Angelina Jolie achieved wide fame after her portrayal of video game heroine Lara Croft in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), and established herself among the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood with the sequel Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003). She reinforced her reputation as a leading action star with Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) and Wanted (2008)—her biggest non-animated commercial successes to date and received further critical acclaim for her performances in the dramas A Mighty Heart (2007) and Changeling (2008), which earned her a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actress.
Divorced from actors Jonny Lee Miller and Billy Bob Thornton, Angelina Jolie now lives with actor Brad Pitt, in a relationship that has attracted worldwide media attention. Jolie and Pitt have three adopted children, Maddox, Pax, and Zahara, and three biological children, Shiloh, Knox, and Vivienne.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Angelina Jolie is the daughter of actors Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand. She is the sister of actor James Haven, niece of singer-songwriter Chip Taylor, and goddaughter of actors Jacqueline Bisset and Maximilian Schell. On her father's side, Jolie is of German and Slovak descent, and on her mother's side, she is of French Canadian, Dutch, and German ancestry. She has also claimed to be part Iroquois through her mother, although Voight has said that Bertrand was "not seriously Iroquois."
After her parents' separation in 1976, Angelina Jolie and her brother lived with their mother, who abandoned her acting ambitions to focus on raising her children. As a child, Jolie regularly saw movies with her mother and later explained that this had inspired her interest in acting; she had not been influenced by her father. When she was six years old, her mother and stepfather, filmmaker Bill Day, moved the family to Palisades, New York; they returned to Los Angeles five years later. She then decided she wanted to act and enrolled at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, where she trained for two years and appeared in several stage productions.
She graduated from high school and returned to theater studies, though in recent times she has referred to this period with the observation, "I am still at heart—and always will be—just a punk kid with tattoos."
Angelina Jolie suffered episodes of suicidal depression throughout her teens and early twenties. She felt isolated at Beverly Hills High School among the children of some of the area's affluent families, as her mother survived on a more modest income, and she was teased by other students, who targeted her for being extremely thin and for wearing glasses and braces. She found it difficult to emotionally connect with other people, and as a result she started to self-harm; later commenting, "I collected knives and always had certain things around. For some reason, the ritual of having cut myself and feeling the pain, maybe feeling alive, feeling some kind of release, it was somehow therapeutic to me." She also began experimenting with drugs; by the age of 20, she had tried "just about every drug possible," including heroin.
Jolie has had a difficult relationship with her father. Due to Voight's marital infidelity and the resulting breakup of her parents' marriage, she was estranged from her father for many years. They reconciled and he appeared with her in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), but their relationship again deteriorated. In July 2002, Jolie—who had long used her middle name as a stage name to establish her own identity as an actress—filed a request to legally drop Voight as her surname, which was granted on September 12, 2002. In August of that year, Voight claimed that his daughter had "serious mental problems" on Access Hollywood. In response, Jolie released a statement in which she indicated that she no longer wished to pursue a relationship with her father. She stated that she did not want to publicize her reasons for their estrangement, but because she had adopted her son Maddox, she did not think it was healthy for her to associate with Voight. In 2009, Jolie again reconciled with her father after a seven-year estrangement.
Angelina Jolie had a serious boyfriend for two years from the age of 14. They lived together in her mother's home, of which she has said, "He was my first boyfriend at a time when I wanted to be promiscuous and was starting to be sexual. We were in my bedroom, in my environment, where I was most comfortable and I wasn't in danger." She later compared the relationship to a marriage in its emotional intensity, and said that the breakup compelled her to dedicate herself to her acting career at the age of 16.
During filming of Hackers (1995), Jolie had a romance with British actor Jonny Lee Miller, her first lover since the relationship in her early teens. They were not in touch for many months after production ended, but eventually reconnected and married soon after on March 28, 1996. She attended her wedding in black rubber pants and a white T-shirt, upon which she had written the groom's name in her blood. Jolie and Miller separated in September 1997 and divorced on February 3, 1999. They remained on good terms, and Jolie later explained, "It comes down to timing. I think he's the greatest husband a girl could ask for. I'll always love him, we were simply too young."
Angelina Jolie had a brief relationship with model-actress Jenny Shimizu on the set of Foxfire (1996). She later said, "I would probably have married Jenny if I hadn't married my husband. I fell in love with her the first second I saw her." Shimizu claimed in 2005 that her relationship with Jolie had lasted many years and continued even while Jolie was romantically involved with other people. In 2003, asked if she was bisexual, Jolie responded, "Of course. If I fell in love with a woman tomorrow, would I feel that it's okay to want to kiss and touch her? If I fell in love with her? Absolutely! Yes!"
After a two-month courtship, Jolie married actor Billy Bob Thornton on May 5, 2000, in Las Vegas. They met on the set of Pushing Tin (1999), but did not pursue a relationship at that time as Thornton was engaged to actress Laura Dern. As a result of their frequent public declarations of passion and gestures of love—most famously wearing one another's blood in vials around their necks—their marriage became a favorite topic of the entertainment media. Jolie and Thornton announced the adoption of a son from Cambodia in March 2002, but abruptly separated three months later. Their divorce was finalized on May 27, 2003. Asked about the sudden dissolution of their marriage, Jolie stated, "It took me by surprise, too, because overnight, we totally changed. I think one day we had just nothing in common. And it's scary but... I think it can happen when you get involved and you don't know yourself yet."
On March 10, 2002, Jolie adopted her first child, seven-month-old Maddox Chivan, from an orphanage in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He was born as Rath Vibol on August 5, 2001, in a local village. Jolie applied for adoption after she had visited Cambodia twice, while filming Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) and on a UNHCR field mission. The adoption process was halted in December 2001 when the U.S. government banned adoptions from Cambodia amid allegations of child trafficking. Once the adoption was finalized, she took custody of Maddox in Namibia, where she was filming Beyond Borders (2003). Although Jolie and her then-husband Billy Bob Thornton announced the adoption together, she in fact adopted Maddox as a single parent. Jolie adopted a daughter, six-month-old Zahara Marley, from an orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on July 6, 2005. Zahara was born as Yemsrach on January 8, 2005, in Awasa. At the time of the adoption, Zahara was wrongly believed to be an AIDS orphan and it was unknown whether she herself was HIV positive, but she later tested negative. Shortly after they returned to the United States, Zahara was hospitalized for dehydration and malnutrition. In November 2007, media outlets reported that Zahara's biological mother wanted her daughter back, but she denied these reports, saying she thought Zahara was "very fortunate" to have been adopted by Jolie.
Jolie was accompanied by her partner Brad Pitt when she traveled to Ethiopia to collect Zahara. She later indicated that she and Pitt had made the decision to adopt from Ethiopia together. In December 2005, Pitt's publicist announced that Pitt was seeking to adopt Maddox and Zahara. To reflect this, Jolie filed a request to legally change her children's surnames from Jolie to Jolie-Pitt, which was granted on January 19, 2006. The adoptions were finalized soon after.
On March 15, 2007, Angelina Jolie adopted a son, three-year-old Pax Thien, from an orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He was born as Pham Quang Sang on November 29, 2003, in the capital, where he was abandoned soon after birth. Jolie adopted Pax as a single parent, because Vietnam's adoption regulations do not allow unmarried couples to co-adopt. The rights for the first post-adoption images of Pax were sold to People for a reported $2 million, as well as to Hello! for an undisclosed amount. In April, Jolie filed a request to legally change her son's surname from Jolie to Jolie-Pitt, which was approved on May 31, 2007. Pitt's adoption of Pax was finalized in the United States on February 21, 2008.
At the Cannes Film Festival in May 2008, Angelina Jolie confirmed that she was expecting twins. For the two weeks she spent in a seaside hospital in Nice, France, reporters and photographers camped outside on the promenade. She gave birth to a son, Knox Léon, and a daughter, Vivienne Marcheline, on July 12, 2008. The rights for the first images of Knox and Vivienne were jointly sold to People and Hello! for a reported $14 million—the most expensive celebrity pictures ever taken. The proceeds were donated to the Jolie-Pitt Foundation.