Angelina Jolie Says 'Kids are Great at Adapting'

11/15/2008 at 01:00 PM ET
Jackson Lee-Tom Meinelt/Splash News Online

When the time came to introduce twins Knox Léon and Vivienne Marcheline, 4 months, to their already burgeoning brood, Angelina Jolie and partner Brad Pitt credited an inclusive approach for their success. "It’s a matter of indulging the curiosity of the other children and making them feel part of the whole process," Angelina says in a new interview with the Herald Sun. To that end, older siblings Maddox Chivan, 7, Pax Thien, turning 5 this month, Zahara Marley, 3 ½ and Shiloh Nouvel, 2 help out their mom by preparing bottles and changing diapers as needed. "It all works," she explains. "Kids are great at adapting." While the rigors of raising and nursing twins has made life for Angelina "a little more stressful" than before, she is quick to point out that "it’s also so beautiful to be part of."

"Once you have three or four children, having a few more isn’t going to alter your lifestyle that much."

That can-do attitude and sunny outlook are a result of being grateful for what she has and "not worrying about the rest," Angelina says. Admitting that she "never really believed" she would find "this kind of happiness," Angelina asks: " How can I complain about anything when I wake up in the morning and I’m surrounded by so much love with Brad and our children and the feeling that comes from sharing my life with them?" The feeling is mutual. Of Brad, Angelina says,

"He’s just so happy and having twins is something neither of us ever expected and I think that makes it all the more special for us both. When I see how much love is in Brad’s eyes for the twins and for all our children — it’s a very moving experience for me."

Click ‘more’ to read about Angelina’s approach to answering the kids’ questions about adoption.

It was Brad’s bond with Maddox that convinced Angelina she was ready to build a family with the 44-year-old actor, something she describes as "a big step." Her first son was also first and foremost in her mind as she filmed Changeling, in which she plays a mom whose son has disappeared. "I just couldn’t shake the thought of him through the whole film," she says. "Because Maddox is my eldest and also because he says things that are similar to what the boy in the film says." Balancing a family of eight with a successful film career is possible, Angelina says, because she keeps the latter in perspective.

"I have a big, wonderful family and I get to travel and be creative with my films and that’s tremendously rewarding and satisfying…The publicity that comes with that is a reality of the business and it’s only the paparazzi that is really a bother sometimes when Brad and I are with our children."

Noting that "a family is a social unit in its own way and watching the children interact is part of your role as a mother," Angelina says that she and Brad are making an effort to teach the kids about all religions. They’re also open to answering questions on adoption, but Angelina admits that sometimes there are no easy answers.

"Like when my daughter, who’s African, wants her hair to look straight like mummy’s … and I look for a Barbie that’s African, and the African Barbie has straight hair! And you know, why has Disney never made a film with an African-American princess?"

Changeling is in theaters now.

Source: Herald Sun

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Mary on

I love the kids- but I personally think that they should get married. But, it’s their life, their decisions. I wish them and all the children the best!!

Poetstar on

Is anyone else sick of hearing how happy they are? It is almost like she is trying to convince herself that she really is.

Nicole on

Aww, you left out the cute story about him asking if he was too heavy. Anyway, I love them. I had never noticed that all Barbies have straight hair!!

Sarah on

Mary, just out of curiosity…why do you think they should get married?

They’ve both had failed marriages before and don’t seem to want to go down that road again. Besides, Brad has said that he will not get married again until gay couples are also allowed that right. As long as their number 1 priority is their kids, the rest doesn’t matter, imo.

mary on

How funny is that? My daughter is four, Very Norwegian blond hair, very blue eyes. She has a fascination for all African American people and dolls. She plays Disney princess wii and always wants to be the “brown African girl” because she is so “pretty” I took her to get an African American Barbie and they all have straight hair. (or they are very light) She did not like that at all. She likes the book African Princess by Joyce Hansen. Its a little over her head but she insists. And the book African princess by Lyra Edmonds. More on her level. I want all my children to learn about all cultures and religions too. I think that is how the learn to respect others. Every month we take a globe spin it and with our eyes blind folded we stop the globe and wherever our finger has landed we learn about that country, their language, culture and food. I attempt to make the dish of that country or culture. For that month we talk about that particular area. I learn something new along with them. Its a lot of fun.

Jessica on

Mary that is a fabulous idea. I love that you get your kids interested in different cutlures. When I have kids I want to do the same thing. Very cool, you get brownie points!

courtney on

just to comment on her comment that they Disney has never made a movie about a African princess, I believe disney HAS made a movie with one, I’m not sure when it’s supposed to come out or the story.

Pencils on

Disney is coming out with an African-American princess in “The Princess and the Frog”, which is to be released next year. I’m happy, my newborn daughter happens to have a Disney princess name (unintentional) so I expect she’s going to be a fan of the princesses. I bet that will make Zahara happy.

I like Brad and Angie, they sound like good people, very grounded. Yes, Angelina had a wild life in her twenties, but I always thought a lot of it was put on to shock people. And I’m so tired of hearing about the Brad/Jen/Angelina thing. Who cares? No one but they know what really went on.

Julia A on

Actually Disney has already made a Cinderella musical (tv movie) starring Brandy as Cinderella, though I guess Angelina was referring to animated movies.

Daisy on

I believe Mattel used to have African American dolls in the whole Barbie set of things that didn’t have straight hair. I had one when I was younger with real tight curls, not quite an afro but definatley not straight. This was about 5 years ago mind you.

Maddie on

I’ve heard while all this traveling might be good for the children culturally, it’s affecting the older children’s abilities to make friends, which is a bit sad 😦

brannon on

Love her and I frustrate at the same things (I assume she is questioning the lack of multi-cultural princesses – not the concept of having multi-cultural actors recreate story lines already held by traditional characters.) I wish I had the resources to build my family in the way that they have – how lucky for them and for those children! One more pete peeve to which i am sure she can relate … I get so frustrated when my son wants “play people” for his pretend play and all of the “families” you can purchase are mom, dad, boy, girl! Yes they have gotten better about selling the same “family” in white or brown but what about all the other types of families? Anyway, I’ll stop but I am glad she brings attention to these kinds of issues. Celebrity at its very best.

JM on

Pencils is right. The frog and the Princess will come out in 2009 and feature the first african american princess named Tiana. So that will be something Angelina and Zahara can look forward to seeing!! As far as the Barbie dolls I never took notice. But now that Angie’s mentioned it I’m sure it will arrive on toy shelves everywhere soon 😉

Becky on

I agree Jessica! Mary, what a great idea! I was just telling my husband what you wrote and want to do that when our daughter is older. When I was in JR High I remember we had a big project where the class was paired in groups of 2 and there were about 10 groups and each group picked a country and we had a month to prepare and an hour to present and we had to make a dish from that country and feed the class, dress from the country and present facts about the country. We learned a lot of that lesson and it was a great way to get involved and learn.

Lorus on

I love her comments about Brad. I felt the same way about my husband when I saw how he interacted with our newborn. Just seeing the love in his eyes and the joy that she brought him would bring tears to my eyes.

Nicole on

Maddie, where did you hear that? I’ve actually heard the exact opposite – a lot of so called “military brats” live the same way, and they’re perfectly able to make friends and form relationships! Remember, we have no idea who the kids come into contact with when they’re in other countries; as much as no one realizes it, we really are only privy to brief snapshots of a celebrity’s life.

Mia on

Although she says a lot of the same things in her interviews, about how amazing Brad is, how lucky she is to have her family, and all about her cute kids-I never get tired reading about it.

I’m just very happy for both her, and Brad-as well as their adorable kids.

The thing she has mentioned is she never thought she would ever have kids or be with someone, she didn’t think she deserved it or was a positive enough person to have that: but luckily, as faith has it, it worked out. Love is an important thing to have.

And, just a huge after thought, but I remember reading in a post recently about her/her family that someone said, [the poster was] bothered how Angie/Brad became an instant family, but I think it’s a reminder that whether they had more kids right after they got together or not-they were a family already because Angie had a child (Maddox).

Congrats to them. They look right together, and it’s great they can use their fame for good.

Mia on

I’m sure they have friends, and both Angie/Brad have friends with kids about the same ages.

I mean, they have such a strong family unit, that I think the kids feel at home wherever they are. That’s such an important thing to remember.

As the saying goes, “Home is where you make it”

Besides, there is so many Jolie-Pitt children, they’re never alone. They always have each other!

Clover on

Julia A., in an earlier interview Angie did say the tv version of Cinderella is one of the kids’ favorite DVDs. 🙂

I too do wish there were more cartoons and films about interracial families. The world is changing, in some ways for the better and tv and movies should reflect those changes. Maybe CBB can tell us where to find African American dolls with curly hair. It might be something of interest to others besides myself. Just a thought.

DiamondGirl on

I don’t think you can compare military children with this family.

These kids are moved around every few weeks or so, not every year or couple of years.

It’s nice to think home is where your family is, but the reality is that children benefit from some stability.

To me that’s a bigger issue than whether or not they are married.

Mia on

Well, I think one of the issues with them not being married is the whole legal responsibility of the children.

But technically (I’m sure there is far more details regarding this), since Brad Pitt is the domestic partner and they both share legal custody, Doesn’t that protect the rights of the children? In the case something were to happen to either of them.

casey on

DiamondGirl, they have said that when the kids are a bit older they’ll settle down (and create a more permanent base for themselves, travelling only during school breaks or other more flexible times). Since Maddox is still only seven, their family really is very young and children are so adaptable at that age. Making friends and having stability will become more important to them when they get a bit older.

Sarah on

Mia, Angelina has said that what was important to them was that both she and Brad are legally connected to the kids. Brad has legally adopted Maddox, Zahara, and Pax. So, yes all of the kids are protected should anything happen to either parent.

Kat on

I doubt Angelina reads this, but if any of you who work on this site ever interview her, please mention this great series of dolls to her.

They were first introduced on American Inventor.

It’s a line of global dolls… so dolls of different cultures… the blond one looks a lot like Shiloh and I think the original (Niya) looks quite a bit like Zee in some of her pics)

I bet she’d be pleased with the line and how Niya’s hair is done more naturally.

They haven’t been put on the market yet, but I’m sure Angie could get one anyway… or one earlier than most people.

CelebBabyLover on

Mia- Granted, I’m not a legal expert by any means. However, what I DO know is that Brad has adopted Mad, Z, and Pax (his adoption of Mad and Z was confirmed shortly after Shi was born, and his adoption of Pax was confirmed this past February, just before Angie “announced” her pregnancy with Knox and Viv).

Therefore, I’m guessing his legal rights are the same as Angie’s.

DiamondGirl- Yes, but Angie and Brad seem to realize that. Last month, Angie spoke at length in one of her interviews about all the things they do to make traveling as easy as possible on the kids, that they DO have homebases (New Orleans is one of them, and I have a feeling France will become one as well), and that the kids, in fact, LIKE traveling!

She also said that she realizes that, when the kids get older, they’ll want to stay in one place. When that day comes, then they will start staying in one place.

Also, saying the J-P kids are moved around every few weeks or so is a bit of exageration. For example, they went to France around May, and stayed there for four months straight. Before that they were in Texas for a few months while Brad was filming a movie.

Granted, they HAVE been traveling a lot in the past few weeks. However, that’s because Angie and Brad have had movie promotions to do (Angie for Changeling, as well as the DVD release of Kung Fu Panda, and Brad for Benjamin Button), plus it’s pretty obvious they wanted to be here for the election.

Even so, it seems like the kids have stayed in LA (as in the California LA, NOT Lousiana) for most, if not all, of that time. Brad attended the Obama rallies, Oprah interview, etc. by himself. Angie appeared to have stayed in LA with the kids.

As for Angie’s recent interviews…From what I’ve read, they were actually done while she was in New York last month. The reason they are just being released now is because these partiuclar interviews were conducted by foregin media outlets, and they tend to be a little slower at getting U.S.-based news out.

Anyway, the J-Ps will likely soon head back to Germany for Brad to finish filming his movie. I imagine they will probably stay there for a few months until Brad finishes filming.

Therefore, other than really busy times for Brad and Angie (movie promotion, premires, award shows, etc.), they actually travel more like every few months or so.

Oh, and to the friend issue…I read somewhere (and I think it came from HELLO, which is Britian’s version of PEOPLE) that the kids DO have friends around the world and they DO have playdates.

For example, Angie has said that Maddox is friends with Marianne Pearl’s son Adam (she’s also said that Zee has a crush on him!), and Marianne and Adam, I believe, live in either France or Britian (I forget which). Angie also mentioned (to HELLO, I think) that she and Brad have friends with kids in Germany.

As for friends here in the U.S….Well, we already know that Shiloh and Kingston are buddies! 🙂 I believe they are also good friends with Dr. Jane Aronson (who specializes in adoption and is the one who basically saved Zee’s life), her partner, and their boys.

sil on

i googled “african barbie doll” and the first site i found has some non-straight hair Barbies….so is weird how Angelina didn’t find one for Zahara? she doesn’t have internet? ….
Anyway, here is the link, if anybody is interested:

Lot’s of people here will hate me for this comment, but i think, and will always do, that Angelina “uses” her personal life with Brad and her children everytime there’s a movie of hers coming out…If you want more privacy, just don’t tell so many personal things…If somebody ask you in a interview “how are the kids doing?” maybe she can answer “they are fine, happy and healthy” that’s all…she doesn’t need everytime to repeat the same things about how a great mother she is and how a great Dad Brad is. We all know!
Just my opinion.

sil on

here’s another link, i found “Princess of South Africa Barbie”
Not straight hair, and is very beautiful because her outfit is so colorful.

DiamondGirl on

I haven’t been tracking them on a map or calendar or anything like a lot of people do, but I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that these children move around many times a year.

Only time will tell, and I wish all the children the best. I don’t think the people you mention are constant friends of theirs.

We see Kingston on here all the time, and just because he and Shiloh have had a playdate doesn’t mean they’re best buddies.

I really hope that there are groups of friends with children that are in their lives, but it’s certainly not apparent.

And they do make sure that most of what they do is apparent to everyone.

J on

DiamondGirl you don’t need to track them on a calender I’m sure in fact most people don’t so no need to make ordinary people sound so stalkerish. Simply pick up a paper/magazine they’ll inevitably have been followed by the press somewhere. Or by reading this site when news pops up from the Jolie-Pitts it usually says where they happen to be.
Of course it’s not an exaggeration to say that these children move around many times a year, but that’s not what you said at all. It’s not even really close to what you wrote. Here I quote directly ‘These kids are moved around every few weeks or so’. Now that’s an exaggeration for the reasons CelebBabyLover explained.
Well we know Gwen and Angelina are good friends. Something that helps back up this assumption is that whilst pregnant with the twins Angelina had a dress she borrowed from Gwen if I remember correctly which she mentioned during an interview and talked more about their friendship. Also we know from when ‘A mighty heart’ was out how Adam and Maddox are in particular very good friends. In interviews Angelina also described how she and Marrianne became friends. They do things together and I bet you never knew that before the interview, just because they weren’t photographed together or some gossip didn’t put the news out doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. So how can you decisively say that you don’t think the people mentioned are constant friends of theirs. What evidence is there to back that up? I’m not saying they’re best buddies who know everything about each other, but I think there’s more evidence to show they are good friends.
Also they probably have a lot of non-celebrity friends who have kids and they may get together several times a year. At their main homes I’m sure they’ve got groups of friends who they play with whenever they’re there. There’s no need for it to be apparent to us. These kids deserve to be allowed privacy and that extends to their playmates. We don’t need to know who their friends are or how often they get to play with the same people.
The thing is though you completely ignore the one group of kids they will constantly have in their lives and that’s their cousins. So should assuage your fears really.
And you just had to get the dig in there at the end didn’t you? Quite sad really and perhaps a tad hypocritical. Not to mention irrelevant and unnecessary. Also that’s your perception, but there are a heck of a lot more people who see that they DON’T make sure that most of what they do is apparent to everyone, rather the media likes to make sure we all know what they’re up to. They only directly speak about the issues they genuinely care about.

tsagrednerp on

Very well said J. I totally agree, someone said that it is only a snapshot of their lives that we get in the media and this is completely true we have no idea what happens at their homes or when they’re on “downtime” out of the eye of the media. I love this family I think everyone looks so happy it shines through.

Haylo on

What’s the big deal about having outside friends? I have a big family, 8 brothers and sisters. 40 first cousins and untold second and third cousins. My sisters and I never had close friends outside of each other. We always have been each others best friends and we probably always will be.

I really don’t think that anyone could say that these kids lack social interactions. I don’t know why people always feel the need to try to impose their will on this family.

If Traveling is working for them, they should continue to do it. I know many people who would love to expose their families to the same sort of lifestyle but lack the means.

Traditional things are not always better. They are a nontraditional family so it should probably be expected that they won’t do things the way that Ms. Jones across the street does.

CelebBabyLover on

Haylo- ITA! My mother’s best friends when she was growing up were her cousins. In fact, they were so close they were more like siblings than cousins! They still remain close to this day.

My mom did have other friends as a kid (just as she has other friends now), but her cousins were defiently her closest childhood friends.

Oh, and guess what? She turned out just fine!