Inside Angelina Jolie’s life as a single mom
Wpa Pool/Getty Images
Angelina Jolie has been given a lot of different labels in the past — including gothic, edgy, and even mysteriously intense. Yet everything about her oozes “quintessential movie star.” So, it wasn’t too surprising that when she hooked up with Hollywood heavyweight Brad Pitt back in roughly 2004, our interest in their lives went from curious to obsessed. (Remember “Brangelina”?) This power couple later had six kids (three adopted, three biologically), tied the knot in 2014, and appeared to live happily together as a family of eight. That is, until September 2016, when an alleged child abuse incident on a private plane (of which Pitt was later cleared) prompted Jolie to file for divorce “for the health of the family,” her lawyer told People.
Amid ongoing divorce proceedings and following a nasty custody battle, Jolie is officially single and on her own these days, living in a house of nearly all teenagers — and our curiosity about her hasn’t gone away. How has the actress been dealing with the emotional fallout of this high-profile split, all while maintaining a career in the public eye? Here’s everything we know about Angelina Jolie’s life as a single mom.
Angelina Jolie’s raising her kids in a six-bedroom mansion
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
After filing for divorce from Brad Pitt in late 2016, Angelina Jolie initially moved their six kids around to a couple of rental homes. First was a Malibu, Calif. estate owned by controversial X-Men director Bryan Singer, which was said to rent as high as $80,000 a month, and second was a property in Hidden Hills, Calif. owned by model-actress Denise Richards. Variety reports that it leased for $30,000 per month.
By 2017, however, Jolie shelled out the mega cash ($24.5 million, to be exact) to buy a six-bedroom mansion in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles. While the massive home boasts some incredible history — in addition to being formerly owned by the late filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille, silent film star Charlie Chaplin once lived in a smaller house within the compound — the number of bedrooms had to have come in handy, as well. In fact, shortly after they moved in, a Vanity Fair journalist who’d interviewed the movie star wrote that Jolie didn’t necessarily choose the home for its “prestigious history or the architecture. She needed a good place fast, somewhere secluded, with a lot of rooms.”
This single mom lives a no-fuss lifestyle (really!)
Angela Weiss/Getty Images
Angelina Jolie has admitted that it’s hard for her to relax sometimes, which maybe isn’t too surprising, considering her intense public image. In 2015, the Maleficent star revealed her biggest struggle since turning 40 to The Guardian: “Being in the everyday. Staying still. Because … I’m a bit on fire, inside.” However, Jolie gave the complete opposite impression two years later, when Vanity Fair described her household as “messy, relaxed, and normal.” While we might’ve thought she was simply living the sanitized lifestyle of an A-list celeb, little details suggested otherwise — like the rarely washed blanket that daughter Vivienne was said to carry around, and Jolie’s total willingness to let her dog, Dusty, jump up on their white couch during the interview.
When it comes to her family life, the Wanted actress has said that a typical day usually begins by waking up to a state of chaos between her dogs and kids. “Right now, I’m going through a moment where there’s just, everybody’s in my room,” she told BBC News with a laugh. Saying “it’s wonderful,” Jolie went on to add, “Usually I just wake up trying to figure out who’s going to get the dog out, who’s going to start the pancakes, and did anybody brush their teeth.”
Angelina Jolie likely has some help
Christopher Polk/Getty Images
Following her split from Brad Pitt, Jolie was said to have six nannies (one for each child), according to Stuff. While the nannies were once supervised by the actress’ brother, head “manny” James Haven, she reportedly ended up letting her brother go in 2017 when she became “worried” over the toll this role seemed to be taking. “It was [James’] job to be there if any of the kids woke up during the night and to deal with the nannies if they had any issues,” a source cited by Grazia claimed at the time (via Stuff). “He was virtually running the household and it became very draining.”
There’s no doubt it must have been lot to handle — but it’s since remained unclear whether Jolie kept her staff of nannies on or if she’s been doing more of that work herself. Either way, it seems like the Jolie-Pitt kids have been doing just fine, and the actress has never hidden anything when it comes to her privilege. “I’m not a single mom with two jobs trying to get by every day,” Jolie candidly declared to the New York Daily News in 2014. “I have much more support than most people, most women in this world. And I have the financial means to have a home and health care and food.”
Jolie’s life as a single mom includes making her kids breakfast
Jean-baptiste Lacroix/Getty Images
Back in 2010, Jolie admitted that while she “sometimes” cooked for her kids, she wasn’t exactly the greatest at it. “I’m not the best cook,” she told People at the time. “Pax [then age 6] is a better cook than me. Pax likes to cook. But I try to when I can. Any house that we’re in, we all chip in. But the kids are very sweet … so enthusiastic anytime I cook.” Later, as a single mom, the actress told Vanity Fair that she was still working on her culinary prowess — albeit with a more realistic approach: “I’m just wanting to make the proper breakfast and keep the house. That’s my passion. At the request of my kids, I’m taking cooking classes.”
As Jolie continues to work on her skills in the kitchen, she’s also known to take her children out to breakfast. The day after Christmas in 2018, for example, she and her four youngest were spotted on a breakfast outing in Los Angeles. Whether or not the actress also has a chef on hand is unconfirmed — but it goes without saying that Jolie might save a good chunk of change once she masters the art of cooking, considering just one private chef can cost up to $200,000 per year, according to People.
Angelina Jolie has faced health issues since her divorce
Anthony Harvey/Getty Images
Nearly a year after she filed for divorce from Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie opened up about a number of health scares she’d faced. Revealing to Vanity Fair that she’d been diagnosed with both hypertension and Bell’s Palsy, the actress explained that her symptoms developed because she wasn’t putting her well-being first. “Sometimes women in families put themselves last until it manifests itself in their own health,” the Changeling star explained, adding that she had treated both with acupuncture. Fans may remember that Jolie also previously underwent a double mastectomy as a preventative measure after learning she was at high risk for breast cancer in 2013, and later had her ovaries and Fallopian tubes removed due to possible signs of ovarian cancer.
Since then, the actress has made a point to take care of herself. “I’m being smart about my choices, and I’m putting my family first,” Jolie continued. “And I’m in charge of my life and my health.” To do so, Jolie eases up on work when she can, telling the New York Daily News: “When I feel I’m doing too much, I do less, if I can … I can take time when my family needs it.”
But single mom Jolie puts on a brave front
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
Since announcing her divorce, Jolie has made an effort not to break down in front of her kids in order to give them a sense of stability. “I was very worried about my mother, growing up — a lot. I do not want my children to be worried about me,” she told Vanity Fair. “I think it’s very important to cry in the shower and not in front of them. They need to know that everything’s going to be all right even when you’re not sure it is.”
In addition to Jolie’s efforts to be strong for everyone, her six children have also been brave in their own right, sticking by their famous mom during one of the most challenging times for their family. “They really help me so much,” the actress told The New York Times in 2017. “We’re really such a unit. They’re the best friends I’ve ever had. Nobody in my life has ever stood by me more.”
This single mom plans fun things for her kiddos
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
It sounds like Angelina Jolie is one fun mom. According to a source cited by Us Weekly in April 2019, she’s reportedly “always coming up with fun things to do” when it comes to bonding with her six kiddos. Adding that “her kids are her life,” the insider claimed, “Every day is a new adventure.”
One of these fun-filled activities? Attending the premiere of Disney’s live-action remake of Dumbo. No big deal. These family outings must take some planning, but they continued that June when Jolie had her children come live with her in Albuquerque, New Mexico as she filmed Those Who Wish Me Dead. Despite her “grueling” work schedule, an insider told E! News that the actress made sure her brood of six remained comfortable and entertained. “They have taken multiple Target runs and love shopping and going out to eat,” the insider claimed. “Angelina spoils them with carts full of toys and sporting goods.” Noting that the famous mom “loves to indulge [her kids] with new things as much as she can,” including with new pets, the source added, “She has had to work a lot so she wanted them to have fun and stay busy.”
Angelina Jolie’s cordial with Brad Pitt
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
Exes Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have thankfully “come a long way” in their communication since their 2016 split, according to a source quoted by Entertainment Tonight in April 2019. Noting that they “rarely argue,” the insider claimed the two celebs are able to “discuss their children’s plans calmly” and are both “dedicated to co-parenting.”
This, of course, is despite Jolie’s seemingly abrupt and painful divorce filing, which was reportedly triggered by a supposed altercation between Pitt and son Maddox, then 15, on a private plane (via TMZ). While the alleged incident led to Pitt being the target of a child abuse investigation, the case, as previously mentioned, was later dropped.
Jolie has since avoided speaking harshly about Pitt in public, and has instead repeatedly confirmed their joint dedication to their family. When asked about the matter by BBC News, she simply called it “a very difficult time.” She added, “We are a family. And we will always be a family. And we will get through this time and hopefully be a stronger family for it.” For his part, a source close to Pitt also commented to Us Weekly in June 2019, “It’s a very healthy situation and Brad is grateful that all of the animosity is in the past.”
Jolie sends the kids to visit their dad regularly
Toru Yamanaka/Getty Images
According to an Us Weekly report published in June 2019, this “healthy situation” has extended to Jolie and Pitt’s summer of 2019 custody arrangement. With their six children staying with their mom in New Mexico as she films her movie, Those Who Wish Me Dead, there will reportedly still be plenty of bonding time with their dad. “The kids will be back and forth to Los Angeles to see Brad,” a source claimed. “Brad will also be spending time in New Mexico this summer because at times it will just be easier for him to go there.”
Fans may recall that Jolie and Pitt’s drawn-out and highly-publicized custody battle resulted in an agreement in December 2018, which prevented the need for a trial. At the time, an insider told the magazine that the former couple would share “joint physical and legal custody of the children.” Since then, the Jolie-Pitt kids have visited their father regularly — including a family sleepover at Pitt’s house the night before his 55th birthday. “The schedule has alleviated any of the planning pressures Brad and Angelina have faced in the past,” another source explained to Entertainment Tonight the following April. “Now the kids spend time with both their parents and are happy and thriving.”
This proud single mom is helping her children become global citizens
Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images
Having adopted three of her children from different countries, Jolie has seemed determined to make sure all six of her kids grow up to be worldly — and her divorce from Pitt hasn’t stopped her from making that happen. The Jolie-Pitt family, for example, had been going “back and forth [to son Maddox’s home country of Cambodia] for 17 years,” Jolie told People in 2017. At the time, she brought all six children there again for the premiere of her movie, First They Killed My Father. That same year, they also traveled to Namibia (where Shiloh was born) to open a wildlife sanctuary in Shiloh’s name for elephants and rhinos that fell victim to poaching or abuse. Later in August 2019, Jolie sent Maddox off to college at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea, where he’ll study biochemistry.
It seems like the Jolie-Pitt kiddos are well on their way to becoming true global citizens. When asked where she’d like to be in five years, proud mom Jolie told BBC News in 2017, “I would like to be traveling around the world visiting my children, hoping that they’re just happy and doing really interesting things, and I imagine in many different parts of the world.” Ultimately, she hoped to give her children the “right sense of what they’re capable of and the world as it should be seen, not through the prism of Hollywood.”
Jolie longs for her own mother’s guidance
Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images
Like pretty much every other mother, Angelina Jolie questions her parenting skills. As a single mom in 2017, she admitted to Vanity Fair: “As I go to sleep at night, I think, ‘Did I do a great job as a mom or was that an average day?'”
During these moments of self-doubt, Jolie has said that she longs for the advice of her own mother, Marcheline Bertrand, who sadly passed away in 2007. “I would give anything for her to be with me at this time,” the actress told Elle France a decade later (via Entertainment Tonight). “I’ve needed her. I talk to her often in my mind and try to think of what she might say, and how she might guide me.” In fact, Jolie has always praised her late mom’s parenting skills, but previously revealed that she didn’t know if she could measure up. “I will never be as good a mother as she was,” the movie star told 60 Minutes in 2011. “I will try my best, but I don’t think I could ever be. She was … just grace incarnate. She was the most generous, loving … she’s better than me.”
Angelina Jolie’s life as a single mom is all about balance
Monica Schipper/Getty Images
Unlike her own mom, whom Angelina Jolie once said was a “full-time mother” who “didn’t have much of her own career,” the actress has tried her best to balance homemaking with travel and her celebrity status. In other words, the A-lister tends to stay grounded in everyday routines … until she feels like shaking things up again, that is.
“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,” Jolie told Vanity Fair in 2017. “And I’m getting better at all three. But now I need to get my boots on and go hang, take a trip.” Luckily, the Jolie-Pitt kids seem to be on board with their pick-up-and-go lifestyle, even if it’s different from the norm. But as Jolie went on to quote her youngest son, Knox: “He said, ‘Who wants to be normal? We’re not normal. Let’s never be normal.’ Thank you — yes! We’re not normal. Let’s embrace being not normal!” Indeed.