Angelina Jolie’s wild child days are now firmly behind her, says Gabrielle Donnelly, thanks to true love and an ever-growing brood of children.
Few people would deny that Angelina Jolie is a living advertisement for the benefits of growing up. It is not too many years ago, after all, that she was hovering somewhere between what the kindly disposed would call a wild child, and the less charitable would term a downright mess. She was a Hollywood actor’s daughter from the classic Hollywood broken home, who had grown up in the spotlight, who admitted to self-mutilation, and hinted darkly at other excesses, who French-kissed her brother on stage at the Oscars and famously carried a vial of her then-husband Billy Bob Thornton’s blood in a chain around her neck, who once said, matter-of-factly, “If I wasn’t an actor, there’s no way I wouldn’t be in a mental institution.”
Along the way, it must be said, there was always something rather engaging about the young Angelina. She never tried to hide her eccentricities and never apologised for them, either. “Sometimes you see people and they seem crazy but they seem content, too,” she commented to me at the time. “Sometimes people think I’m crazy, but if it’s fun and it doesn’t upset people, well, that’s just who I am!”
She was 24 when she said that, and still a girl, trying to find her way in a world that was too often confusing. Now, nine years later, she has found a very particular way – a way that involves both humanitarian work and the joys of partnership with the right man, not to mention motherhood to a growing brood of children from all over the world – and the joy that all of this gives her shines from every pore of her being.
“I’ve been very fortunate in my life,” she told me recently, looking admittedly a little tired, but nevertheless radiantly happy. “I’ve been blessed to be able to do the job I want to do. I love doing charity work and to be able to spend my time helping refugees and people around the world is a true pleasure. I love hanging out with my kids, and my partner is an amazing man. I wake up every day and I’m excited by my life. I have a lot of love in my life, and it’s a pleasure to be able to give something back.”