Since Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s separation earlier this year, the actress, director and humanitarian has kept silent on private matters. Now, she has opened up about her relationship with Pitt, revealing she tried to save their marriage.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Jolie said her 2015 film By The Sea was an effort to work through their problems and reconnect. “We had met working together and we worked together well,” she said, referring to Mr. and Mrs Smith. “I wanted us to do some serious work together…I thought it would be a good way for us to communicate. In some ways it was, and in some ways we learned some things.”
The film, which Jolie directed, wrote and starred in, followed the story of an American couple trying to solve their relationship issues. “There was a heaviness probably during that situation that carried on and it wasn’t because of the film,” Jolie says. “It was something that we were dealing…things happen for different reasons, and things…why did I write that exact piece? Why did we feel that way when we made it? I’m not sure.”
Jolie added that she was dealing with serious issues when she wrote the script for By The Sea. “My life has been… I’ve had many, many extraordinary very fortunate things happen and it’s also been many things over the years that had been challenging… I had my mastectomy right before I had Unbroken. Over the span of that decade, I did lose my mother. I did have my mastectomy, and I did then have an ovarian cancer scare and have that surgery as well, and other things of course that happened in life that you go through.”
While the couple in By The Sea managed to work through their problems, Jolie and Pitt did not. Despite the irony of this reality, Jolie says she doesn’t regret the film. “A piece of art can be something that’s healing or something that’s difficult. I don’t know. I’m glad we did that film because we did explore something together. Whatever it was maybe it didn’t solve certain things, but we did communicate something that needed to be communicated to each other.”
Speaking about her departure from acting and move to directing, Jolie said that she considered leaving Hollywood altogether for a time. “It’s so hard to explain yourself when you’re still a mystery to yourself. Again, I think I’ve always been in this kind of struggle with being an actor, or being public. It never answered everything for me,” she confesses. “It wasn’t suddenly I got to act and then why would I make choices? I make choices because I still wasn’t me. I still wasn’t feeling complete and whole as a person. After Gia, I separated from Jonny [Miller] and I separated amicably and we’re still very close friends but we were young and I was moving to New York. There’s life to be lived and we needed some space to do so and help each other grow.”
“So I moved to New York on my own, didn’t know anybody and got an apartment and started to go to NYU. I thought I had expressed what I could and wanted to figure out who else I was. I was ready to kind of have a different life. I had grown up, ya know, Hollywood and New York but mainly Hollywood. I’d done what everybody said you should do, become an actor, this is what should make you happy right?” she says. “People tell you if you look good enough, if you have money, if you have success, if you’re an actor… these are all the things that should make a person happy, I was miserable. I was completely unhappy.”
Jolie’s most recent directorial product, First They Killed My Father, was released in September and is being touted as a potential Oscar nomination for the foreign film category. She is also set to return to the screen for the first time since 2015 in the sequel to Maleficent.
Watch Angelina talk exclusively to MiNDFOOD about family and her Netflix film, First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers.