Jolie, who split from Pitt last September following an alleged altercation between him and her son Maddox on a private jet, described the aftermath as “very, very difficult,” and called it “a very painful situation.”
The couple, who were together 12 years, have six children: Maddox, 16, and Pax, 13, Shiloh, 11, Zahara, 12, as well as twins Knox and Vivienne, 9. And when The New York Times asked her if she “ever felt like the coach of a small team,” she replied that more often she felt part of a fraternity.
“They really help me so much. We’re really such a unit,” she said of her kids. “They’re the best friends I’ve ever had. Nobody in my life has ever stood by me more.”
After the split, Jolie and her children moved out of the family home and lived in a rental for nine months, before Jolie purchased a Beaux Arts mansion in the Hollywood Hills that was once the residence of legendary filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille.
She tells The New York Times: “It took me a few months to realize that I was really going to have to do it. That there was going to have to be another base regardless of everything. That there was going to have to be a home. Another home.”
She says the house is “happy and light,” adding, “We needed that.”
When asked “how everyone is doing now,” Jolie replies: “None of it’s easy. It’s very, very difficult, a very painful situation, and I just want my family healthy.”
The remarks echo Jolie’s original divorce filing in which she said she was seeking a divorce for the “health” of her family.
Asked if the family members are indeed now “healthy,” Jolie offers: “They’re getting better.”
In a fascinating aside, New York Times interviewer Cara Buckley suggests that Jolie “intimated” that making her new Netflix film, which deals with the horrors of Pol Pot’s Cambodian genocide, “might have informed her decision to leave” Pitt.
Buckley reports that Jolie “said she thought a lot about what family meant during production, and how they should help each other and take care of one another.”
The film is adapted from a book by Loung Ung of the same name, and Jolie said, “Loung had such horrors in her life but also had so much love, and that is why she’s all right today. That is something I need to remember.”
Jolie also has an interview in the new issue of People magazine, in which she said that her family is out of “lockdown” and ready for new adventures.
“I think they’re itching to get out in the world again,” says Jolie. “We’ve all been a bit in lockdown and going through some things. I think it would be good to get out there and play together.”
She told People that while she plans on taking on more acting roles soon, including Maleficent 2, her priority for now remains her children and their well-being.
“Everything will be around the children,” she said. “I haven’t worked for over a year now because they needed me home. Everything was just stopped. I’m really sitting and talking with them because everything affects them. Every location, every type of project, I’m going to have to adjust it to however much they can handle.”
“I have had my ups and downs. I guess I am a little bit stronger,” the actress adds. “We all have our difficult times, but as a mother you also have a responsibility first and foremost towards the kids. They are going through their formative years and everything else comes second to that.”
Jolie first spoke about the split in the September issue of Vanity Fair, saying, “It’s just been the hardest time, and we’re just kind of coming up for air.”