The Evolution of Angelina Jolie

On 4-June-1975, actor Jon (also credited as John in some films) Voight and his wife, Marcheline Bertrand, an actress, were blessed with a baby daughter, named Angelina Jolie Voight. Considered Hollywood royalty (a term used to describe children born to famous actor parents, i.e. inherited stardom) by many, Angelina Jolie (the name she chose to use professionally) would grow up to become one of the most recognized celebrities in the world. But it can be a madcap journey to reach such a summit.

Her life started out in a rather formulaic manner (for a budding starlet): Angelina Jolie grew up in Los Angeles, worked as a professional model, and cut her teeth with the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, acting in a few stage productions. She has appeared in music videos, and also acted in several student films directed by her older brother, James Haven Voight (professionally known merely as James Haven) for USC School of Cinema. She even majored in film at New York University, although she did not complete her studies. Somewhere along the way, however, there’s a bit of a detour from the proscribed formula….

On 28-March-1996, at the tender age of 21, wearing a pair of black leather pants and a white shirt, she married Jonny Lee Miller, a British actor she met while filming “Hackers” (1995). On the back of white shirt Jolie had painted her husband’s name in her own blood. This might seem strange were it not for the fact that Jolie has a professed interest in mortuary science, collects knives, and has said she dreamed of being a funeral director as a child. Not surprisingly, the young celebrity couple divorced roughly four years later, on 3-February-1999.

Before that however, Jolie played Gia Marie Carangi, a supermodel who rose to prominence in the eighties, and died of AIDS at the age of 26 after a long struggle with addiction, in a 1998 television special entitled “Gia.” There were similarities in both the looks and the lifestyles of the two women, so that the story arc paralleled Jolie’s own life in many ways. (The tabloids love her, as scandal and strangeness seem to follow her. The papers gleefully chronicle her every odd habit, from her penchant with human blood to her interesting relationship choices.) Her performance as “Gia” was considered informed and persuasive, and the role won the young actress critical acclaim.

Soon after, Jolie won the role of Lisa Rowe in “Girl, Interrupted” (1999), a film that was supposed to be the return-to-prominence vehicle for another actress, Winona Ryder. Instead, it was Jolie who parlayed her ability to channeled troubled souls into an Academy Award(R) for “Best Supporting Actress.” The next year, on 5-May-2000, she married Billy Bob Thornton, who was 20 years her senior and had already been married several times before.

Jolie continued to act, winning roles in several films; most notably she was named as the actress who would bring “Lara Croft” to life in the “Tomb Raider” movie. (“Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” (2001) was virtually guaranteed to be a mega-hit movie, as it was based upon a hugely popular video game series of the same name.) With her shapely figure, dark good looks, and naturally-pouting lips, Jolie was heralded as the living epitome of the buxom CGI Lara Craft. (Aside: Her estranged biological father played the role of her character Lara Croft’s father in the movie.) With a blockbuster movie under her belt, Jolie was officially a headlining star.

In 2001, she also became a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, frequently traveling to developing countries to draw attention to the plight of people living in substandard conditions. Such humanitarian work garnered Jolie praised from various leaders and organizations. Settled into her lifestyle enough to be comfortable with herself (earlier she’d legally dropped Voight, her father’s name from her own, to become just “Angelina Jolie”), she adopted a child, a boy from Cambodia whom she named Maddox Chivan Jolie. She was quoted as saying that being a mother changed her priorities in life.

Her husband apparently did not feel similarly about being made a father again, and her marriage to Thornton crumpled. The two divorced on 27-May-2003, shortly before the release of the second movie in the “Tomb Raider” series, “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life” (2003). Still her career was going well, as she gained good reviews in most of her roles even when the movies she starred in were box office duds, and she worked steadily.

In early 2005, Jolie found herself the fodder of tabloid gossip once again, as it was whispered that she was the “other woman” in the break-up of the marriage of actor Brad Pitt and his wife, Jennifer Aniston. She and Pitt had worked together in filming the comedic spy-thriller “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” and rumor had it the on-screen chemistry had led to an off-screen affair. Jolie denied the affair with Pitt in several interviews, but the rumors persisted and speculation over the nature of Jolie and Pitt’s relationship continued.

Apparently focused on other things however, in the summer of 2005, Jolie adopted a second child, a daughter from Ethiopia whom she named, Zahara Marley Jolie. Publicly, she has proved to be a loving and caring mother, as she is consistently photographed with her children.

Although she’d had two failed marriages, Jolie now had two adopted children, and a career which allowed her to provide well for them both, even as a single mother. She was without doubt an A-List celebrity, well-known world-wide for her acting, her beauty, and her humanitarian work. She could well have retired into the sunset…. but it was not to be so as long as the tabloids have a say.

The rumors of her relationship with Pitt were somewhat confirmed when the two rented a house together in Canada, where Pitt was then filming a movie. (Although the two have admitted to their current relationship, neither has admitted to the affair rumored during the filming of “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.”) Since then, Pitt got his divorce finalized, and legally adopted both of Jolie’s children, changing their names to Jolie-Pitt. Soon after, it was confirmed that Jolie was pregnant with her and Pitt’s first biological child. The couple has denied that they are planning to marry, but who knows what the future may hold for this interesting young actress. After all, Angelina Jolie is only 30. (She will be 31 next month.)

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