Angelina Jolie has become more than a mere celebrity. Indeed, in many ways, as a special envoy for the United Nations, she’s become something of an icon for peace. That work takes her across the globe to refugee camps where she offers a beacon of hope to those in real need. And when she’s not flying around the world acting as a modern-day superhero, she’s looking after her six kids.
But while Jolie may appear to be the picture of perfection these days, things were a little different when she first hit Hollywood. In fact, over the course of her fame the actress’ life has changed dramatically, and the world has watched her transformation from rebel and wild child to all-round do-gooder.
It’s fair to say, moreover, that Jolie has been acting since she was very young; back in the early ’80s, for example, she starred in the movie Lookin’ to Get Out with her dad, Jon Voight. Keeping things in the family, she also appeared in a number of student movies directed by her brother at the USC School of Cinema.
High school, however, was not a happy time for the young starlet. Aside from being very slim and wearing braces, the very features that make her stunning today stuck out like a sore thumb when she was a child. The other school kids taunted her for her looks. And after a failed venture into the realms of modeling, she began self-harming.
In 1995, though, when Jolie was starring in low-budget tech flick Hackers, she met British actor Jonny Lee Miller. And the two were hitched just six months later, with Jolie dressed rather unconventionally in a T-shirt with Miller’s name scribbled on it… in her own blood. The pair divorced in 1999.
In 1996, meanwhile, Jolie started to take on more racy roles. In the flick Mojave Moon, for example, she played Eleanor Rigby, a girl who crushes hard on a guy who in turn has a crush on her mom. From there, she went on to star in the film Firefox, about teen girls who band together to seek revenge on their sex pest teacher.
And love was soon on the cards once again for the young, edgy actress – once more, with yet another co-star. After starring in Pushing Tin alongside Billy Bob Thornton, she fell head over heels for her fellow actor. The two of them married on May 5, 2000.
Shortly after their marriage, moreover, Jolie and Thornton shocked the world by stepping out with neck chains featuring bottles of one another’s blood. Jolie has since come out and tried to explain her unusual choice of pendant, explaining in a 2014 interview with Elle that it was simply “misinterpreted as [me] wanting to be rebellious.”
And there was yet more rebellious behavior to come in 2000, when Jolie and her brother made their red carpet arrival at the Oscars and promptly locked lips for all the world to see. Naturally, the amorous moment created a huge amount of controversy, with some commentators even speculating that the two of them were more than just family!
Of course, Jolie’s most iconic role ever was that of Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider series of movies. But initially, when the studio execs first offered her the part, she wasn’t all that thrilled. It was only a little later, after thinking about it, that she decided the fitness training demanded by the role would make it worthwhile.
And she took to the action role with pure style, even carrying out her own stunts, such as setting her clothes alight and flinging herself off a bungee rope. When the film came out, then, the effect was immediate: almost overnight, she was internationally known as Lara Croft.
A few years after her Tomb Raider debut, though, the actress took on a darker action role in the thriller Taking Lives. She played an FBI agent on the tail of a murderer. And while the movie got a mixed reception, it opened up a new chapter in Jolie’s movie career, showing that she was more than just a one-trick pony.
It was the very next year, in fact, that Jolie starred in yet another action flick, Mr. & Mrs. Smith. This was a movie that would change her life forever, since she met Brad Pitt and fell for him. There was just one problem, though – he was still married to Jennifer Aniston.
By mid 2005 however, Brad Pitt was already joining Jolie on her travels around the globe. And along the way, she adopted Zahara Marley, a six-month-old Ethiopian girl. Then at the start of 2006, she legally changed the child’s surname to Jolie-Pitt.
In the very same year, the couple made their union even more official. In January, Jolie announced that she was carrying Pitt’s baby. By this point, Pitt’s marriage to Jennifer had officially been over by just a few months: the couple had divorced in October 2005.
Shortly after the two made things official, they started their humanitarian crusades together. In 2006, for example, they launched the Jolie-Pitt Foundation, which helps those most in need across the globe. Yet this was to be just the start of Jolie’s good deeds.
And while they were working on saving the world, the couple were also rapidly expanding their family. Jolie had already adopted two orphans by this point, and the couple later adopted a third from Vietnam in 2007. The three-year-old boy was called Pax Thien.
The next year, Jolie fell pregnant again – and, this time, it was with twins. She gave birth to Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline in the summer of 2008. That meant that she and Brad were the proud parents of no fewer than six children. Now, that’s a whole lot to handle.
In 2008, meanwhile, Jolie started to leave her bad girl image behind and moved into a rather tamer genre of movies. In particular, she took a role alongside Jack Black in the kids’ flick Kung Fu Panda. At the time, she explained to The New York Times, “It’s a big hit in the house. Jack Black is like De Niro to the kids.”
Yet while her movie career was thriving, the other side to Jolie was becoming stronger than ever. She’d been serving as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Refugee Agency for years before. In 2010, though, she got a promotion to special envoy. Still, it seems that this position was just not enough for the star…
During her relationship with Pitt, moreover, Jolie became more involved in aid work, and that did not stop when she became a special envoy. In fact, according to reports, she had her own political advisors and even “dreamed of becoming the top UN official.” And one source claimed that this was the reason for her relationship troubles with Pitt.
Still, although Jolie seemed to appear like a woman who has it all, things recently took a rocky turn for the movie star-turned-humanitarian. Most notably, she filed for divorce from husband of two years Pitt. And, to add fuel to the fire, she is also seeking sole custody of their six children. Only time will tell then, what the reformed rebel’s next move will be.