Angelina Jolie: My Kids Adapt to Any Environment

07/20/2010 at 04:00 PM ET

Gerardo Garcia/Reuters/Landov

Whether enjoying their luxurious Los Angeles home or traveling to third world countries with their parents, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt‘s children — Maddox, 8½, Pax, 6½, Zahara, 5½, Shiloh, 4, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 2 — have learned to love it all.

“They like this house [in Los Angeles] because it has this pool. But they also love Cambodia because it’s got the fun places to throw rocks and cut coconuts and ride on elephants,” Jolie, 35, tells PARADE.

“They love Africa because the kids are really fun to play with and the nature is beautiful.”

Noting that she and Pitt “try not to spoil our children,” Jolie insists the family’s jet-setting ways have taught their brood to treasure what they do have — and sympathize with those who don’t.

“They spend time in Cambodia in a teeny hut and hang out with local children. They help me visit distressed areas. They have friends with no money. They also appreciate nice things,” the Salt actress reveals.

“We’re hoping that, organically, it will be in them to feel for people who do not have as much. They’ll be inspired to give and help people out because they’ll have close friends who don’t have as much. They won’t whine about things they want. And they won’t want more.”

And although strong friendships have been formed as a result of their travels, the proud mama raves the sibling bond — and general unity as a family — is what keeps them close.

“We’re a very close, very connected, very big family. The children talk to each other, and they look out for each other, and they have each other,” she says. “Yes, they have friends, but they also are very, very closely connected to each other.”

Still undecided on whether they will expand their family further, Jolie and Pitt realize their decision to adopt internationally has been brought under fire — but she insists their multicultural brood is what suits them best.

“Everybody likes to criticize people. It’s an uneducated moral snobbery. It shouldn’t matter where children are born,” she explains.

“When I first started working with refugees, people would say, ‘Why aren’t you helping these people and not other people?’ I simply looked to help. I make the choices I make because they’re the choices I feel are right. Becoming a mother was the most wonderful thing.”

— Anya Leon

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Showing 41 comments

Romy on

she looks so different in that pic!

hayley on

lovely, really lovely, my daughters a little young but my 3 year old will sit and watch programs about other children that might be in daker place than him and its almost like he understands…well i like to think so anyway.

what i feel about angie is beside the point because she is clearly devoted to her kids and wants to make them happy as well as children around the world. Good for her, i wish them nothing but the best.

Valerie on

I love what she said. So many times you see the children of parents who are very good people turn out to be shallow and not sharing the depth and values of their parents. In this case, I think the children will grow up sharing their parents’ values because the parents are making a point of teaching the values to them and also allowing them experiences which will help to develop empathy.

Manal on

I officially put Angelina as my role model!!:D:D

I go to the SOS Children’s Villages(Jordan) to spend time with the kids, and i sometimes take my 4 year old cousin with me, she loves these children and considers them her new friends.She knows that these children are orphans.I love seeing them all playing together its beautiful!

This is how i want to raise my future children!:)

JMO on

I really like her views and based on what I read she seems like a wonderful mother!
If only every kid had the ability to grow up with seeing first hand the other parts of the world.
I know when my nephew refuses to eat his food we always use the common phrase, “finish your food there are starving children in the world!” Yet for him he has no concept of what that really means. Angies kids will grow up with a great understanding of the world they live in. And they will see it first hand.

mommytoane on

She DOES look different! So light and refreshed. So happy.
I adore Angelina’s ways, her thoughts. I love how she allows her children to be theirselves without judgement. A typical little kid throws together an outfit….a typical mom fixes it, but Angelina just lets her kids be who they are. Its pretty noticable how close and loved her family is. A breath of fresh air from the stuck up socialites out there.

Millie on

Sounds nice when she says it, but how true is it? I recently spent a year as a dr without borders in a country in west africa and my family (husband and 3 young children between 5 and 1) came with me, we did not live in a hut, as did no white person (volunteer, helping hand, cooperative, UN and embassy employees) I met in the 4 countries we travelled. Most lived with more comfort than they might at home, huge compounds with pools, nannies, housekeepers, etc…

And it is understandable, it is hard enough to be in a far away country, exposed to disease and military and corrupt governments, if the UN, WHO and DWB people had to live in huts on top of it all there would be no development cooperation!

And a colleague of mine from Ethiopia told me the Pitt’s (I think only the parents) went for a visit to Ethiopia and flew in with a helicopter from Kenya and back that same afternoon as they found no hotel in Addis Abeba to be comfortable enough for them. This makes me doubt that they spend a lot of times in huts with poor children.

I do not criticize the fact that when one is used a standard of comfort it is hard to change that (and I will be the first to admit that we could not have lived without water and constant power cuts were hard enough for my family, even though we lived in a nice house and had everything we needed) and the Jolie-Pitts certainly have money to insure their comfort, but I find it laughable that she states that she lets her children roam the “poor people’s huts”, when the truth is, those children live an incredibly sheltered life. I think that saying the truth, that the conditions in which people live there make one not want to have their kids roam the huts, would open more eyes that stating how nice it is that her children know how to play with people who have nothing.

Sky on

Not meaning ANYTHING bad by this because I truly do love the Jolie-Pitt family, but sometimes I feel as if they’re trying to prove to the world that their “multicultural” family is close. Like whether or not two siblings don’t get along (because it does happen!), they would need to prove that their multicultural ideals/family is THE BEST thing ever and it’s working out 1000% perfectly.

She could just be saying her honest opinion and the family could actually be that way but I have a feeling it’s a bit of an exaggeration.

Amy on

I could read her interviews all day. She is so well-spoken. I love her views on parenting, and her kids are just gorgeous.

ForeverMoore on

I’ve been to Cambodia several times and there are not luxury accommodation there…I can totally believe they are staying in huts like the locals, that’s were I stayed too…fantastic people there with beautiful spirits

Penelope on

She is an icon. In 100 years people will still talk about her.

Ruby on

Forever More, when were you last in Cambodia? Because I’ve been this year and there are luxury hotels everywhere. Yes, there are cheaper lodgings, but on the whole, the hotels are to a fantastic standard. Better than some hotels in the rest of the world.

JMO on

And they’ll always be people who will find something negative to say about her no matter what. I think she’s fascinating!

Ellea on

Actually there are luxury accomodations in cambodia and Ethiopia. The un,who, are very different entities from Angelina Jolie. Why is it so improbable that these kids play with poor children?? I don’t see what she has to gain from saying that. She’s been into humanitarian work since before the kids were even adopted. I don’t see why she it’s so unbelievable that the kids could be close given that they’re all so close in age. I feel like people are just looking for a blemish in this woman life as if to make themselves feel better.

Lola Marie1 on

Very nice article. When she opens her mouth intelligent respectful things come out. It seems she never has a negative thing to say. Some people should take note…

I share her perspective on people and life in general. I respect how she chooses to raise her kids and instilling a moral consciences into them. I plan to be the same way.

NLT on

She never said they lived in a hut in Cambodia. She said they spent time in a hut to play with the local children. There were actually pictures of Maddox doing this.

For those that don’t know, Angie owns a house and land in Cambodia, and, that is where she created the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Project, which helps with jobs, education and the environment for the Cambodian people.

Anna on

Millie, she did not say they lived in a hut. She said they spend time in a hut. Obviously they stay in hotels or rented houses. Don’t think they have ever tried to hide this.

ForeverMoore on

I’m there every year…I work in orphanages outside of Phnom Penh…sure, there are nice places but I wouldn’t say they are the standards celebrities would be accustomed to…then again, I never pay attention or stay in those places so I could be wrong!

Elisabeth on

Millie, have you ever read Angelina’s book ‘Notes from my Travels’, which she wrote before becoming a mother? She talks about the different UNHCR camps she spent time in, and you can see she lived very much like the aid workers in the area, with whatever accomodation they did. Now that she has children things are understandably a bit different, because she has their safety and health to take into consideration beside her own.

Etsy on

Well said, Angelina! I also like her reference/comment about ‘uneducated moral snobbery’…there’s often a lot of that going on ‘here’!

iluvperfectparents on

My personal opinions of Angie aside, I thinks she sounds like a good mother & I am glad that she gives back and allows her children to help/know the importance of doing so also.

Bancie1031 on

I miss seeing pictures of this beautiful family ….. Unfortunately we haven’t seen them much since the twins were born 😦

Mia on

Also-just to add. Angelina Jolie pays her own way/trips for the UN + such missions, so whatever accommodations the UN or other organizations like WHO..etc..etc is separate from what Angelina Jolie might set up for herself.

‘Love them 🙂

Helene on

I think she is doing an amazing job as a mother and a humanitarian. I love hearing about her trips and what she is doing to help people in need. I wish we had more celebrities like her who donated their time and money. I also think it good for her children to be exposed to so many cultures.

Bancie1031, Really? I have seen a ton of pictures of them. They are in People or US almost every week. And all over the internet.

Bancie1031 on

helene – yes really ….. I hardly EVER go to any other site …. this is my main one …. and compared to what we USED to see of them yes we don’t see them that much …..
MAYBE I should reword what I was trying to say ….. We don’t see this family together as a whole as much as we used to before the twins.

Janna on

“Uneducated Moral Snobbery”… truer words have never been spoken.

Can we get that on a t-shirt to be awarded to all the perfect posters here? 🙂

sky on

atta mom angie!!!

Kim on

Helene I agree this site rarely post pics of the JP kids but there were dozens of pics of them when they were in Venice pics almost daily for about 6 weeks.You can google Jolie Pitt kids in Venice just avoiding reading comments at most sites. The most positive site is and check out the archives. Have a nice day

Kim on

There were also pics of Maddox playing w/ local kids and refugees in India when Angie was filming AMH.

brannon on

Love, love, love reading interviews by this woman (family.) How people can critique this family at all is beyond me. Amazing. I especially love that she doesn’t apologize or hide the fact that they are well off but give back. She doesn’t apologize for anything (nor does she need to in spite of those who continuously want her too) and that is what makes her one of the most “real” stars out there.

Marina on

The best gift that my mum gave me was sending me to the school I went. The academically level was actually very low but there was a huge diversity of kids there, poor kids, rich kids, spoil kids, etc. My parents weren’t rich, but we could afford some trips and toys but many of my friends didn’t, many of them live in very low quality houses, had to send the kids to school even during the holiday because they hadn’t enough money to fed them twice a day. Ten years later I still talk to many of them
I learn to be thankful of what I have, being expensive or not, to not judge other people and many other things and I’m very grateful for that. I’m sure that one day the Jolie-Pitts kids will be grateful as well.

Lorus on

The JP posts are one of the few on here that I will always read through. I enjoy their outlook on life and how they are choosing to raise their children.
I totally agree with the “Uneducated moral snobbery” comment too. Way to go Ange!

ken on

Love the Jolie-Pitts!!!

Tee on

I will freely admit that there are a lot of things about the Jolie/Pitt family that bothers me, but this is not one of them. I think it’s wonderful that they are raising all six of their little ones to appreciate various cultures, which in turn will help them to understand that they lead a privledged life.

autumnjade on

Well I think its awesome what shes done and I think what she said about uneducated moral snobbery is spot on. People are always looking for someone to tear down, only to make themselves feel important. Maybe they should stop, think, and contemplate how her childrens lives would of been if she had not taken the. Good for her and her family.

meghan on

“Uneducated Moral Snobbery”… truer words have never been spoken.

Can we get that on a t-shirt to be awarded to all the perfect posters here?
– Janna

LOL, Janna! Unfortunately, we would be handing out A LOT of those!

Sofie on

Millie’s comment I found a little bothersome. Perhaps Angelina feels more connected with the people she helps than this fancy doctor.
It appears to me she wants her kids to meet and get know the other children and learn about their struggle in order to accuire a sense of…understanding might be the word I’m looking for. Or feel a connection with just, people.
Are UN Ambassadors or WHO workers required to reside in these hoity-toity compounds furnished with nannies and all the comforts of home? Maybe she wants to get dirty, get into the nitty gritty and feel. Feel what these people are going through, maybe to keep her self grounded and not become wrapped up in the snobbery of some of these other people that this Millie seems to have painted a picture of.
I didn’t know these doctors and nurses and aides get to stay in these locations and the fact that they do is kind of disturbing.
Further proves the selfish human nature theory, no one wants to lie in the dirt if they can stay in a hammock. They’ll watch others sleep there but god forbid if they have to.
Angelina seems extreme and enlightened and just, gives a sh!t enough to sleep right there with them. She’s been my idol since I was a kid. Wayy before Brad and all this ‘homewrecker’ drama. And I think I’m right.

catherinetodd on

Millie, I know exactly what you are saying. I live in a Guatemalan compound and go through what many of the local Guatemalans do, although I have installed HOT WATER which no one else has! I don’t have to cook on a wood stove since the Guatemalan family cooks for me, and I can also pay for the gas to heat my hot water every month (no one else can do that, and believe me I feel guilty about that), and we have a holding tank for water so I don’t run out. I pay for the internet service and bring laptops with me when I come. No one else can afford internet or a computer, so they love it when I come.

I am the only gringo in town that lives with Guatemalans that I know of, and believe me, it’s fun at first – just like camping out all the time – (you are outdoors for most activities for the majority of the time), but come bad weather and with an outdoor toilet (even a flush one at that!) it gets very old quickly.

Thanks for pointing out the truth about third world living, and noting that people are still willing to help. Thank God for that. We need more good people working for peace and prosperity in this world. All we can do is try, and never give up!

catherinetodd on

I forgot to say: I love what Angelina and Brad are doing, and hope they keep up the good work. We need more people in the world like them!

CelebBabyLover on

I know I’m jumping in a bit late here, but I was on vacation (in a place with no computer) for the past month and am just now catching up. NLT is correct that Angie owns a house in Cambodia. Not only that, but I have seen pictures of that house (I can’t remember where, but I think one of the pictures was in PEOPLE magazine a few years back), and it definitely isn’t some luxiousy hotel. “Hut” truly would be the right word to use to describe it.

Rebecca on

The “finish your food, there are children starving” comment is so off base and wrong. First of all, finishing their food in no way helps children starving in other countries. Second of all, it promotes eating even when you’re not hungry, which is part of the childhood obesity epidemic. How about you not compare that stupid phrase with the work that Angelina Jolie does?