Angelina Jolie (born Angelina Jolie Voight on June 4, 1975) is an American film actor and a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency. She was cited as one of the world's most beautiful women in 2006 by American celebrity magazine People, and her off-screen life is widely reported. Jolie has received three Golden Globe Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and an Academy Award.
Though she made her screen debut as a child alongside her father Jon Voight in the 1982 film Lookin' to Get Out, Jolie's acting 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 Hackers (1995). She starred in the critically acclaimed biographical 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 international fame as a result of her portrayal of video game heroine Lara Croft in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), and since then has established herself as one of the best-known and highest-paid actresses in Hollywood. She has had her biggest commercial successes with the action-comedy Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) and the animated film Kung Fu Panda (2008).
Divorced from actors Jonny Lee Miller and Billy Bob Thornton, Jolie currently lives with actor Brad Pitt, in a relationship that has attracted worldwide media attention. Jolie and Pitt have three adopted children, Maddox, Pax, and Zahara, as well as three biological children, Shiloh, Knox, and Vivienne. Jolie has promoted humanitarian causes throughout the world, and is noted for her work with refugees through UNHCR.
Early Life and Family
Born in Los Angeles, California, Jolie is the daughter of actors Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand. She is the niece of Chip Taylor, sister of James Haven and the god-daughter of Jacqueline Bisset and Maximilian Schell. On her father's side, Jolie is of Slovak and German descent, and on her mother's side she is French Canadian and is said to be part Iroquois, although Voight claims Bertrand is "not seriously Iroquois," and they merely said it to enhance his ex-wife's exotic background.
After her parents' separation in 1976, Jolie and her brother were raised by their mother, who abandoned her acting ambitions and moved with them to Palisades, New York. As a child Jolie regularly saw movies with her mother and later explained that this had inspired her interest in acting; she had not been influenced by her father. When she was eleven years old, the family moved back to Los Angeles and Jolie 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. She later recalled her time as a student at Beverly Hills High School (later Moreno High School), and her feeling of isolation among the children of some of the area's more affluent families. Jolie's mother survived on a more modest income, and Jolie often wore second-hand clothes. She was teased by other students who also targeted her for her distinctive features, for being extremely thin, and for wearing glasses and braces. Her self-esteem was further diminished when her initial attempts at modeling proved unsuccessful. She started to cut herself; 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."
At the age of 14, she dropped out of her acting classes and dreamed of becoming a funeral director. During this period, she wore black, dyed her hair purple 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 returned to theatre studies and graduated from high school, 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 has been long estranged from her father, though reconciliation was attempted, and he appeared with her in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001). In July 2002, Jolie filed a request to legally change her name to "Angelina Jolie", dropping Voight as her surname; the name change was made official on September 12, 2002. In August of the same year, Voight claimed that his daughter had "serious emotional problems" on Access Hollywood. Jolie later indicated that she no longer wished to pursue a relationship with her father, and said, "My father and I don't speak. I don't hold any anger toward him. I don't believe that somebody's family becomes their blood. Because my son's adopted, and families are earned." She stated that she did not want to publicize her reasons for her estrangement from her father, but because she had adopted her son, she did not think it was healthy for her to associate with Voight.
Early Work, 1993–1997
Jolie began working as a fashion model when she was 14 years old. She was signed with Finesse Model Management and modeled in both the United States and Europe, working mainly in Los Angeles, New York and London. At that time she also appeared in numerous music videos, including those of Meat Loaf ("Rock & Roll Dreams Come Through"), Antonello Venditti ("Alta Marea"), Lenny Kravitz ("Stand by My Woman"), and The Lemonheads ("It's About Time"). At the age of 16, Jolie returned to theatre and played her first role as a German dominatrix. 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 appeared in five of her brother's student films, made while he attended the USC School of Cinematic Arts, but her professional movie career began in 1993, when she played her first leading role in the low-budget film 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. Following a supporting role in the independent film Without Evidence, Jolie starred as Kate "Acid Burn" Libby in her first Hollywood picture, Hackers (1995), where she met her first husband Jonny Lee Miller. 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 appeared as Gina Malacici 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 was a youngster, named Eleanor Rigby, who falls for Danny Aiello, while he takes a shine to her mother, Anne Archer. In 1996, she also played 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 Jolie's 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, a film portraying a surgeon who is stripped of his medical license and is lured deep into the criminal world where he meets Jolie's character, Claire. The movie was not received well by critics and Roger Ebert noted that "Angelina Jolie finds certain warmth in a kind of role that is usually hard and aggressive; she seems too nice to be [a criminal's] girlfriend, and maybe she is." She then appeared in the TV movie True Women, a historical romantic drama set in the American West, and based on the book by Janice Woods Windle. That year she also played a stripper who leaves mid-performance to wander New York City in the Rolling Stones music video for the song "Anybody Seen My Baby?".
Jolie's career prospects began to improve after her performance as Cornelia Wallace in the 1997 biographical film George Wallace for which she won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Emmy. The film was praised by critics and, among other awards, received the Golden Globe for Best Miniseries/Motion Picture made for TV. She played the second wife of the segregationist Governor of Alabama who was shot and paralyzed while running for President. The film starred Gary Sinise and was directed by John Frankenheimer.
In 1998, Jolie starred in HBO's Gia, portraying supermodel Gia Carangi. The film depicted a world of sex, drugs and emotional drama, and chronicled the destruction of Carangi's life and career as a result of her drug addiction, and her decline and death from AIDS. 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 and was nominated for an Emmy. She also won her first Screen Actors Guild Award. In accordance with Lee Strasberg's method acting Jolie reportedly 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."
Following Gia, Jolie moved to New York and stopped acting for a short period of time, because she felt that she had "nothing else to give". She enrolled at New York University to study filmmaking and attended writing classes. She described it as "just good for me to collect myself" on Inside the Actors Studio.
Jolie returned to film as Gloria McNeary in the 1998 gangster movie Hell's Kitchen, and later that year 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 by the National Board of Review.
In 1999, she starred in Mike Newell's comedy-drama Pushing Tin, co-starring John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, and Cate Blanchett. Jolie played Thornton's seductive wife. The film received a lukewarm reception from critics and Jolie's character was particularly criticized. The Washington Post wrote, "Mary (Angelina Jolie), 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 worked with Denzel Washington in The Bone Collector (1999), an adapted crime novel written by Jeffery Deaver. Jolie played Amelia Donaghy, 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 Lisa Rowe in Girl, Interrupted (1999), a film that tells the story of mental patient Susanna Kaysen, and which was adapted from Kaysen's original memoir Girl, Interrupted. While Winona Ryder played the main character in what was hoped to be a comeback for her, the film instead became the "welcome-to-Hollywood coronation" for Jolie. Jolie won her third Golden Globe, 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" and Roger Ebert wrote about her performance:
"Jolie is emerging as one of the great wild spirits of current movies, a loose cannon who somehow has deadly aim."
In 2000, Jolie appeared in her first summer blockbuster, Gone In 60 Seconds, in which she played Sarah "Sway" Wayland, 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 was a welcome relief after the heavy role of Lisa Rowe, and it became her highest grossing movie up until then, earning $237 million internationally.
International Success, 2001–Present
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 master a British 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 Magazine commented, "Angelina Jolie was born to play Lara Croft but [director] Simon West makes her journey into a game of Frogger." The movie was a huge international success nonetheless, earning $275 million worldwide, and launched her global reputation as a female action star.
Jolie then starred alongside Antonio Banderas as the mail-order bride Julia Russell 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 played Lanie Kerrigan in Life or Something Like It, a film about an ambitious TV 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 in 2003. The sequel, while not as lucrative as the original, earned $156 million at the international box-office. Later that year Jolie starred in Beyond Borders, a film about aid workers in Africa. Although reflecting Jolie's real-life interest in promoting humanitarian relief, the film 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 Illeana Scott, 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 Lola, an angelfish in the animated DreamWorks movie Shark Tale. Also in 2004, Jolie had a brief appearance in Kerry Conran's Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, a science fiction adventure film shot with actors entirely in front of a bluescreen. Jolie then played Olympias in Alexander (2004), Oliver Stone's biographical film about the life of Alexander the Great. The film failed domestically, with Stone attributing its poor reception to disapproval of the depiction of Alexander's bisexuality, but it succeeded internationally, with revenue of $139 million outside the United States.
Jolie's only movie in 2005 was the action-comedy Mr. & Mrs. Smith. The film, directed by Doug Liman, tells the story of a bored married couple who find out that they are both secret assassins. Jolie starred as Jane Smith alongside Brad Pitt. The film was well received and 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, one of the biggest hits 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, played by Matt Damon. Jolie played the supporting role of Margaret 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 the life in 27 locations around the globe during a single week and features fellow actors such as Jude Law, Hilary Swank, Colin Farrell and Jonny Lee Miller. The film is intended to be distributed through the National Education Association, mainly in high schools. Jolie starred as Mariane Pearl in Michael Winterbottom's documentary-style drama A Mighty Heart (2007), about the kidnap and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan. The picture is based on Mariane Pearl's memoirs A Mighty Heart and had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. The Hollywood Reporter described Jolie's performance as "well-measured and moving", played "with respect and a firm grasp on a difficult accent." The film earned her a fourth Golden Globe and a third Screen Actors Guild Award nomination. Jolie also played Grendel's mother in Robert Zemeckis' animated epic Beowulf (2007) which was created through the motion capture technique.
Jolie then appeared alongside James McAvoy and Morgan Freeman in the action movie Wanted (2008), an adaptation of a graphic novel by Mark Millar. The film received favorable reviews and proved to be an international success, earning $302 million worldwide. In 2008, she also provided the voice of Master Tigress in the DreamWorks animated movie Kung Fu Panda; with revenue of $626 million worldwide it became her highest grossing film to date. The same year, Jolie played Christine Collins, the lead in Clint Eastwood's drama Changeling, which had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.
Jolie first became personally aware of worldwide humanitarian crises while filming Tomb Raider in Cambodia. She eventually turned to UNHCR for more information on international trouble spots. In the following months she visited refugee camps around the world to learn more about the situation and the conditions in these areas. In February 2001, Jolie 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 coming months she returned to Cambodia for two weeks and later met with Afghan refugees in Pakistan where she donated $1 million for Afghan refugees in response to an international UNHCR emergency appeal. She insisted on covering all costs related to her missions and shared the same rudimentary working and living conditions as UNHCR field staff on all of her visits.
UNHCR named Jolie a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador on August 27, 2001 at UNHCR headquarters in Geneva. In a press conference Jolie explained her motives for joining the refugee agency:
"We cannot close ourselves off to information and ignore the fact that millions of people are out there suffering. I honestly want to help. I don't believe I feel differently from other people. I think we all want justice and equality, a chance for a life with meaning. All of us would like to believe that if we were in a bad situation someone would help us."
During her first three years as Goodwill Ambassador, Jolie went on field missions, visiting refugees and internally displaced persons around the world. 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." In 2002, Jolie visited the Tham Hin refugee camp in Thailand and Colombian refugees in Ecuador. Jolie later went to various UNHCR facilities in Kosovo and paid a visit to Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya with refugees mainly from Sudan. She also met with Angolan refugees while filming Beyond Borders in Namibia.
In 2003, Jolie embarked on a six-day mission to Tanzania where she traveled to western border camps, hosting Congolese refugees and she paid a week-long visit to Sri Lanka. She later concluded a four-day mission to Russia as she traveled to North Caucasus. Concurrently with the release of her movie Beyond Borders she published Notes from My Travels, a collection of journal entries that chronicle her early field missions (2001–2002). During a private stay in Jordan in December 2003 she asked to visit Iraqi refugees in Jordan's eastern desert and later that month she went to Egypt to meet Sudanese refugees.
On her first U.N. trip within the United States, Jolie went to Arizona in 2004, visiting detained asylum seekers at three facilities and the Southwest Key Program, a facility for unaccompanied children in Phoenix. She flew to Chad in June 2004, paying a visit to border sites and camps for refugees who had fled fighting in western Sudan's Darfur region. Four months later she returned to the region, this time going directly into West Darfur. Also in 2004, Jolie met with Afghan refugees in Thailand and on a private stay to Lebanon during the Christmas holidays, she visited UNHCR's regional office in Beirut, as well as some young refugees and cancer patients in the Lebanese capital.
In 2005, Jolie visited Pakistani camps containing Afghani refugees, and she also met with Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz; she returned to Pakistan with Brad Pitt during the Thanksgiving weekend in November to see the impact of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake. In 2006, Jolie and Pitt flew to Haiti and visited a school supported by Yéle Haïti, a charity founded by Haitian-born hip hop musician Wyclef Jean, and while filming A Mighty Heart in India, Jolie met with Afghan and Burmese refugees in New Delhi. She spent Christmas Day 2006 with Colombian refugees in San José, Costa Rica where she handed out presents. In 2007, Jolie returned to Chad for a two-day mission to assess the deteriorating security situation for refugees from Darfur; Jolie and Pitt subsequently donated $1 million to three relief organizations in Chad and Darfur. Jolie also made her first visit to Syria and twice went to Iraq, where she met with Iraqi refugees as well as multi-national forces and U.S. troops.
Jolie then became more involved in promoting humanitarian causes on a political level. She regularly attends World Refugee Day in Washington, D.C., and she was an invited speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2005 and 2006. Jolie also began lobbying humanitarian interests in the U.S. capital, where she met with members of Congress at least 20 times from 2003. She explained in Forbes:
"As much as I would love to never have to visit Washington, that's the way to move the ball."
In 2005, Jolie took part at a National Press Club luncheon, where she announced the founding of the National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children, an organization that provides free legal-aid to asylum-seeking children with no legal representation which Jolie personally funded with a donation of $500,000 for its first two years. Jolie also pushed for several bills to aid refugees and vulnerable children in the Third World. In addition to her political involvement, Jolie began using her public profile to promote humanitarian causes through the mass media. She filmed an MTV special, The Diary Of Angelina Jolie & Dr. Jeffrey Sachs in Africa, portraying her and noted economist Dr. Jeffrey Sachs on a trip to a remote group of villages in Western Kenya. In 2006, Jolie announced the founding of the Jolie/Pitt Foundation which made initial donations to Global Action for Children and Doctors Without Borders of $1 million each. Jolie also co-chairs the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, founded at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2006, which helps fund education programs for children affected by conflict.
Jolie has received wide recognition for her humanitarian work. In 2003, she was the first recipient of the newly created Citizen of the World Award by the United Nations Correspondents Association, and in 2005, she was awarded the Global Humanitarian Award by the UNA-USA. Cambodia's King Norodom Sihamoni awarded Jolie Cambodian citizenship for her conservation work in the country on August 12, 2005; she has pledged $5 million to set up a wildlife sanctuary in the north-western province of Battambang and owns property there. In 2007, Jolie became a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and she received the Freedom Award by the International Rescue Committee.
On March 28, 1996, Jolie married British actor Jonny Lee Miller, her co-star in the film Hackers (1995). She attended her wedding in black leather pants and a white shirt, upon which she had written the groom's name in her blood. Jolie and Miller separated the following year and subsequently 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."
She then married American actor Billy Bob Thornton, whom she had met on the set of Pushing Tin (1999), on May 5, 2000. 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 relationship became a favorite topic of the entertainment media. Jolie and Thornton divorced 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."
Jolie has said in interviews that she is bisexual and has long acknowledged that she had a sexual relationship with her Foxfire (1996) co-star Jenny Shimizu, "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." 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!"
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. The allegation was that she and Pitt had started an affair during filming of Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005). She denied this on several occasions, but admitted that they "fell in love" on the set. In an interview in 2005, she explained, "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."
While Jolie and Pitt never publicly commented on the nature of their relationship, speculations continued throughout 2005. The first intimate paparazzi photos emerged in April, one month after Aniston had filed for divorce; they showed Pitt, Jolie and her son Maddox at a beach in Kenya. During the summer Jolie and Pitt were seen together with increasing frequency and most of the entertainment media considered them a couple, dubbing them "Brangelina". On January 11, 2006, Jolie confirmed to People that she was pregnant with Pitt's child and thereby confirmed their relationship for the first time in public.
On March 10, 2002, Jolie adopted her first child, seven-month-old Maddox Chivan Jolie-Pitt (originally Maddox Chivan Thornton Jolie). He was born on August 5, 2001 as Rath Vibol in Cambodia, and he initially lived in a local orphanage in Battambang. Jolie decided to apply for adoption after she had visited Cambodia twice, while filming Tomb Raider and on a UNHCR field trip in 2001. After her divorce from her second husband, Billy Bob Thornton, Jolie received sole custody of Maddox. Like Jolie's other children, Maddox has gained considerable celebrity and appears regularly in the tabloid media.
Jolie adopted a six-month-old girl from Ethiopia, Zahara Marley Jolie-Pitt (originally Zahara Marley Jolie), on July 6, 2005. Zahara was born on January 8, 2005. She was originally named Yemsrach by her mother, and was later given the legal name Tena Adam at an orphanage. Jolie adopted her from Wide Horizons For Children orphanage in Addis Ababa. Shortly after they returned to the United States, Zahara was hospitalized for dehydration and malnutrition. In 2007, media outlets reported Zahara's biological mother, Mentewabe Dawit, was still alive and wanted her daughter back, but she later denied these reports, saying she thought Zahara was "very fortunate" to be adopted by Jolie.
Brad Pitt was reportedly present when Jolie signed the adoption papers and collected her daughter; later Jolie indicated that she and Pitt made the decision to adopt Zahara together. On January 19, 2006, a judge in California approved Pitt's request to legally adopt Jolie's two children. Their surnames were formally changed to "Jolie-Pitt".
Jolie gave birth to a daughter, Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt, in Swakopmund, Namibia, by a scheduled caesarean section, on May 27, 2006. Pitt confirmed that their newly-born daughter would have a Namibian passport, and Jolie decided to sell the first pictures of Shiloh through the distributor Getty Images herself, rather than allowing paparazzi to make these valuable photographs. People paid more than $4.1 million for the North American rights, while British magazine Hello! obtained the international rights for roughly $3.5 million. All profits were donated to an undisclosed charity by Jolie and Pitt. Madame Tussauds in New York unveiled a wax figure of two-month-old Shiloh; it was the first infant re-created in wax by Madame Tussauds.
On March 15, 2007, Jolie adopted a three-year-old boy from Vietnam, Pax Thien Jolie-Pitt (originally Pax Thien Jolie), who was born on November 29, 2003 and abandoned at birth at a local hospital, where he was initially named Pham Quang Sang. Jolie adopted the boy from the Tam Binh orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City. She revealed that his first name, Pax, was suggested by her mother before her death.
Following months of tabloid speculation, Jolie confirmed she was expecting twins at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. She gave birth to a boy, Knox Léon Jolie-Pitt, and a girl, Vivienne Marcheline Jolie-Pitt, by caesarean section at the Lenval hospital in Nice, France, on July 12, 2008. The rights for the first images of Knox and Vivienne were jointly sold to People and Hello! for $14 million—the most expensive celebrity pictures ever taken. The money went to the Jolie/Pitt Foundation.
In the Media
Jolie appeared in the media from an early age due to her famous father Jon Voight. At seven she had a small part in Lookin' to Get Out, a movie co-written by and starring her father, and in 1986 and 1988 she attended the Academy Awards as a teenager with him. However, when she started her acting career, Jolie decided not to use "Voight" as a stage name, because she wished to establish her own identity as an actress. Jolie was never shy about controversy and integrated her teenage "wild girl" image into her public persona in the first years of her career. During her acceptance speech at the 2000 Academy Awards, Jolie declared, "I'm so in love with my brother right now", which, combined with her affectionate behavior towards him that night, sparked speculation in the tabloid media of an incestuous relationship with her brother James Haven. She has denied those rumors vehemently, and Jolie and Haven later explained in interviews that after their parents' divorce they relied on one another and because of that they hold on to each other as a means of emotional support.
Jolie is noted as "the one A-list celebrity without a publicist", and she quickly became a tabloid's favorite, since she presented herself as very outspoken in interviews, discussing her love life and her interest in BDSM openly, and once claiming to be "most likely to sleep with a female fan". As one of her most distinctive physical features, Jolie's lips have attracted notable media attention and she has been described as "the current gold standard of beauty in the West" among women seeking cosmetic surgery. She also created headlines with her much publicized marriage to Billy Bob Thornton and her subsequent change into an advocate for global humanitarian problems. As she took on the role of UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador she started to use her celebrity to highlight humanitarian causes worldwide. Jolie has been taking flying lessons since 2004 and she has a private pilot license (with an instrument rating) and owns a Cirrus SR22 airplane. The media speculated that Jolie is a Buddhist, but she said that she teaches Buddhism to her son Maddox because she considers it part of his culture. Jolie has not stated definitively whether or not she believes in God. When asked in 2000 if there was a God, she said, "For the people who believe in it, I hope so. There doesn't need to be a God for me."
Starting in 2005, her relationship with Brad Pitt became one of the most reported celebrity stories worldwide. After Jolie confirmed her pregnancy in early 2006, the unprecedented media hype surrounding them "reached the point of insanity" as Reuters described it in their story "The Brangelina fever". Trying to avoid the media attention, the couple went to Namibia for the birth of Shiloh, "the most anticipated baby since Jesus Christ", as it had been described. Two years later, Jolie's second pregnancy again fueled a media frenzy. For the two weeks she spent in a seaside hospital in Nice, reporters and photographers camped outside on the promenade to report on the birth.
Today, Jolie is one of the best known celebrities around the world. 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 Brad Pitt, was found to be the favorite celebrity endorser for brands and products worldwide. Jolie was among the Time 100, a list of the 100 most influential people in the world, in 2006 and 2008. She was described as the world's most beautiful woman in the 2006 "100 Most Beautiful" issue of People, and she was voted the greatest sex symbol of all time in the British Channel 4 television show The 100 Greatest Sex Symbols in 2007. On Forbes' annual Celebrity 100 list, Jolie was ranked at No. 35 in 2006, No. 14 in 2007, and she was the highest listed actor at No. 3 in 2008. She was also described as the world's most powerful actress in the 2009 edition of Guinness World Records.
Jolie's inventory of tattoos has become the subject of much media attention and has often been addressed by interviewers. Jolie stated that, while she is not opposed to film nudity, the large number of tattoos on her body has forced filmmakers to become more creative when planning nude or love scenes. Make-up has been used to cover up the tattoos in many of her productions. Jolie currently has 13 known tattoos, among them the Tennessee Williams quote "A prayer for the wild at heart, kept in cages", which she got together with her mother, the Arabic language phrase "العزيمة" (strength of will), the Latin proverb "quod me nutrit me destruit" (what nourishes me destroys me), and a Yantra prayer written in the ancient Khmer script for her son Maddox. She also has six sets of geographical coordinates on her upper left arm indicating the birthplaces of her children. Over time she covered or lasered several of her tattoos, including "Billy Bob", the name of her former husband Billy Bob Thornton, a Chinese character for death (死), and a window on her lower back; she explained that she removed the window, because, while she used to spend all of her time looking out through windows wishing to be outside, she now lives there all of the time.
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