9 Things We Learned From Angelina Jolie’s Revealing Vanity Fair Interview

Taryn Ryder
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
Angelina Jolie makes some candid confessions. (Photo: Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott exclusively for Vanity Fair)

Angelina Jolie covers the September issue of Vanity Fair, and the actress is making headlines for her candid confessions about life post-Brad Pitt.

While we’re obviously interested in the juicy breakup quotes — and subtle shade — the story is filled with plenty of other gems.

Here are nine fun facts we learned about Jolie and her and Pitt’s six children:

1. Vivienne loves blankets.

Jolie and Pitt’s 9-year-old daughter, Vivienne, is obsessed with blankets. During the interview, Jolie explains why a blanket she picks up is “shredded to death.”

“She has 32 blankets. She is very into her blanket, and she gets very mad if you wash her blanket,” Jolie says with a laugh. “She actually said to me the other day, ‘Mom, I can taste my blanket.’ ‘That, honey, is a sign that it really, really needs to be washed.’”

2. Decorating isn’t Jolie’s thing. 

When settling into the living room for the beginning of the interview, the writer notes that Jolie looks “curiously” at some throw pillows. She says, “I didn’t even know I needed ‘throw pillows.’” Jolie declares that decorating and house stuff “was always Brad’s thing.”

The actress does have one personal piece of artwork in her recently purchased Los Feliz home: a black-and-white photograph of the six children, smiling and holding their various pets — dogs, reptiles, and rodents.

3. Zahara goes by Zaz.

Jolie describes her 12-year-old daughter as “the rock” of the family.

4. The kids aren’t always excited about humanitarian trips.

Even the Jolie-Pitt kids just want to be kids at times. Jolie explains that she will be taking the children to Africa while she checks in on a project connected to the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative. The actress admits that it’s not a dream itinerary and that she’s started to get a little pushback from her older children.

Angelina Jolie and her children, from left, Pax, Maddox, Zahara, and Shiloh meet with Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni. (Photo: TANG CHHIN SOTHY/AFP/Getty Images)

“I’m conscious that the boys are teenage boys, and maybe they’d rather be watching TV with their friends, and they’ve been to Africa, and they may not be as excited as the little ones,” she confesses. “But they don’t really challenge me. They just kind of sit on the edge of my bed and say, ‘What are we going to do there?’”

Jolie apparently assured them that they would be doing fun stuff too, such as sandboarding. Still, the kids are much more awake than most and appreciate the humanitarian work. “They know that it’s important, and they know that Mom thinks that it’s going to be important when they’re older,” she adds.

At least one of them, 9-year-old Knox, enjoys the family’s not-so-normal life. Jolie recently made a joke to her son along the lines of “Pretend to be normal.”

Knox replied, “Who wants to be normal? We’re not normal. Let’s never be normal.”

“Thank you — yes! We’re not normal,” Jolie quipped. “Let’s embrace being not normal!”

5. Jolie needs to work on her cooking skills.

While Jolie explains that she’s prioritizing family over movie roles, we can’t help but take the following quote to mean that she needs to work on her skills in the kitchen.

“I’m just wanting to make the proper breakfast and keep the house. That’s my passion,” she states. “At the request of my kids, I’m taking cooking classes. As I go to sleep at night, I think, did I do a great job as a mom or was that an average day?”

We’d love to know what she’s whipping up.

6. Homemaker Jolie is a work in progress. 

Sure, cooking classes are in the mix, but Jolie realizes that adapting to life as a single mom comes with time.

“I never woke up and thought, I really want to live a bold life. I just can’t do the other,” she declares. “It’s the same as I can’t make a casserole. I cannot sit still.”

The interviewer notes that Jolie is “champing at the bit” for her trip to Africa, “desperate to flee.”

“I’ve been trying for nine months to be really good at just being a homemaker and picking up dog poop and cleaning dishes and reading bedtime stories. And I’m getting better at all three,” Jolie admits. “But now I need to get my boots on and go hang, take a trip.”

7. Jon Voight is trying to be a cool grandpa.

Jolie has a complicated history with her father, but it sounds as though she’s been leaning on him in the wake of her split. Grandpa Jon has been helpful when it comes to the kids.

“He’s been very good at understanding they needed their grandfather at this time,” she tells Vanity Fair. “I had to do a therapy meeting last night and he was just around. He knows kind of the rule — don’t make them play with you. Just be a cool grandpa who’s creative, and hang out and tell stories and read a book in the library.”

8. Even Angelina Jolie needs a shoulder to cry on when going through a breakup.

The actress counts Loung Ung as a close friend. Ung’s 2000 memoir, First They Killed My Father, is about the Khmer Rouge genocide; Jolie adapted the story and directed the film of it, due out on Netflix this month. Their friendship dates back nearly two decades, and Ung is one of the people whom the actress has confided in during her divorce.

“She’s that girlfriend who rolled up her sleeves, got on a plane, and helped me on Christmas morning,” says Jolie. “She’s been my closest friend. I cried on her shoulder.”

9. Ung helped persuade Jolie to adopt Maddox.

It was Ung who helped encourage her new friend, Jolie, to adopt Maddox. Jolie met the author when she was in Cambodia shooting Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and they quickly bonded.

“I asked her as a Cambodian orphan if she would be offended for somebody like me, an outsider, [to do that], or if that would be a nice thing,” recalls Jolie.

Ung was fully supportive, so they visited an orphanage in Battambang. Jolie only wanted to visit one, telling herself that she wouldn’t shop around. As she walked through the orphanage, she “didn’t feel a connection with any” of the children, she says. “They then said, ‘There’s one more baby.’”

That’s when she saw Maddox lying in a box suspended from the ceiling.

“I cried and cried,” she said.


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