Originally posted May 30th: Angelina Jolie is known for her acting skills, but some people may say that she has become famous for her international family with fellow actor Brad Pitt, 44. The pair are parents to Maddox Chivan (born in Cambodia), 6 ½, Pax Thien (born in Vietnam), 4 ½, Zahara Marley (born in Ethiopia), 3 ½, and Shiloh Nouvel (born in Namibia), 2, and also have twins on the way.
In a new interview with Vanity Fair, the 32-year-old shares her thoughts on her family.
When I was growing up I wanted to adopt, because I was aware there were kids that didn’t have parents. It’s not a humanitarian thing, because I don’t see it as a sacrifice. It’s a gift. We’re all lucky to have each other. I look at Shiloh — because, obviously, physically, she is the one that looks like Brad and I when we were little — and say, ‘If these were our brothers and sisters, how much would we have known by the time we were six that it took into our 30s and 40s to figure out?’ I suppose I’m giving them the childhood I always wished I had.
Continue reading for Angelina’s thoughts on her current pregnancy, Shiloh’s birth, the use of nannies and more.
On disciplining her kids:
You end up hearing yourself saying all those clichéd parent things: ‘I don’t care who started it, but I’m here to finish it.’ … [also] how my mom raised me, which is to figure out who I was and try to enhance my individual personality and not get in the way of it. But I can really discipline the kids when I need to.
On her adoption of Maddox:
A nurse came with Maddox and left 10 minutes after handing him over. I stared at this little guy. I didn’t know what to do. I called my mom. I remember saying, ‘Do kids have 2 or 10 bottles a day? I’m at a loss.’ I had never babysat, let alone …
On Shiloh’s name:
It’s a biblical name but we didn’t name her for that. It was a name my parents almost named their first child– there was a miscarriage: Shiloh Baptist. Because my father had been shooting in Georgia and that was the most southern name [my parents] could come up with. It’s a name I always liked. I used to go under it in hotels: Shiloh Baptist. I’d gone under it when [Brad] called hotel rooms where I was staying.
[My mother] was Catholic but also a child of the 60s. She stopped going to confession at one point because she was having sex before marriage. To me, she represented what religion should be. She never preached. If things didn’t make sense to her, she never just accepted it. I had Communion, but she never forced me to go to church.
Brad got me this great thing for Christmas. It’s a bookshelf that has a book on every religion. That’s how we plan to raise our kids. Teach them about all religions. They can pick one or be a student of all of them. We’ll celebrate Kwanzaa for our girl. We’ll celebrate moon and water festivals for our boys. We’ll take them to temples in certain countries. Also to church.
On her mother Marcheline Bertrand’s death:
When [my mother] passed, I realized that somebody who lives life with that kind of dedication to their family is the most noble. I was aware of it growing up. I admired her. And I loved her. But in her passing she reminded me what matters. And what’s most fun—to put yourself aside for these other little people you’re raising.
Mad always knew my mom was sick. So when it happened, I sat him down and I told him how some people believe there’s a heaven where everybody goes and is together again. And they believe it’s very white and beautiful. And some believe — he’d just seen Casper — there are ghosts who are people and they are always around. And some believe it’s a long peaceful sleep.
When I told him, and I was crying, ‘Grand-mère died today, we won’t be able to see her anymore, but she’ll always be around,’ he said, ‘Like she’s here now? Like she’s in that chair?’ And I said, ‘Well, I suppose she could be.’ And he accepted it.
It’s funny. It’s like we teach kids the things that we want to believe. Then we see that they have such beautiful faith and it helps them go to bed and we’re in the other room not sleeping well.
On being pregnant:
I love it. It makes me feel like a woman. It makes me feel that all the things about my body are suddenly there for a reason. It makes you feel round and supple, and to have a little life inside you is amazing.
Also, I’m fortunate. I think some women have a different experience depending on their partner. I think that affects it. I happen to be with somebody who finds pregnancy very sexy. So that makes me feel very sexy.
On Shiloh’s birth:
We were in this little hospital in Africa when Shi was born. I don’t think there was anybody else in the hospital. It was just a little cottage, the three of us. It ended up being the greatest thing. We had wonderful doctors and nurses. It was lovely, very personal, all three in this sweet room. We had an American doctor with us, who had met the Namibian doctors, and they worked in tandem because it was a C-section and my first and we didn’t know the country. He spent a few weeks with us. There was only one pediatrician in town, and one anesthesiologist, who had to come in for that — you have to plan it.
I had a C-section and I found it fascinating. I didn’t find it a sacrifice and I didn’t find it a painful experience. I found it a fascinating miracle of what a body can do.
We don’t ever have anybody spend the night. We may have to adjust that when the next one comes. But we do have ladies that work with us, and they’re also from different cultures and back-grounds. One lady’s a Vietnamese teacher — wonderful. One is of Congolese descent from Belgium. Another is from the States and is really creative and does art programs.
On artists as parents:
Artists raise their kids differently. We communicate to the point where we probably annoy our children. We have art around the house, we have books, we go to plays, we talk. Our focus is art and painting and dress-up and singing. It’s what we love. So I think you can see how artists in some way raise other artists.
Source: Vanity Fair; Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images
Thanks to CBB reader Malia.