Wild, talented, controversial, intelligent, unpredictable and influential are just a few of the words you could attribute to Angelina Jolie – which only goes to prove that she’s the type of character you simply cannot attach a label to.
Below are some things that you might not have been aware of about the Oscar-winning actress, filmmaker and humanitarian.
20. She’s the daughter of two Hollywood actors
Born Angelina Jolie Voight in 1975, Angelina Jolie’s father is the Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight.
Voight rose to stardom alongside Dustin Hoffman in groundbreaking 1969 hit Midnight Cowboy, and was a prominent leading man in the 70s.
His most memorable films include Catch-22, Deliverance and Coming Home, the last of which won him the Best Actor Oscar in 1979.
Jolie’s mother, meanwhile, was the actress Marcheline Bertrand, who took a small number of film and TV roles and was married to Voight from 1971 to 1980.
Tragically, Bertrand died in 2007 aged just 56, following a lengthy battle with cancer.
19. She was bullied in high school because of the way she looked
Despite now being known as one of the most beautiful women in the world, Jolie was bullied at school because of the way she looked.
Jolie attended Beverly Hills High School, where she found herself a regular target for abuse from other pupils.
Jolie was targeted by bullies for being too thin, and also because she wore braces and glasses.
Jolie has also since reflected on feeling sidelined as she was not from as wealthy a family as most of her peers at the affluent school.
While her father was successful, he had abandoned the family when Angelina was young, leaving Jolie’s mother to provide for them on her own.
18. She made her film debut in a trashy sci-fi movie called Cyborg 2
Angelina Jolie was a global superstar by the end of the 90s – but every big name actor has to start somewhere.
Jolie landed her debut role in 1993’s Cyborg 2: Glass Shadow, a very loose sequel to the 1989 Jean-Claude Van Damme movie Cyborg.
Jolie was 18 when she took the lead role of Cash, a cyborg who is designed to explode when she has sex, in the pulp sci-fi.
As you might have gathered from that synopsis, Cyborg 2 isn’t the classiest of movies, and Jolie did not have a great time making it.
The actress recalls she “got sick” after seeing Cyborg 2, and she wouldn’t appear in another film until 1995’s Hackers.
17. She’s won three Golden Globes and an Oscar
Happily, Jolie made her way to more rewarding roles within a few years of Cyborg 2, finding her first major success on television.
In 1998, Jolie took a supporting role in TV mini-series George Wallace, for which she won her first Golden Globe (as well as being nominated at the Emmys).
The following year, Jolie won a second Golden Globe – this time as lead actress – for the TV movie Gia.
Then, in 2000, Jolie picked up her third Golden Globe in as many years, this time winning Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for Girl, Interrupted – for which she would also win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar soon thereafter.
In the years since, Jolie has received acting nominations at the Golden Globes, Oscars and BAFTAs for such films as A Mighty Heart, Changeling and The Tourist.
16. She voluntarily had a double mastectomy in 2013
Angelina Jolie’s mother Marcheline Bertrand tragically died young from both breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
Jolie’s grandmother, meanwhile, had also died from ovarian cancer, while Jolie’s aunt died of breast cancer.
After undergoing tests, Jolie learned she stood an 87% chance of developing breast cancer herself due to an inherited genetic defect.
Because of this, Jolie opted to have a double mastectomy as a preventive measure in February 2013.
Two years later, Jolie also had a preventive salpingo-oophorectomy to avoid ovarian cancer, which she was also at risk of developing.
15. She’s a fully licensed pilot
Just in case she didn’t have enough laudable accomplishments to her name already, Angelina Jolie also knows how to fly.
The actress got her pilot’s license in 2004, and soon thereafter bought her own small plane, a Cirrus SR22-G2.
Jolie surprised TV audiences with her little-known skill when she was shown piloting an aircraft in 2018 documentary The Queen’s Green Planet.
The actress has since said the key reason she took up flying was as a treat to her son Maddox, who was three at the time.
angelina jolie flies a plane pic.twitter.com/DXFkP5Fv2d
— Angelina doing things (@Joliethings) August 18, 2020
Jolie explains to People, “Every time Mad sees a plane, he’s amazed… (I thought) If I could actually fly a plane by the time he’s 4, I’ll be like Superman to him.”
14. She has been extremely honest about her struggle with drug addiction
Jolie has gone on the record about her addiction to drugs when she was starting out as an actress.
After she first broke big in her early 20s, Jolie admits she tried “just about every drug possible.”
The actress says, “I went through heavier, darker times and I survived them. I didn’t die young, I am very lucky.”
Jolie also recognises the celebrities who were not quite so lucky, saying “there were other artists that didn’t survive certain things.”
“I did the most dangerous (drugs), and I did the worst, so for many reasons, I shouldn’t be here.”
13. It’s widely speculated she’s had cosmetic surgery
There has been a lot of speculation over the years that (like a lot of celebrities) Jolie may have had cosmetic surgery.
Many commentators believe that Jolie has had work done, most notably on her bee-sting lips.
Others have suggested that comparing photos from over the years also shows that Jolie has had a rhinoplasty, or nose job.
In addition, there have also been suggestions that the actress has had a face-lift as well.
However, there do not seem to be any quotes from Jolie herself confirming or denying any of this.
12. She had to agree to drug testing before being cast in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Not long after her Girl, Interrupted Oscar success, Jolie landed her first blockbuster leading role in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (one of the first major movies adapted from a video game).
Jolie hadn’t done a major action movie before being cast as fearless adventurer Lara Croft, and she was required to undergo extensive physical training.
However, given the actress’s outspoken ‘wild child’ reputation, Jolie also had to go an extra length before studio Paramount would approve her casting as Lara Croft.
Paramount’s then-president John Goldwyn says, “We were sufficiently worried (about Jolie) that we obliged her to undergo random drug tests – and not just urine tests but also blood tests.”
Jolie was so keen to get the part, she told director Simon West “I don’t care if the studio wants to drug test me every day.” It didn’t come to that, thankfully, but Jolie passed the tests she took, and so the role of Lara Croft was hers.
11. She collects knives as a hobby
As we revealed in our recent article about impressive celebrity collections, Jolie has an extensive collection of knives.
Jolie’s collection began at the age of 12, when her mother bought Angelina the very first of her knives.
Keep antique knives out of reach of children, but not #AngelinaJolie! She’s got a killer collection: https://t.co/RwvPZk4Tpdpic.twitter.com/i1rqPsZAmI
— Gemr (@gemr) November 7, 2018
The fascination grew from the Renaissance fairs that the future actress attended in her youth with her mother.
Jolie explains she is drawn to knives from around the world because they “(remind) you of history… there’s just something beautiful about them and traditional.”
The actress says, “Each country has different knives and weapons, and that’s why I started collecting them.”
10. She does her own stunts
Jolie’s relationship with action movies didn’t begin and end with playing Lara Croft twice: the actress has done more than her share of work in the genre.
Her other action films include Mr and Mrs Smith, Wanted and Salt, all of which provided Jolie with very physically demanding roles.
Jolie is known for giving her all to these roles, and is committed to doing as many of her own stunts as possible.
Simon Crane, her trainer on Salt, says that the actress did 99% of the stunts on that movie herself.
For the few stunts that Jolie simply couldn’t do herself, she was doubled by Eunice Huthart (who British readers might remember as a prominent contender on TV’s Gladiators back in the 90s).
9. She had a very public spat with Johnny Depp
In 2010, Jolie co-starred with Johnny Depp in the romantic comedy thriller The Tourist.
Two such big names appearing side-by-side should have been box office gold, but things didn’t turn out that way.
On top of the film garnering mostly terrible reviews, Jolie and Depp reportedly fell out in a big way on set.
After filming had wrapped, Depp was quoted as saying that Jolie was “too full of herself,” with Jolie responding that her co-star “didn’t clean himself up sufficiently.” Ouch!
Even so, The Tourist was a reasonable hit making over $278 million worldwide, and it also managed to get three Golden Globe nominations, including a Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy nod for Jolie.
8. Her first celebrity crushes were Star Trek’s Leonard Nimoy and Psycho’s Anthony Perkins
From early on in her career, Jolie had a reputation for being a little out of the ordinary.
This might be reflected in the two actors she once admitted to having crushes on whilst growing up.
Jolie revealed in a 1999 interview on TV’s The Daily Show that she grew up with a strong attraction to Leonard Nimoy’s Mr Spock, from TV’s Star Trek.
Another actor Jolie admitted taking a fancy to in her youth was Anthony Perkins, for his performance as Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic shocker Psycho.
Jolie indicated that it was Spock’s intellect, aloofness and emotional distance, and by contrast Norman Bates’ extremely unhinged nature that drew her attention.
7. She appeared in a number of music videos in the mid-90s
angelina jolie in the rolling stones music video 'anybody seen my baby' (1997) pic.twitter.com/Hbvh0nwvnN
— chloe (@clo_evangelista) December 28, 2020
While Jolie didn’t make another movie between 1993’s Cyborg 2 and 1995’s Hackers, she didn’t disappear from screens altogether.
The mid-90s saw Jolie appear in a number of music videos for some big name rock acts.
One of these was the video for Meat Loaf’s 1993 single Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through, which was directed by Michael Bay.
The early 90s also saw Jolie appear in the videos for The Lemonheads’ It’s About Time, Lenny Kravitz’s Stand by My Woman and Antonello Venditti’s Alta Marea.
Later, Jolie was also featured in a 1997 video for The Rolling Stones’ Anybody Seen My Baby?
6. She has been married three times
Jolie’s tumultuous love life has long been the subject of much media interest and speculation.
Jolie was first married in 1996 to Johnny Lee Miller, who she met whilst shooting 1995 movie Hackers.
The two divorced in 1999, and a year later Jolie wed another co-star, Billy Bob Thornton, with whom she made 1999’s Pushing Tin.
Jolie and Thornton were over by 2003, and she later started a relationship with her Mr and Mrs Smith co-star Brad Pitt (the cause of some scandal, as Pitt was still married to Jennifer Aniston at the time).
Though a couple for many years, Pitt and Jolie did not wed until 2014 – but sadly this marriage also failed to last, ending in 2016.
5. She has been romantically linked to several co-stars
Tabloid interest in Jolie’s love life has been intensified further over her tendency to enter into relationships with her fellow actors.
While still married to Jonny Lee Miller, Jolie (who has spoken openly of her bisexuality) began a relationship with Jenny Shimizu, her co-star in 1996’s Foxfire.
She dated Jenny Shimizu while filming the movie Foxfire, shortly after separating from 1st husband, Johnny Lee Miller! pic.twitter.com/XfIf1ZYOuZ
— شاعرة (@Shar16Fran) October 3, 2019
Jolie and Shimizu are said to have been in an on-off romance for around a decade, also overlapping Jolie’s marriage to Billy Bob Thornton.
Jolie is also said to have had a relationship with her Playing God co-star Timothy Hutton, plus her Alexander co-star Colin Farrell (who actually played her son in that movie!)
As well as Farrell, it is rumoured Jolie also had flings with two of her other Alexander co-stars, Jared Leto and Val Kilmer.
4. She’s a mother of six children
Jolie is a mother to no fewer than six children, three of whom she adopted and three of whom were fathered by Brad Pitt.
Jolie adopted her first son Maddox in 2002, having first met him at a Cambodian orphanage while shooting Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
They love travelling in general. One of my favourite things is packing with the kids when we are about to set off on a new adventure. They are really self-sufficient travellers. – #AngelinaJoliepic.twitter.com/RocjSNLynk
— Tres ? – fan account (@AngelTresJolie) March 20, 2021
Jolie later adopted her second child Zahara in 2005, initially raising both her and Maddox as a single parent.
Once Jolie was in a relationship with Pitt, he also adopted Zahara and Maddox, while together they adopted another son, Pax, in 2007.
Angelina Jolie shopping with her daughters Shiloh and Zahara in LA. January 8, 2021 pic.twitter.com/itukS9CtxX
— best of angelina jolie (@bestofajolie) January 9, 2021
Jolie and Pitt went on to have three biological children – Shiloh in 2006, and twins Knox and Vivienne in 2008.
3. She has received awards for her humanitarian efforts
As the years have progressed, Jolie has become more and more renowned for her humanitarian efforts.
The actress became a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2002.
She became motivated to get involved after shooting Lara Croft: Tomb Raider in Cambodia, and witnessing the struggles in the country firsthand.
This humanitarian work has seen Jolie awarded a number of accolades, including a Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
Jolie also has a particular interest in causes that promote children’s rights, women’s rights and conservation.
2. She’s an acclaimed director and screenwriter
During the last decade, Jolie has to a large extent stepped away from acting, instead turning her hand to directing, writing and producing.
Jolie made her directorial debut with 2007’s A Place in Time, an experimental documentary featuring many of her Hollywood contemporaries.
Later she made the move into conventional narrative film with her first feature, In the Land of Blood and Honey, in 2011.
Since then Jolie has directed Unbroken (2014), By the Sea (2015) and First They Killed My Father (2017).
Jolie also wrote the screenplays for In the Land of Blood and Honey and By the Sea, and co-wrote First They Killed My Father with Loung Ung.
1. She has been called the most beautiful and powerful woman in the entertainment industry
Jolie has been listed by many different publications as being among the most beautiful women in the world.
More than once she has topped lists of the world’s most beautiful women in Vanity Fair, Vogue, People and others.
Meanwhile, men’s magazines such as Esquire and FHM have declared her the world’s sexiest woman.
Surveys in 2007 and 2011 found that Angelina Jolie’s physical appearance was regarded the ‘gold standard’ for feminine beauty in the USA at those times.
Writer Elizabeth Angell has suggested that this shows that American culture has “branched out beyond the Barbie-doll ideal and embraced something quite different.”