Angelina Jolie is one of the most glamorous stars in Hollywood—but her history is utterly heartbreaking. Behind those striking features, Jolie has always battled an onslaught of personal demons: Depression, daddy issues, and a deep-seated distrust of everyone around her. As famous and resplendent as she seems, Jolie doesn’t forget her sordid past: “I am still at heart—and always will be—just a punk kid with tattoos.”
1. She Hated Her Father
Born on June 4, 1975, Angelina Jolie fell straight into the middle of an unhappy family. Her parents were actors Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand, but their marriage was a hot mess. When she was still a baby, Jolie’s father betrayed her mother with incessant cheating, effectively tearing the family apart. Raised almost entirely by her mother, Jolie grew to resent her absent father—a long-lasting sentiment with poisonous consequences.
2. She Was An Awkward Teen
Although Jolie’s father had a flourishing acting career, she maintains that he was not the reason she pursued acting herself. Instead, it all came down to her mother. By consuming film after film alongside Marcheline Bertrand, Jolie found all the inspiration she needed. Still, Angelina Jolie was no child actress and, like any awkward teenager, had one more hurdle to clear before heading to Hollywood…High school.
3. She Was The Odd One Out
High school is either heaven or hell, and for Angelina Jolie, it was a downright nightmare. Believe it or not, she didn’t really fit in with her classmates at the Beverly Hills High School and quickly became the subject of ridicule. Unlike many of her peers, Jolie’s family wasn’t exorbitantly wealthy, and to make matters worse, her gangly appearance put a target on her back.
4. She Turned To Darkness
Although she’d one day be considered the most beautiful woman in the world, as a child, Jolie struggled to fit in. With her skinny frame, glasses, and braces, her classmates teased her horribly. When she transferred to Moreno High School, she had the chance to reinvent herself. Jolie took this fresh start and ran with it—but this was no beauty queen transformation.
5. She Was A “Punk Outsider”
Angelina was a born rebel, and soon earned a reputation for being a “punk outsider.” She marched to the beat of her own drum, swathed in all-black and reveling in some of her darker pastimes—moshing and even playing with knives. Soon, her aspirations changed, and she promptly dropped her acting classes in exchange for embalming classes.
Yup, as a young teen, Jolie wanted nothing more than to become a funeral director—but her unorthodox desires didn’t end there.
6. She Lived With Her Teenage Boyfriend
When she was only 14 years old, Angelina Jolie had already shacked up with her first boyfriend, Anton Schneider. In fact, her mother invited the young man to live with them, and in doing so, ensured that these young eccentrics kept out of trouble: “It was the smartest thing my mother could have done because, this way, we weren’t hanging out in a park together. We lived like a married couple for two years.”
Far beyond her years, it wasn’t long before Jolie started jonesing for the next exciting thing.
7. She Grew Up Too Quickly
By the time she was 16, Jolie itched to spread her wings, racing blindly into adulthood before even finishing her teenage years. She dumped her live-in boyfriend, Schneider, and even graduated early from high school. Before long, Jolie was all work and no play. She rented an apartment and returned to studying theater. But as grown-up as she seemed, Jolie was far from okay.
Beneath the surface, her many demons threatened to rip her apart.
8. She Hurt Herself
Angelina Jolie was a troubled girl and struggled to truly connect with anyone. The consequences were brutal: She harmed herself in an effort to cope with her depression. Later, she said, “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.” But that was only the beginning of the nightmare.
9. She Had A Spiraling Addiction
In addition to the self-harm, Jolie’s mental health swung out of control. She suffered from insomnia and an eating disorder and began trying every drug under the sun. Her addictions only drove an even larger wedge between her and her father, who turned his back on her completely. Feeling completely isolated and hopeless, Jolie felt herself teetering on the edge of an abyss.
Unable to see the light at the end of the tunnel, Jolie made a drastic and heartbreaking decision.
10. She Was “Too Dark”
At the tender age of 19, Angelina Jolie tried to die by suicide. Luckily, she narrowly evaded death, but even so, her troubles were far from over. On top of her dwindling mental health, Jolie also struggled to find her foothold in the entertainment industry. Perhaps unsurprisingly, her early auditions never quite made the cut and were often cited as “too dark.”
Although she’d one day be a megastar, Jolie’s road to fame and fortune was full of surprising twists and turns.
11. She Struggled To Make Her Mark
In the early 90s, Jolie starred in whatever came her way, mostly music videos for big names like Lenny Kravitz and Meatloaf. However, one opportunity in particular really set the wheels in motion—and for more than one reason. In 1995, she landed a role in her first Hollywood film, Hackers. Although it wasn’t a huge box-office success, it did put her name on the map. And that wasn’t all…She also met a very handsome young man on set.
12. She Fell For Her Coworker
When Jolie first met British actor Jonny Lee Miller on the set of Hackers, sparks began to fly. This was, after all, her first real romance since her teen years. But unlike her first foray into love, something about Miller really stuck. After filming wrapped, the lovers didn’t speak for months. However, after reconnecting, there was no turning back: In 1996, Angelina Jolie and Jonny Lee Miller took a leap of faith and decided to tie the knot.
However, their wedding was no traditional fairytale affair…Not in the slightest.
13. She Wrote His Name In Blood
Angelina Jolie raised eyebrows with her unconventional wedding attire. Nothing says “forever and always” like black rubber pants and a t-shirt stained with blood. Yes, Jolie went the extra mile and wrote her husband’s name on her shirt with her very own blood. But despite these grand gestures, Jolie wasn’t completely committed to Miller.
In fact, the very same year she married, him, Jolie had begun a relationship with somebody else…
14. She Loved Another Woman
On the set of 1996’s Foxfire, Jolie began a passionate affair with the model-actress Jenny Shimizu who swept Jolie off her feet the moment they met: “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.” But scandalously enough, this delightful tryst didn’t end in 1996…
15. She Had A Passionate Affair
Jolie’s ex-girlfriend, Shimizu, claimed that she and Jolie continued their romance for years. This wasn’t some brief fling, and allegedly, this hot-blooded couple kept at it even while Jolie pursued other relationships. Of course, when it comes to her sexuality, Jolie has always been incredibly open. After an interviewer asked whether she was bisexual in 2003, she had the perfect response.
16. She’s A Proud Bisexual
Angelina Jolie is open to falling in love with anybody, and when asked about her attraction to women, she said, “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!” But while Jolie held a burning flame for Shimizu, what about her marriage to Jonny Lee Miller?
17. She Landed A Life-Changing Role
It’s safe to say that Angelina Jolie and Jonny Lee Miller were never made to go the distance—and her career may have had something to do with that. Jolie’s true breakout role was none other than the supermodel, Gia Carangi, in Gia. For her fearless performance, the actress not only snagged a Golden Globe but also critical acclaim. As one critic noted, “…her role in this film is quite possibly the most beautiful train wreck ever filmed.”
But behind the scenes of this demanding role, Jolie wasn’t exactly the easiest person to work with.
18. She Had Two Personalities
For many of her early films, Jolie devoted herself to method acting. Even when the cameras stopped rolling, she insisted on staying in character. Unfortunately, while emulating Gia’s volatile personality, Jolie gained a reputation for being hard to work with. In fact, Jonny Lee Miller also felt the weight of being married to a woman with two personalities.
19. She Wanted To Give Up Acting
While filming Gia, Angelina didn’t break character, not even to phone her husband: “I’d tell him: ‘I’m alone; I’m dying; I’m gay; I’m not going to see you for weeks.'” In fact, her devotion to the role made a lasting impression on the actress, so much so, that when the film wrapped, she wanted to give up acting altogether. She felt like she’d given every fiber of her being to becoming Gia and that she had “nothing left to give.”
Just as her star had begun to rise, Jolie wanted to throw in the towel—but that wasn’t even the worst part.
20. She Suffered A Nervous Breakdown
Not only was Jolie done with acting, but she was also done with her husband Jonny Lee Miller. Although the split was amicable, Jolie’s mental health was on the brink of a disaster. At the age of 24, she suffered a complete nervous breakdown and ended up spending three days in a psychiatric ward. Thankfully, however, the darkness was short-lived—and for one heartening reason.
21. She Found The Will To Carry On
Although Jolie’s work on Gia took an emotional toll, it also lifted her up. The overwhelming success of the film bolstered the young actress to forge onward, and for the first time, she finally felt seen; she later told Rolling Stone, “Suddenly it seemed like people understood me. Somehow life changed.” With her new lease on life, Jolie was ready to take on anything—even a brand new man.
22. She Fell For A Taken Man
In 1999, Angelina Jolie met her next great romance, Billy Bob Thornton, on the set of Pushing Tin. However, there was just one problem. Both of them were seeing other people: Thornton was engaged to Laura Dern and Jolie was allegedly dating Timothy Hutton. After squaring away their significant others, Jolie and Thornton were free to pursue one another with reckless abandon, and to the media’s delight, that’s exactly what they did.
23. She Had A Las Vegas Wedding
Jolie’s second wedding was just as hasty as the first and in 2000, the happy couple flew to Las Vegas and tied the knot. But their lives were far from peaceful. In fact, their eccentricities singled them out as the celebrity couple to keep tabs on. Jolie and Thornton’s public displays of affection were romantic enough—but also incredibly weird.
24. She Wore A Scandalous Necklace
To reminisce on Angelina Jolie’s relationship with Billy Bob Thornton is to remember their infamous matching necklaces—vials filled with one another’s blood. The media had a heyday with this information, but later, Thornton set the record straight and said that the necklaces were only lockets containing a single drop of blood and not an entire vial.
Still, nothing says commitment like wearing your partner’s bodily fluids around your neck, and before long, this eager couple began to think about starting a family. Only, their plans went horribly wrong.
25. She Didn’t See It Coming
In March 2002, Jolie and Thornton happily announced that they’d adopted a child from Cambodia. But Jolie’s excitement about becoming a mother wavered when Thornton changed his mind about becoming a father. Apparently, he just “wasn’t ready.” Later, when asked about the sudden split, she said, “It took me by surprise, too, because overnight, we totally changed. I think one day we had just nothing in common.”
Although the separation didn’t deter Jolie from going forward with the adoption, there was one unforeseen force that threatened to destroy her impending happiness…Her father.
26. Her Father Betrayed Her
Jolie’s life turned upside down after her father brutally threw her under the bus. Jon Voight decided to betray Jolie by talking about her personal life with Access Hollywood. He openly shared his thoughts on her recent marriage and how he knew it was doomed from the very beginning. But that was only the tip of the iceberg.
27. She Feared For Her Child
Voight also went on to say how Jolie had “serious mental problems.” These comments enraged Angelina Jolie and made her fear for her newfound claim to motherhood: “The most difficult thing, in him doing that, is that it could have affected my relationship with my child. They could have decided: ‘He’s right, she’s crazy, let’s remove that child from her custody.’ And that’s unforgivable.”
But as horrible as this situation was, Angelina Jolie and Jon Voight’s feud had actually started years ago—and their story is utterly heartbreaking.
28. She Tried To Make Peace
Right from the get-go, Jolie’s knowledge of her father’s infidelity poisoned their relationship. However, in 2001, the two of them saw a brief reconciliation after starring alongside one another in Tomb Raider. It was Jolie herself who sought to mend old wounds and reached out to him with the part. She thought the invitation was a great way to reconnect, and that because it was about an absent father, the story would resonate with both of them.
Before long, Jolie and Voight had embarked on a healing and emotional journey…They had no idea that it would end in disaster.
29. She Spoke The Truth
In one of Tomb Raider’s most touching scenes, Jolie and her father got to write their very own lines. Onscreen, Jolie utters the words she’d always wanted to say to her father, “You let me down,” while Voight responds with, “I did what I thought was right.” But even as they flaunted their newfound love and appreciation in promotional interviews for the film, it was never meant to last.
30. She Watched It Slip Away
After filming on Tomb Raider, the glow of Jolie and Voight’s joyous time together began to fade. Voight was always extremely critical of his daughter, and it wasn’t long before he opened up his mouth and ruined things all over again. He was especially unhappy with Jolie’s UN trips because he worried for her safety. Unfortunately, he took the role of overprotective dad to a whole new and despicable level…
31. She Had A Dangerous Pastime
Right before Jolie was about to set off on a UN mission to Cambodia, her father decided to destroy everything they’d worked so hard to build. He gave her a letter and said, “This is my truth, this is unchanging.” Daddy dearest was being a little dramatic, but Jolie didn’t have any negative suspicions about the letter. Considering what happened next, Jolie’s response was absolutely devastating.
32. Her Father Attacked Her
After taking her father’s letter, Jolie locked eyes with her father and said, “That’s wonderful, I love you, see you later.” But when she opened the letter, her world practically imploded: Her father’s words viciously attacked her character, and she later said, “He’d written that I was a bad person.” This was the nail in the coffin.
In the end, Jolie thought the best way forward was to cut ties with her toxic father—and in more ways than one.
33. She Refused To See Him
Even though Jolie didn’t want anything to do with her father, it certainly took him a long time to take a hint. When they accidentally crossed paths at an LA party, Voight tried to embrace her, but to no avail. One of her representatives immediately stepped in, barring his way, and sternly saying, “Get back. She doesn’t want to see you.”
But did this discourage Voight? Absolutely not.
34. She Ran Away
Jolie’s father tried to corner her every chance he got, even showing up at her London hotel. The second Jolie spotted him, she grabbed her son Maddox and made a mad dash for the nearest cab. In her hurry to escape Voight, she even left her luggage behind. Their relationship was a mess, and it was only about to get worse.
By the time Voight slandered her name on Access Hollywood, Jolie was at her wit’s end.
35. She Cut Him Out
Jolie no longer considered Voight her father and took action to remove “Voight” from her legal name. But although her relationship with her father was at an end, Jolie had a greater concern on her mind—raising her son Maddox. As rocky as other parts of her life were, becoming a mother saved Jolie from spiraling into a dark place.
She later said, “I knew once I committed to Maddox, I would never be self-destructive again.”
36. She Fell For A Married Man
In 2004, Jolie proved her capabilities as an action star once again when she starred Mr. and Mrs. Smith alongside heartthrob Brad Pitt. Together, their chemistry in this film is absolutely fiery, and before long, whispers of scandal began to circulate. At the time, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were a married couple, and as such, Jolie fiercely denied every rumor thrown her way.
But she couldn’t escape the truth forever.
37. She Denied Every Rumor
After Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston called it quits, the media had a field day. Everyone cited Angelina Jolie as the definite homewrecker, but for all the naysayers, Jolie had the perfect comeback: “To be intimate with a married man, when my own father cheated on my mother, is not something I could forgive. I could not look at myself in the morning if I did that. I wouldn’t be attracted to a man who would cheat on his wife.”
But despite their strict denials, Jolie and Pitt had no problem flaunting their love once Pitt emerged as a free agent…Without an ounce of shame, they went ahead and dealt Jennifer Aniston a nasty betrayal.
38. She Was Insensitive
Only three months after Pitt left his wife, he vacationed with Jolie in Kenya. And that wasn’t all. What really ruffled Aniston’s feathers was the publication of a massive W magazine spread titled “Domestic Bliss.” It featured Pitt and Jolie posing intimately with one another in countless photos. In response, Aniston said there was a “sensitivity chip” missing.
Completely wrapped up in romantic bliss, Jolie and Pitt were full-steam ahead, angering Aniston fans at every turn.
39. She Made It Official
Later, Jolie and Pitt surprised nobody when they both admitted to falling in love while on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. By January of 2006, the happy couple was already expecting their first child (the first of many). But even as Jolie rejoiced in her growing family—a tragedy was about to carry off one of the most important people in her life.
40. She Lost Her Mother
In 2007, Jolie lost her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, to ovarian cancer. Bertrand was only 56 years old. She later said that “…her death changed me.” But the heartache was far from over. When Jolie found out that she herself was at risk of getting either breast cancer or ovarian cancer, she decided to take some drastic preventative measures.
41. She Feared For Her Life
Terrified of falling victim to her mother’s disease, Jolie opted for a mastectomy, proudly saying that it didn’t make her “feel any less of a woman.” Through it all, Brad stayed by her side as an unwavering source of support. But Jolie wasn’t in the clear yet. Only two years after the surgery, she got another serious scare.
42. She Wasn’t Out Of The Woods
Cancer came back to haunt Jolie when her blood tests revealed a “sign of early cancer.” Jolie didn’t hesitate to advocate for her health and opted for yet another surgery, this time, to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes. Her openness about her health issues was especially important for influencing other women to seek genetic testing.
But even as Jolie fought for longevity, there was a time when she craved nothing more than utter oblivion.
43. She Didn’t Want To Live
As we know, when she was only 19, a troubled Jolie tried to take her own life. But although she survived the attempt, thoughts of suicide continue to plague her. Three years later, she resolved to try again, but this time, she came up with a grisly plan. More than anything, she wanted to fool the ones she loved into thinking that she’d been murdered.
In a later interview, she commented, “With suicide comes all the guilt of people around you thinking they could have done something. With somebody being murdered, nobody takes some kind of guilty responsibility.”
44. She Hired A Hitman
Here’s where it gets weird. Angelina Jolie hired a hitman to take her out. Not only that, but she also had the whole thing planned out to a tee. To avoid arousing suspicion, she arranged to have the hitman’s payment withdrawn from her bank account in small amounts. She didn’t want anyone to know that she died by suicide, especially her mother.
But as airtight as her scheme seemed, there was one thing that stood in her way.
45. She Chose Life
The hitman Jolie had hired did not want to see the job through and eventually talked her down: “He was a decent enough person and asked if I could think about it and call him again in two months.” In a wild twist of events, Angelina Jolie escaped her certain demise by hiring a kind and feeling hitman. Although she wasn’t out of the woods yet, his intervention changed her life forever.
Jolie took the hitman’s advice and gave life another shot. But even though it was the best decision she ever made, it didn’t protect her from life’s many curveballs—each one more brutal than the next.
46. She Shocked The World
On the surface, Jolie and Pitt—also known as Brangelina—were the most glamorous couple in Hollywood. With a devoted husband, a loving family, and a fairytale wedding in 2014, Angelina Jolie certainly seemed to have it made. However, in 2016, she made an announcement that shocked the world: She and Brad Pitt were separating.
Everyone was thirsty for gossip, and more than anything, people wanted to know the reason behind Brangelina’s failed marriage.
47. She Kept Her Lips Sealed
Jolie’s separation announcement had the rumor mill running at full speed. Some believed that Brad Pitt had cheated on her with Marion Cotillard while filming Allies, while others pointed fingers at Pitt’s alcoholism and his constant absence. Whatever the case, these two actors had the right mind to keep their lips sealed. However, when Jolie finally commented, it was with undeniable grace and style.
48. She Had A Messy Divorce
Jolie never had much to say about the messy divorce, only alluding to how painful the transition actually was. She did, however, break her silence: “I separated for the well-being of my family. It was the right decision. I continue to focus on their healing. Some have taken advantage of my silence, and the children see lies about themselves in the media, but I remind them that they know their own truth and their own minds. In fact, they are six very brave, very strong young people.”
But in lieu of her marriage’s breakdown, a silver lining appeared.
49. She Had No One To Turn To
Without her mother to turn to, many believed that Jolie’s divorce left her severely isolated. With her life in tatters, she was desperate for a soft place to land, and there was one person more than willing to come to her rescue—her father, Jon Voight. Despite their turbulent history, he stepped up to the plate. It was finally time to let bygones be bygones.
50. She Gave Him A Second Chance
There’s no doubt that, in the past, Jon Voight made some vile mistakes and caused Jolie unspeakable pain. Even in the darkest moments of their father/daughter relationship, he’d always believed that they’d mend their bridges eventually. Even more? He wanted to prove himself. If he wasn’t a good father to Jolie then, at least, he could reinvent himself as a loving grandfather.
Angelina later commented, “He’s been very good at understanding they needed their grandfather at this time.”