As Angelina Jolie turns 41, she finds herself in the middle of a particularly tumultuous phase both professionally and personally.
Her last film, By the Sea, a relationship drama co-starring her husband Brad Pitt, fizzled critically and commercially. And no one could avoid the drama that’s unraveling around her marriage with Pitt.
But Jolie has led quite the storied life, transitioning from the child of a famous actor into one of the most recognizable faces on the planet and a renowned humanitarian.
Let’s chart her life and career:
From a very early age, Jolie earned the reputation of being a ‘wild child,’ playing with knives, goth makeup, drugs, sadomasochism and bisexuality.
In 1993, Jolie made her debut as a star in the science fiction film Cyborg 2. Jolie publicly stated that upon watching the movie, she “went home and got sick.”
In 1996, Jolie married her first husband, actor Jonny Lee Miller, whom she worked with in the film Hackers. The marriage would last only till 1999.
But 1998 would be a great year for her. Jolie starred in the TV movie Gia, earning a Golden Globe for her work. She also starred in Girl, Interrupted, winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
After winning the Oscar, Jolie got embroiled in one of the oddest controversies in her life. She kissed her brother James Haven after the ceremony, sparking rumours of incest.
In 2000, Jolie married actor Billy Bob Thornton in Las Vegas after a two-month courtship. They became a media favourite, especially because of their frequent romantic gestures – like wearing each others’ blood in vials around their necks.
In 2001, Jolie adopted her first child, Maddox, a Cambodian child she met while visiting the country with Billy Bob Thornton. Only three months later, Jolie and Thornton decided to separate.
During this time, she also became a box office star with two Lara Croft movies.
In 2005, Jolie was in the middle of another controversy when she was accused of getting in between Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston’s marriage. Pitt and Jolie worked together on Mr & Mrs Smith. Pit and Aniston would go on to separate as Jolie entered the third major relationship of her life. While she and Pitt would remain partners, it was only in 2014 that they finally married.
On February 16, 2013, at age 37, Jolie underwent a preventive double mastectomy after learning she had an 87% risk of developing breast cancer due to a defective BRCA1 gene. She ignited a worldwide discussion on important topics and was lauded for her decision.
From the early 2000s, Jolie has been heavily involved in humanitarian work. She became an ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and visited many refugee camps around the world.
Jolie has always been an advocate for education, especially that of the girl child. From 2005-2007, Jolie funded the launch of the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants’ National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children.
In November 2013, Jolie received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, an honorary Academy Award. In June 2014, she was appointed an Honorary Dame for her services to the UK’s foreign policy and campaigning to end sexual violence in war zones.
Jolie is currently married to Brad Pitt. The couple has 6 children. However it may end for the star, no one can deny that her’s has been a story that will be remembered for generations.
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