Angelina Jolie Reflects on Being ‘Hurt,’ the emotional distress she has experienced, and the potential for descending into a far more profound state of despair had it not been for her children.
In the most recent edition of Vogue, the actress and philanthropist is featured on the cover in a spread promoting her clothing line, Atelier Jolie. While fashion is the main emphasis of the article, the 48-year-old Maleficent actor spent a good portion of the interview talking about her six kids: Maddox, 22, Pax, 19, Zahara, 18, Shiloh, 17, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 15.
Jolie doesn’t acknowledge her 2016 divorce from Brad Pitt or even mention his name in the interview, despite allusions to darker moments in her life. However, the time frame she mentions is consistent with their split.
I was 26 when I became a mother. My entire life changed. Having children saved me and taught me to be in this world differently,” she told the publication. “I think, recently, I would’ve gone under in a much darker way had I not wanted to live for them. They’re better than me because you want your children to be.”
She continued, saying she hoped her children would find her to be a “safe place” and a source of “stability,” before confessing that she is also the one “they laugh at.”
While discussing how her career in fashion has been “therapeutic” for her at a time of personal difficulty, Jolie proceeded to talk about the state of her family.
“I want a woman to feel safe enough that she can be soft. After I went through something where I was hurt, I had a therapist ask if I would try wearing a flowing garment. It sounds silly, but I assumed that pants and boots projected a ‘tougher’ look, a stronger me,” she shared. “But was I strong enough to be soft? At the time, no. I felt vulnerable.”
Explaining that she’s currently “in transition as a person,” she admitted to feeling “a bit down these days.” Said Jolie: “I don’t feel like I’ve been myself for a decade, in a way, which I don’t want to get into.”
The actress said that seven years ago, she made a conscious decision to only accept projects that “didn’t require long shoots” away from her family, and that since then, they have “had a lot of healing to do” and are “still finding our footing.”
She went on to say that the Atelier has helped her in other ways: “I think part of this has also been therapeutic for me,” she said. “to work in a creative space with people you trust and to rediscover yourself.” I intend to make significant adjustments to my lifestyle. And this one faces outward.
It’s strange, as Jolie said in the story, that she and her kids aren’t “overly ‘fashionable,'” given their new enterprise. But she was clear that she never dictates her children’s attire, saying, “Nobody has to go anywhere if they don’t want to, and if they don’t want to dress up, they don’t have to.”
She said, “I want them to be their own people, with their own unique flair.