Angelina Jolie wears many hats, from being an Academy Award-winning actress to a humanitarian to a filmmaker. But she’s also a mom to six children – three adopted from countries around the world. And she took all of them on an epic trip in early 2018.
Angelina Jolie’s path to fame was paved by her parents, Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand, both of whom were actors. In fact, Jolie has said that she had become inspired to act after watching her mother’s movies as a child. By the time she was 11, Jolie had enrolled in the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in West Hollywood, California.
By 1997 Jolie had her breakthrough performance in a made-for-TV movie, George Wallace. She played the headlining character’s second wife, Cornelia. Consequently, she earned a Golden Globe award in 1998 for her supporting role.
The next year brought Jolie an even more fruitful role. Her part in 1999’s Girl, Interrupted earned her another Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. By 2001 she proved she was a bona fide movie star, headlining the multi-million-dollar blockbuster, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
Around the same time, Jolie said “I do” in Las Vegas to fellow actor Billy Bob Thornton after a whirlwind romance. The pair decided to adopt a son from Cambodia together in March of 2002. However, they wouldn’t be a happy family for long – Jolie and Thornton divorced a few months later.
But Jolie still adopted the baby boy, who was born on August 5, 2001, and left at a Cambodian orphanage. When he was seven months old, he officially became Jolie’s son, and she named him Maddox Chivan.
Soon, the family-of-two would grow by one – but not because Jolie had adopted another baby. While filming the 2005 movie Mr. & Mrs. Smith, sparks flew between the actress and her co-star, Brad Pitt. Although some alleged that the pair had an affair – Pitt was married to Jennifer Aniston while they made the film – Jolie swore the relationship began honestly.
Regardless of the rumors, Pitt joined Jolie on her journey to adopt her second child, an Ethiopian orphan whom she named Zahara Marley, in July of 2005. The couple later revealed that they had chosen to bring home a baby from Ethiopia after visiting the country together earlier in the same year as Zahara’s adoption.
Throughout all this, Jolie and Pitt did not confirm to the press that they were, indeed, a couple. In January of 2006, though, the superstars more or less confirmed that they were romantically involved by revealing that Jolie was pregnant with Pitt’s baby.
Jolie and Pitt welcomed their first child together, a daughter named Shiloh, on May 27, 2006. To escape the press, the couple flew to Namibia, where Jolie gave birth to Shiloh. They even sold their daughter’s baby photos to donate the proceeds to charity and de-incentivize the paparazzi from snapping the first shots of their newborn.
Less than a year after they welcomed Shiloh, Jolie and Pitt were ready to add a fourth child to the mix. This time, they adopted a three-year-old boy from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The toddler had been left at an orphanage by his mother shortly after his birth – the actors named him Pax Thien and brought him home.
The couple completed their family with a surprise addition – twins. In May of 2008 Jolie announced at the Cannes Film Festival that she was pregnant with a pair of babies. Two months later, she gave birth to their son, Knox Leon, and daughter, Vivienne Marcheline.
After that, the Jolie-Pitts mostly lived in France’s Provence region in a large estate called Chateau Miraval. The 1,200-acre property had its own vineyard, as well as a private lake. Of course, all of that came at a high price – $60 million, which was the reported cost of the home when they bought it in 2012.
Considering their international lifestyle and blended backdrops, it didn’t come as a surprise that the Jolie-Pitt children had great interest in other cultures. In June of 2016 Jolie told the BBC Radio 4 show Woman’s Hour that all six of her kids had begun studying new languages.
“Shi is learning Khmai, which is a Cambodian language, Pax is focusing on Vietnamese, Mad has taken to German and Russian, Z is speaking French, Vivienne really wanted to learn Arabic, and Knox is learning sign language,” Jolie reported at the time.
With jet-setting parents – and a mother deeply involved in humanitarian work around the world – Jolie knew their studies would come in handy. In fact, she said it was “a dream” that her brood was “interested in other cultures.”
One thing that Jolie’s kids had no interest in was becoming actors and actresses like their dad and mom, although many of them did chase creative pursuits of their own. “They are actually very interested in being musicians,” Jolie revealed, although she added that “they are all very young,” so their aspirations could change.
In the meantime, Jolie told BBC Radio 4’s Today show that she didn’t expect any of her six children to be perfect. On the contrary, she noted that all of them had a “rebellious streak,” which she could only encourage.
“My kids all have a good rebellious streak that is wonderful and curious. I don’t want them to be perfectly behaved little people that just say what’s absolutely appropriate because I say so… They have to find themselves,” Jolie said.
Jolie’s parenting style allowed them to do just that. “I think, like most parents, we try our best to insert good stuff, and we can’t control everything that they’re exposed to, so we try to ask that they will talk to us about anything they saw that bothers them or that they’re concerned about,” she said.
Much of this stemmed from her family’s life in the spotlight, Jolie concluded. “The truth is that my children have seen things about themselves, even from what’s considered serious news people, that are inaccurate. So my children have a very odd sense of who’s telling the truth and what the truth is and what they actually believe or trust,” she said.
Ultimately, though, Jolie admitted that she wasn’t the only one growing – although she was raising her kids, they were teaching her too. “Every parent says it, but we really do. They are all so much smarter than us. And I’ve had to learn from them,” she said.
Still, Jolie did tell BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour that she hoped to impart her children with one major lesson. She said, “[Refugees] are heroes in my house,” adding that she didn’t want her six children to “look at these people and feel pity.”
Instead, Jolie said, “I want them to have so much admiration and respect.” That lesson was especially pertinent considering all three of Jolie’s adopted children – Maddox, Pax and Zahara – came from countries shattered by war.
So Jolie made a point to bring her children along on some of her personal humanitarian missions, through which they could meet and interact with refugees. In January of 2018 Zahara and Shiloh traveled with her to Jordan to meet those fleeing violence in Syria.
Of course, not all the Jolie-Pitt clan’s activities were as heavy as their visits to those displaced by war. Just after the trip to Jordan with Zahara and Shiloh, the actress and her daughters returned to Europe, where they embarked on further travels with Maddox, Pax, Vivienne and Knox.
At the end of January in 2018, Jolie trekked to Paris, France, where she filmed a perfume commercial and met with the country’s first lady, Brigitte Macron. But she also found some time to sneak away and enjoy the city of light with her six kids.
And it was there that Jolie and her kids spent an afternoon exploring what might be the world’s most famous museum. The actress, along with 16-year-old Maddox; Pax, 14; Zahara, 13; Shiloh, 11; and 9-year-old twins Vivienne and Knox, perused the Louvre together.
When it was founded in 1793, the Louvre was an exhibition of just 537 paintings, many of which had been confiscated from churches. When Napoleon became Emperor of the French, he added much to the museum’s collection – and renamed it after himself, the Musée Napoléon.
At the end of Napoleon’s reign, though, much of the art he had seized and placed in the Louvre was returned. But future French leaders including Louis XVIII eventually refilled the museum’s galleries. Today, the Louvre has about 38,000 items within its 782,910 square feet of space.
In the famous museum’s galleries, visitors gather around perhaps the most famous painting in the world – Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Noteworthy sculptures include the Nike of Samothrace, also known as Winged Victory, and the Venus de Milo, a classical piece that is over 2,100 years old.
Although art lovers could get lost in the Louvre for hours or even days, the Jolie-Pitt clan spent a brief two hours touring the galleries before heading back to their hotel. Needless to say, they stayed in somewhere just as notable as the museum they visited.
Everyone from Beyonce and Jay-Z to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt to Salvador Dalí have checked into Le Meurice, a luxurious lodging that’s just steps from the Louvre. The five-star hotel opened in 1815 and maintains its opulent styling today.
Their trip to the Louvre was just the beginning for Jolie and her children. The rest of 2018 saw them participating in a slew of memorable activities together. They hiked through the Hollywood Hills, went on shopping sprees and even went to the movie theater together.
Some spectators theorized that Jolie spent so much time traveling and having fun with her children because she and their father, Pitt, were in the midst of a contentious divorce. The couple had exchanged vows in late 2014 after a decade together, but they didn’t stay married for long.
By September of 2016 Jolie sought a divorce from Pitt, stating that the pair had irreconcilable differences. A rep claimed at the time that she did so “for the health of the family,” according to Refinery29. Pitt, meanwhile, hoped that they could deal with the proceedings with discretion for one reason alone.
“I am very saddened by this, but what matters most now is the wellbeing of our kids. I kindly ask the press to give them the space they deserve during this challenging time,” Pitt said in a statement to People magazine.
The divorce proceedings began tumultuously. However, Jolie and Pitt eventually agreed to put on a “united front” to make the process easier on their children. “Things got bad, I didn’t want to use that word. Things became ‘difficult,’” Jolie told Vanity Fair.
Eventually, though, Jolie said she and Pitt had turned a new leaf when they realized that they both wanted the best for their children. “We care for each other and care about our family, and we are both working towards the same goal,” she said.
And Jolie knew a piece of paper would not supply her brood with the closure they needed. “The children are not healing from divorce. They’re healing from some… from life, from things in life,” she said. Their amazing trip to the Louvre was just one example of that.