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Angelina Jolie - Biography

The American actress was born in 1975 in Los Angeles and is best known for Girl Interrupted, Mr & Mrs Smith, Maleficent, Changeling, and more

Close up of Angelina Jolie smiling.
Ahad Sanwari
Ahad Sanwari - New York
Senior WriterNew York
Updated: 5 July 2023
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Angelina Jolie's Early Life

Angelina Jolie was born in Los Angeles on June 4, 1975, to actor Jon Voight and former model and actress Marcheline Bertrand. She is the niece of singer-songwriter Chip Taylor and her godparents are actors Jacqueline Bisset and Maximilan Schell.

Jolie and her older brother, fellow actor James Haven, were raised in New York by their mother after their father left. She made minor appearances in some of her father's films throughout the '80s, although they were estranged as she grew older.

Aged 11, she won a place to study at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute. Appearances in music videos for the Rolling Stones and Lenny Kravitz led to small film parts, and in 1995 she landed her first starring role in cyber-thriller Hackers.

Angelina Jolie's Career and Success

Jolie's star rose significantly when she picked up two consecutive Golden Globe Awards for her performances in TNT's 1997 film George Wallace and HBO's 1998 film Gia. A year later, she received the highest acclaim of her career when she played the sociopathic patient Lisa in 1999's Girl, Interrupted opposite Winona Ryder, which won her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

The aughts and 2010s were a prosperous period for the star, where she cemented herself as one of the world's highest paid actresses thanks to the films Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), Mr & Mrs Smith (2005), A Mighty Heart (2007), Wanted (2008), and Changeling (2008), which earned her a second Oscar nomination. Her work in the Kung Fu Panda, Eternals, and Maleficent franchises have also earned her box office glory.

Since dedicating more of her time to motherhood and humanitarian efforts, her work in film has been more infrequent. She pivoted to directing, however, with 2011 with the critically acclaimed In the Land of Blood and Honey.

Angelina Jolie's Humanitarian Work

Jolie is almost as well known for her charitable and philanthropic work as she is for her Hollywood career. After a 2001 visit to Cambodia while filming Lara Croft opened her eyes to the refugee crisis, she began undertaking field missions on an infrequent basis.

Her efforts were ratcheted up soon after becoming a mother, devoting more time to her humanitarian efforts and making trips to countries like Cambodia, Syria, Ukraine, Sierra Leone, Yemen, Afghanistan, and many more. Her work has mostly centered around education, women's rights, refugee rehabilitation, the protection of children, and conservation.

She was named a Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 2012 (a position she held till 2022) and has received a Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and been made a Dame Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George for her efforts.

Angelina Jolie's Personal Life

Jolie's personal life has been extensively covered throughout her career, especially her high-profile marriages. In 1996, she married her Hackers co-star Jonny Lee Miller (a wedding she attended in black rubber pants and a white tee on which she'd written his name in blood), which lasted till 2000. Shortly after, she married her Pushing Tin co-star Billy Bob Thornton, which was a media frenzy for its three-year run, particularly when they were spotted wearing each other's blood in vials around their necks.

In 2005, she fell for her Mr & Mrs Smith co-star Brad Pitt. She was blamed as the reason for Pitt's divorce from Jennifer Aniston later that year, a fact all parties involved have denied. They became the ultimate Hollywood power couple, dubbed "Brangelina," and finally tied the knot in 2018. However, their union was not to last, and their contentious divorce was finalized in 2019.

Jolie adopted Maddox (born August 2001) from Cambodia when she was with Thornton, although became a single parent when they split up months later. In 2005, she adopted Zahara (born January 2005) from an orphanage in Ethiopia, and they were both adopted by Pitt once he and Jolie began a relationship. They welcomed their first biological child, Shiloh, in May 2006 in Namibia, and then adopted Pax (born November 2003) in 2007 from an orphanage in Vietnam. She and Pitt welcomed their twins Knox and Vivienne in July 2008. Since their divorce, the exes share joint custody of their children.

To learn more about Angelina Jolie, click here

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