediately. I didn’t want to go into this project because it was too upsetting. But then afterwards I couldn’t stop talking about her. I found myself sitting with people wanting them to know about this extraordinary woman and you wouldn’t believe what happened to her, and what these people did to her in this time in our history. In the end, it became a story about democracy in action, about justice… even suffering a great loss and fighting through it and making a change for the future for other people, and questioning the government and the police. So, I found it very inspiring and really wanted people to know about her and felt like it was an extra piece of justice for her.
- [on her friendship with Gwen Stefani and their children spending time together] All of the kids are very close in age. They’ve attended each other’s birthday parties and gotten together several times at each other’s homes. Somehow Gwen and I keep ending up pregnant at the exact same time.
- It was nice for me to play with other girls; I don’t really have girlfriends in movies, if you’ve noticed. Well, I have a few girlfriends, I just… I stay at home a lot. I’m just not very social. I don’t do a lot with them, and I’m very homebound. I’ll talk to my family, I talk to Brad… But I don’t know, I don’t have a lot of friends I talk to. He is really the only person I talk to.
-  I think I’m going to have to give up the acting as the kids hit the teenage years, anyway, too much to manage at home. I have enjoyed being an actress. I am so grateful to the job and I have had great experiences and I have even be able to tell stories and be a part of stories that mattered and I have done things for fun, but… I will do some films and I am so fortunate to have the job, it’s a really lucky profession to be a part of and I enjoy it. But if it went away tomorrow I would be very happy to be home with the children. I wake up in the morning as a mum and I turn on the news like everybody else and I see what’s happening and I want to be part of the world in a positive way.
- The strong preying upon the weak and the weak, upon achieving strength, extracting retribution: this is the nature of so many of the world’s conflicts. The role of aggressor and victim may alternate over time, the tools of destruction may become more sophisticated, but little else changes.
- [on her double mastectomy, 2013] I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.
- [on accepting the title role in Maleficent (2014)] The artist in me felt that it was time to do something I wasn’t comfortable with. I was actually a bit nervous to take her on. I don’t have a big theatre voice. I don’t do things that are kind of comedic, and I’m a fairy. But it’s great to jump into things you’re not sure of.
- [on the unplanned casting of her five-year-old daughter Vivienne as the young Princess Aurora] The first day was the scene where the princess had to catch the butterfly. So I was actually holding the ball [with the butterfly] on the end! bouncing up and down and dancing, trying to make her laugh. And Daddy was on the edge of the digital cliff she had to jump off, making faces while her brothers and sisters were egging her on. I was actually shocked that she was doing so well.
- We never wanted our kids to be actors. But we also wanted them to be around film and part of Mommy and Daddy’s life and not be kept from it either. If and when they decide to be actors when they are older, I would ask that acting not be the center of their lives, because I don’t think it is healthy.
- It may sound cliché, but when you feel beautiful and strong on the inside, it shows on the outside.
- I don’t want to be that person in the spotlight. I’m much more at home sitting with the sound guys and the grips, in my boots, working.
- I think I connect to people who could be written off as wild or dark, or who are just full of fire and looking for a place to put that fire. It’s an important lesson to learn, and it’s something I did learn: you live on behalf of others and you’re happier and you have purpose. And you have a great excuse to have all that fire.
- Oh God, I struggle with low self-esteem all the time! I think everyone does. I have so much wrong with me, it’s unbelievable!
- [on Johnny Depp] He’s so funny and so fun to hang out with. He’s just that friend you’re so happy to come to work and do scenes with. Plus, he’s such a brilliant actor. He’s often thought of so much for his deep character work, but it really comes from an artist who is willing to try things. He’s not just somebody who’s doing these fun [movies]; he’s a real experimental deeply-feeling artist, who gives a lot and is very gracious on set to everybody and to his fellow actors. He’s just a pleasure.
- I want to say when I was little, like Maleficent (2014), I was told I was different. And I felt out of place, too loud, too full of fire, never good at sitting still, never good at fitting in and then one day I realized something. Something I hope you all realize. Different is good! So, don’t fit in. Don’t sit still. Don’t ever try to do less than you are. When somebody tells you you’re different, smile and hold your head up high and be proud. And as your villain, I would also say – cause a little trouble. It’s good for you.
- [on Amy Pascal’s remarks on her] Someone told me. There are certain things that bother me and certain things that don’t. Personal attacks on me? I think I’m just so used to it. Honestly, my first instinct was that I was worried about Amy. I had someone call her and ask if she was O.K. Not because I’m a saint, but because I think we have to look at the bigger picture. She’s got kids. I knew it was going to unravel for her.
- [on By the Sea (2015)] I wrote it before I ever had anything I’d written become a film, and I wrote with a great freedom of believing nobody would ever see it. I wanted to understand grief; and I think because of my mother’s passing and certain aspects of her life where she was very unfulfilled as an artist and as a woman – I wanted to meditate on that, and have the freedom to work thinking of film, not thinking of the audience, not thinking of what would be commercial, not thinking of how to answer everything but just to be in a place with these people. And so I picked three different couples that represented a different time: one who had yet to experience it, one couple who were sitting right in the middle of it and then the two older men who have come out the other end of it and understand it and so I just drove one couple up to a hotel and then wrote from the beginning to the end.
- [on In the Land of Blood and Honey (2011)] It was something I didn’t trust out of my hands. So by default I ended up putting myself in as director.
- [on working with her husband Brad Pitt on By the Sea (2015)] You write with what you know in your mind, so I wrote a little bit with us in my head – I’m a woman of Vanessa’s age and this is a marriage and marriage is familiar – and I first showed it to Brad years ago, we talked about it and he was very supportive, but it was kind of that “funny, crazy one” that was just on my desk, and it was almost referred to as the one you’d never do – you know, “That would be a crazy idea!” – but at a certain point I think as artists we all get to that place where we want to do the crazy one, and we want to not feel safe and we want to remember what it is to just play and maybe we make a mess but we want to remember what it is to be free, and so I think we were feeling that and wanted to just go out and be together and work together and try something and succeed or fail, we wanted to do it together.
- [on By the Sea (2015)] The 70s was such an extraordinary time for film and politics, and I was born in the 70s so I think you’re always interested in when you were younger, and what your parents might have been like, and what that time was, and your reference point….but I found it a really compelling time for art and there was a certain freedom in films at that time and certain films of that time I think also discussed very heavy things. So, in a way, there wasn’t a particular film that I was trying to copy, but there was a feeling that if I could just allow myself to remember those films and the time they took, and the nuance and the heaviness of the subject-matter….so, it was inspiring.
- [on the casting process of First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers (2017)] But it was very hard to find a little Loung. And so it was what they call a slum school. I don’t think that’s a very nice word for it, but a school for kids in very poor areas. And I think, I mean they didn’t know. We just went in and – you just go in and do some auditions with the kids. And it’s not really an audition with children. We had this game where it would be – and I wasn’t there and they didn’t know what they were really doing. They kind of said, “Oh, a camera’s coming up and we want to play a game with you.” And the game for that character was “We’re going to put some money on the table. Think of something that you need that money for.” Sometimes it was money, sometimes it was a cookie. [Laughter] “And then take it.” And then we would catch them. “We’re going to catch you, and we’d like you to try to lie that you didn’t have it.” So it was very interesting seeing the kids and how they would – some were very conscious of the camera. They were actually – there are so many talented kids in this country. But Srey Moch [Sareum Srey Moch] was the only child that stared at that money for a very, very long time before she picked it up, and then bravely, brazenly lying, like was trying to hide, but then (…) when she was forced to give it back became very kind of like strong, emotional, she became overwhelmed with emotion that she was – and she just – all of these different things flooded out. And I don’t think she or her family would mind me saying when she was later asked what that money was for, she said her grandfather died and they didn’t have enough money for a nice funeral. [transcript from interview with Evgenia Peretz for Vanity Fair, recorded on two separate devices, 2017]