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Angelina Jolie

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Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie at the launch of the UK initiative on preventing sexual violence in conflict, 29 May 2012 (cropped).jpg
Jolie at the May 2012 launch of a UK initiative on preventing sexual violence in conflict
Born Angelina Jolie Voight
(1975-06-04) June 4, 1975
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Citizenship United States, Cambodia, Sarajevo (honorary)
Occupation Actress, film director, screenwriter
Years active 1982; 1991–present
  • Jonny Lee Miller (m. 1996–d. 1999)
  • Billy Bob Thornton (m. 2000–d. 2003)
Partner(s) Brad Pitt (2005–present)
Children 6
Parents Jon Voight
Marcheline Bertrand
Relatives James Haven (brother)
Chip Taylor (uncle)

Angelina Jolie ( / ˈ l / 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 and 2011. 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 often been cited as the world's "most beautiful" woman, a title for which she has received substantial media attention.

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), and Salt (2010)—her biggest live-action commercial successes to date—and 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.

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 Native American 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 theatre 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.

Breakthrough: 1998–2000

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 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 is emerging as one of the great wild spirits of current movies, a loose cannon who somehow has deadly aim."

Roger Ebert on Jolie's performance in Girl, Interrupted (1999)

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

Jolie at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.

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 at the Cologne premiere of Alexander in 2004

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.

Continued success: 2005–2011

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 as Christine Collins on the set of Changeling in 2007

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 on the Salt panel at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2010

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 was a major critical failure. 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 general criticism, after a slow start at the domestic box office, the film went on to gross a respectable $278 million worldwide. Jolie received a controversial 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.


In 2011, Jolie reprised her voice role as Master Tigress in the animated DreamWorks sequel Kung Fu Panda 2. It became the fourth-highest grossing film of 2011 and Jolie's highest grossing film to date, earning $666 million at the international box office. She also made her directorial feature debut with In the Land of Blood and Honey (2011), a love story between a Serb soldier and a Bosniak prisoner of war, set during the 1992–95 Bosnian War. Jolie, who had twice visited Bosnia-Herzegovina in her capacity as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, explained that she made the film to rekindle attention for the survivors of a war that took place in recent history. The film, which Jolie also scripted and co-produced, 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. In the Land of Blood and Honey won the Stanley Kramer Award from the Producers Guild of America, which honours films that highlight provocative social issues. It also received a nomination for a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Jolie will play the Disney villain Maleficent in the upcoming film of the same name, where the character's background story will be revealed.

In February 2013, it was announced that Jolie will be teaming up with the Coen brothers to tell the story of World War II hero Louis Zamperini. The brothers are set to rewrite Unbroken, the adaptation of the 2010 book by Laura Hillenbrand. Jolie is set to direct the film.

Humanitarian work

"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."

—Jolie on her motives for joining UNHCR in 2001

Jolie stated that she first became personally aware of worldwide humanitarian crises while filming Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) in Cambodia. 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, Jolie 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. 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.

Since then, Jolie has been on field missions around the world and met with refugees and internally displaced persons in more than 30 countries. 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." Jolie aims to visit what she terms "forgotten emergencies," crises that media attention has shifted away from. She is noted for not shying away from traveling to areas that are at war: She visited the Darfur region of Sudan during the Darfur conflict in 2004; Pakistan with Brad Pitt to see the impact of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake in 2005; Chad during its civil war in 2007; Iraq during the Second Gulf War in 2007 and 2009; Afghanistan during the ongoing war in 2008 and 2011; and Libya during the Libyan revolution in 2011.

After more than a decade of service as Goodwill Ambassador, Jolie was promoted to the rank of Special Envoy of High Commissioner António Guterres on April 17, 2012. As Special Envoy, she represents the UNHCR and High Commissioner António Guterres at the diplomatic level and works to facilitate long-term solutions for people displaced by large-scale crises, such as Afghanistan and Somalia. "This is an exceptional position reflecting an exceptional role she has played for us," said a UNHCR spokesman.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Jolie at World Refugee Day in 2005

In addition to her work with the UNHCR, Jolie uses her public profile to promote humanitarian causes through the mass media. Her early field visits were chronicled in her book Notes from My Travels, which was published in conjunction with the release of her film Beyond Borders (2003). She filmed a 2005 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. Jolie has also regularly released public service announcements promoting World Refugee Day and other causes.

Over time, Jolie became more involved in promoting humanitarian causes on a political level. She has regularly attended World Refugee Day in Washington, D.C., and she was an invited speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2005 and 2006. She also began lobbying humanitarian interests in the U.S. capital, where she met with members of Congress at least 20 times between 2003 and 2006, during which she pushed for several bills to aid refugees and vulnerable children in the Third World and the United States. She explained in 2006, "As much as I would love to never have to visit Washington, that's the way to move the ball." In 2007, she became a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Jolie has established several charitable organizations. In 2003, she founded the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation—named the Maddox Jolie Project until 2007—which is dedicated to community development and environmental conservation in Cambodia's northwestern province Battambang. In 2006, she partnered with the Global Health Committee to establish the Maddox Chivan Children's Centre, a daycare facility for children afflicted and affected by HIV in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh. That same year, she and her partner Brad Pitt founded the Jolie-Pitt Foundation, to aid humanitarian causes worldwide. In 2007, Jolie and noted economist Dr. Gene Sperling founded the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, which funds education programs for children affected by man-made or natural disasters. In 2008, she collaborated with the Microsoft Corporation to establish Kids in Need of Defense, a pro bono movement of law firms, corporate law departments, NGOs and volunteers committed to providing legal counsel to unaccompanied immigrant children in the U.S. In 2010, she established the Jolie Legal Fellows Programme, which recruits lawyers to support governmental child protection efforts in Haiti.

Jolie has received wide recognition for her humanitarian work. In 2002, she received the inaugural Humanitarian Award by the Church World Service's Immigration and Refugee Program. In 2003, she was the first recipient of the Citizen of the World Award by the United Nations Correspondents Association. In 2005, she was awarded the Global Humanitarian Award by the UNA-USA. On July 31, 2005, King Norodom Sihamoni awarded Jolie Cambodian citizenship for her conservation work in the country. In 2007, Jolie received the Freedom Award by the International Rescue Committee. In 2011, United Nations 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.

Personal life


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.

A pregnant Jolie with director Clint Eastwood at the Cannes premiere of Changeling in 2008

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.

"I choose not to keep my story private because there are many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer. It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested, and that if they have a high risk they, too, will know that they have strong options."

—Jolie on her reasons for speaking out about her mastectomy

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 Centre, 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".


Selected awards

Year Award Category Film Result
1998 Emmy Award Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or Movie George Wallace Nominated
1998 Golden Globe Award Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film George Wallace Won
1998 National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Award Breakthrough Performance Playing by Heart Won
1998 Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or Movie Gia Nominated
1999 Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film Gia Won
1999 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Female Actor – Miniseries or Television Movie Gia Won
2000 Academy Award Best Supporting Actress Girl, Interrupted Won
2000 Golden Globe Award Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Girl, Interrupted Won
2000 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Supporting Female Actor Girl, Interrupted Won
2008 Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Mighty Heart, A A Mighty Heart Nominated
2008 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Leading Female Actor Mighty Heart, AA Mighty Heart Nominated
2009 Academy Award Best Actress Changeling Nominated
2009 BAFTA Award Best Leading Actress Changeling Nominated
2009 Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Changeling Nominated
2009 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Leading Female Actor Changeling Nominated
2011 Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy The Tourist Nominated
2012 Golden Globe Award Best Foreign Film (as producer) In the Land of Blood and Honey Nominated
2012 Producers Guild of America Award Stanley Kramer Award (as producer) In the Land of Blood and Honey Won
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