Angelina Jolie has spent most of her life in the public eye, and that’s because she’s the daughter of actor Jon Voight and actress Marcheline Bertrand. So, she didn’t really have much of a choice; growing up in the spotlight was going to be her fate whether she liked it or not. And boy, has Angelina Jolie been in the spotlight!
The thing is, most of the tabloid coverage about her has focused on her marriages (and divorces,) so it’s pretty easy to forget that one, Voight is her father and two, they have had a tumultuous relationship from the very beginning. This is a look behind the doors of the Jolie-Voight household and what caused the lifelong rift between a father and his children.
He Said She Had “Serious Emotional Problems”
Remember Lara Croft: Tomb Raider? Angelina Jolie and Jon Voight (as Lord Richard Croft) co-starred in the 2001 action film, but in early 2002, it became apparent that the father-daughter duo was experiencing some family troubles. Voight tearfully told E! that his daughter was suffering from “serious emotional problems.” He said that she had been staying away from him because she knows he’s been “trying to reach her to get help.”
Jolie’s response was vague, although she acknowledged the rift. Not long after, she dropped “Voight” from her name. “I don’t want to make public the reasons for my bad relationship with my father,” she told Access Hollywood. “After all these years, I have determined that it is not healthy for me to be around my father.”
It All Started When…
This was back in 2002, when Jolie adopted her first child, Maddox, from Cambodia. As soon as she became a mother, she gained perspective on her relationship with her father and felt the need to distance herself from him. But why? What happened? Well, that’s what we’re about to delve into…
The tension between the father and daughter started when Voight had an affair while being married to Jolie’s mother, Marcheline Bertrand. Apparently, Jolie was just a baby (and her brother was not much older) when Voight divorced Bertrand. At the time, Bertrand was 28 years old, and she was left to care for her two children. Subsequently, she had to give up her career as an actor.
Her Accusation: He Abandoned the Family
The accusations against Voight were that he was estranged even when they were married – that he abandoned his family. Jolie had seen firsthand the distress and anguish that her mother had to experience. It only created her own hatred towards her father. Nonetheless, she and her brother James Haven were his children, and they were seen in public together at an early age.
In 1986, Voight took 10-year-old Jolie, along with her brother, to her very first Academy Awards (he was nominated for his performance in Runaway Train). Jolie is not one to talk openly about her private life, but multiple sources have reported that she had a hard time growing up without her dad around.
He Allegedly Refused to Pay Child Support
It’s also been reported that Voight refused to pay child support after the divorce, which led Bertrand to have to deal with financial stress (in addition to all the other stresses). Jolie’s brother told the media that his father had “mentally abused” his mother for a long time.
It’s been thought that Jolie’s known history with drugs, depression, self-mutilation and becoming sexually active at a young age can all be tied to her abandonment issues. In many cases, abandonment is a repeated pattern, which begs the question: Was Jon Voight abandoned as a child, too?
A Relationship He Wished He Had With His Kids
Apparently, Voight was very close with both his parents. His father passed away before his mother, but he always claimed to have had a good relationship with them – the type of relationship he said he wished to have with his kids. Voight has been married and divorced twice during his life.
He met his first wife, actress Lauri Peters when they were both in the Broadway production of The Sound of Music. They tied the knot in 1962, and by 1967 they were divorced. He married 21-year-old aspiring actress Marcheline Bertrand in 1971. Soon enough, the rumors began of his extra-marital affairs.
Giving Up on Her Dreams
In 1976, Bertrand and Voight separated; two years later, they were divorced. That’s when Voight left the house. Jolie was a year old when her parents divorced. Jolie claimed that her mother “gave up on her dreams” when she married her father.
Jolie accused her father of cheating on her mother and ultimately abandoning the family. Jolie and Haven grew up with their mother, and they both had a strong bond with her until she died in 2007 at the age of 57 after a long battle with cancer. After Bertrand died, information from her will was revealed.
Their “Inability” to Overcome
In her will, she stipulated that Voight owed her $180,000 in spousal support, which he never paid. Voight spoke out against his late ex-wife’s claim, stating he owed her no such amount. Voight has made it clear that he always tried to help his ex-wife and children financially.
If you ask Voight, he’ll tell you that he believes the hurt he caused their mother and the results their divorce had on their family is the main reason he doesn’t have a relationship with his two kids. “It comes from their inability to let go of years of programmed anger from their mother, who understandably felt quite hurt when we divorced,” Voight explained.
She Was “Never Normal”
Up until 2002, when they starred in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider together, the pair were still on speaking terms. Voight might have revealed a little too much in his statement to E! (where he said his daughter has serious mental issues), adding that Jolie “was never normal.”
Of course, he received backlash from Jolie. She then criticized her father for his affair during his marriage to her mother. It was basically the last straw. After that public feud, the pair stopped speaking, and their relationship deteriorated further.
When She Dropped “Voight”
“It is not healthy for me to be around my father,” she stated publicly. It was during this feud that she legally dropped the name Voight. Her middle name, Jolie, then became her last name. Her brother followed suit. The feud, in which Jolie and her father didn’t speak whatsoever, was said to have lasted about seven years.
When Jolie accepted the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her work in charity, Voight came to the ceremony and sat in the audience. During her acceptance speech, Jolie thanked her late mother and (obviously) chose to ignore her father. Voight said he wasn’t hurt, though, and that he was simply proud of his daughter’s work.
He Confessed to “Failing” as a Father
Voight once confessed to having “failed” his daughter. A childhood friend of Jolie’s named Susan Margaret vouched for her: “Jon Voight was a terrible father to her back then. He cheated on her mother. Marcheline was brokenhearted.”
“She told me Jon had emotionally abused her,” Margaret added. Her brother also spoke publicly about his father. “There was a lot of hurt and anger,” Haven stated. “When my father had an affair, it changed her life. It set her dream of family life ablaze. But she still loved being a mother.”
He Realized the Importance of Family
In 2008, it was reported that Voight wanted to reconcile with his kids. “As Jon grows older, he’s realizing the importance of family and longs to be a part of his daughter and grandchildren’s lives. It breaks his heart to be kept away,” a source close to Voight said.
“There’s nothing Jon wants more than to have his family back together again,” another source declared. “It kills him to be shunned by his children. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to put this rift behind him.” One thing that helped reunite the father and daughter was the fact that he is a grandfather.
A Doting Grandfather
Voight had the chance to meet Jolie’s children – his grandchildren. “Jon and I have gotten to know each other — through grandchildren now — [and] we’re finding a new relationship,” Jolie told The Hollywood Reporter. (Note that she refers to him as Jon…)
As time heals most wounds, Voight grew into his role as a doting grandfather and became very “hands-on” with them. Apparently, he has pictures of them all over his house and office,” a source told HollywoodLife in 2020. “He’s stepped up in some incredible ways over the past few years and really been there for her and the kids.”
Brad Pitt Was the Only One He Approved Of
We’ve seen that Jolie has had her share of highly-publicized (and controversial) relationships over the years. What did her father think of them? Well, Voight never approved of her relationships with Billy Bob Thornton and Jonny Lee Miller. But then Brad Pitt came along.
Voight stated publicly that he was happy when Jolie and Pitt decided to finally get married and that Pitt would officially become his son-in-law. Still, Voight wasn’t invited to the Pitt-Jolie wedding. Reportedly, Jolie didn’t want him there since she was concerned about his behavior during the event.
Brad Helped Ease the Family Tension
Voight and Pitt have a good relationship. In fact, their bond actually helped mend the broken relationship between Voight and both his kids. The father-daughter feud lasted until 2009 until the two made their first public outing together since they reconciled at the premiere of In the Land of Blood and Honey.
Pitt is the one to thank for getting the pair back together as he managed to convince his wife (at the time) that she should settle things with her father. It came two years after her mother died, and even though she considered herself an orphan after this time, she has chosen to reconnect with her father – who’s now in his 80s – instead of holding on to her anger so tightly.
A Friend to Her Children
While Pitt was certainly helpful in getting the family to reconcile (at least somewhat), after Jolie’s divorce, Voight was a little more sensitive to his daughter’s needs. For all of her life, it’s been her mother that she turned to for support.
“My mom always made it clear that I was her friend, and that is a lesson on how to bring up my own children,” she told The Sun in 2011. Jolie explained that when she spoke to her mother, she felt that her mom wanted to hear what she had to say.
Raising Her Kids Without Their Grandmother
She concluded: “If anybody ever tells me that I am a mother to them like my mom was to me, it will be a great compliment.” Bertrand actually influenced Jolie’s decision to become the face of Guerlain, a brand Bertrand loved.
“She was a very natural woman who never spoiled herself, never wore makeup, and wore modest jewelry,” Jolie told Marie Claire. It’s been difficult for Jolie to raise her children without their grandmother. “I’ve needed her. I talk to her often in my mind and try to think what she might say and how she might guide me.”
Looking Like a Normal Family
Ironically, Jolie’s unexpected and messy divorce from Pitt was the catalyst that brought her dad back into her life in a new and meaningful way. “She’s OK,” Voight told E! News in 2016, a few months after the divorce. “She’s holding on.”
It was a headline-maker when Jolie was spotted having dinner with Voight and four of her kids in 2017. For the first time in who knows how long, the family was out and about and looking, well, like a normal family. According to Jolie, it was the grandchildren who woke him up, so to speak. “He’s been very good at understanding they needed their grandfather at this time,” Jolie told Vanity Fair in 2017.
She Didn’t Want to Be a Voight
Coming of age in the spotlight, Jolie was used to being known as a Voight, but she didn’t like it. “I did not want to be a Voight, as an actress, because people would react to the name,” Jolie said in 2011. She noted that her father would always apologize when she was young for articles describing her as “Jon Voight’s daughter.”
“I felt more of my mother’s daughter when I was a child,” Jolie explained, which is really just a part of her not liking the Voight name. She didn’t like him or his name, but they were still family nonetheless.
Movie Nights With Mom
Following her parents’ separation in 1976, Jolie and Haven lived with their mother, who raised them as Catholic but never forced them to go to church. As a child, Jolie often watched movies with her mother. These movie nights with her mom inspired the young girl to act (and not her father’s already successful career).
When Jolie was seven, she had a small part in Voight’s Lookin’ to Get Out (1982). It was around the time that her mother and her live-in partner, filmmaker Bill Day, moved the family to Palisades, New York. It would be another five years until they moved back to L.A.
The Skinny Girl With Braces
By then, Jolie decided she wanted to act and enrolled at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, where she trained for a couple of years and appeared in several stage productions. Before that, she went to Beverly Hills High School – a place where she felt isolated among the kids of the rich families in the area.
Unlike them, she and her family were surviving on a more modest income. She was teased by the other students, who poked fun at her for being very skinny, wearing glasses and having braces. Little did they know, this girl would end up becoming one of the most beautiful women on the planet.
She Aspired to Be a Funeral Director
While in high school, Jolie tried her hand in modeling at her mother’s insistence, which – believe it or not – proved unsuccessful. She changed high schools (transferring to Moreno High School), where she became a “punk outsider,” for all the black clothes she wore, the mosh pits she went to, and her experimenting with knife play with her live-in boyfriend.
She soon dropped out of her acting classes and aimed to become a funeral director. She even took at-home courses to study embalming. At 16, after her relationship with her boyfriend ended, she graduated from high school and moved into her own apartment.
A Dark Period in Her Life
As a teen, Jolie found it hard to emotionally connect with others, which led her down a dark path of self-harm. Apart from the cutting, she also struggled with insomnia and an eating disorder, which took her down even further to the world of drugs.
By age 20, she was using “just about every drug possible.” She went through bouts of depression and nearly took her life twice – once at the age of 19 and again at 22. Allegedly, she once tried to hire a hitman to take her life.
What’s the Deal With Her and Her Brother?
You might remember when, back in the ‘90s and ‘00s, when James Haven would often accompany his sister to various red carpet events like the Oscars. As of late, not much is heard of him. Still, many of us can’t forget the controversial moments between the siblings.
The famous siblings shocked audiences on several occasions with their public displays of affection, but the most memorable one was at the Oscars in 2000. The siblings attended the ceremony to celebrate 24-year-old Jolie’s nomination for her role as Lisa Rowe in Girl, Interrupted.
Her Acceptance Speech
At the time, she was something of a newcomer to the film industry, even though she already had a Golden Globe win and an Emmy nomination for her portrayal of the late model Gia Marie Carangi in Gia.
That night, she added an Oscar to her résumé, and when she took the stage, she started her acceptance speech by giving a shout-out to Haven, then 26. She said to the star-studded crowd: “I’m in shock, and I’m so in love with my brother right now,” followed by a nervous laugh.
The Oscar Kiss in 2000
Later that evening, at the Vanity Fair after-party, Jolie posed for photographers with the Oscar in hand and her brother by her side. They were then photographed kissing on the lips, which was a split-second move that almost immediately made it to the front pages of multiple newspapers the next morning.
Not to mention all the covers of magazines in the days that followed. Jolie and Haven later addressed the “incident” in an interview with People. “I did not give Angie a French kiss; it was something simple and lovely. It was snapped and became a big thing around the world,” Haven stated.
Nothing More Than “Brotherly” Love
“It was a moment that people hadn’t seen at the Oscars — a blatantly sexual moment,” Melissa Rivers, the co-host of E! Live from the Red Carpet, recalled to Bustle in 2020. “Here are these two beautiful people who literally looked completely different than anyone in the sea of glam and beauty. They were glam and beauty in a completely dark, very sexual way.”
After the incident, Jolie told Entertainment Weekly that she and her brother had nothing “more than brotherly” love for each other. “My parents really loved that moment, and that’s what will always matter,” Jolie added to her statement.
They’re Still Questioned, Years Later
The attention the siblings received after that kiss followed them for a while, to the point where they were questioned about it during interviews many years later. In 2007, Haven insisted to The Daily Mail that it was nothing noteworthy.
He explained that Jolie was “about to go off to Mexico to finish filming Original Sin with Antonio Banderas. I congratulated her on the Oscar win and gave her a quick kiss on the lips. It was snapped and became a big thing.” Haven said he and his sister had been close since childhood. Together, the brother and sister would defend and protect their mother.
Together in Gia
Later in their lives, they would bond over their shared passion for charity and care for women and children. Haven became famous in his own right as an actor. He received a George Lucas Award for the first student film he directed, which starred his sister, of course. Haven’s acting debut was in Gia, with his sister playing the lead role.
He went on to play minor characters in movies with Jolie and her second husband, Billy Bob Thornton. In 2005, he became an executive producer. He started making films about human and animal rights, as well as environmental issues.
They Speak to Each Through Their Work
There was a time, when Jolie was still an up-and-coming actress, that her father regularly praised her in his own interviews, calling her a “great talent.” When Jolie was asked by Rolling Stone in 1999 how she felt about following her father into movie stardom, she said, “I think it’s probably healthy not to put too much thought into that.”
She explained that she and her father “speak to each other a lot through our work.” He can basically see how she is as a woman through her films, as well as the way she is “dealing with a husband who’s been injured or the way I am crying alone.” And it’s the same for her – to understand her father through his films.
Her Wild Child Years
The late ’90s and early ’00s were Jolie’s “wild child” years when she was exuding sex appeal – a period in which she was being characterized as either deranged or depressive. Apparently, after her role in Gia, she went into a bout of depression which took a lot out of her.
However, the overwhelmingly positive feedback she received from fans and critics helped her get out of that funk. Jolie is fully aware of the rumors and remarks that people make about her, especially in those days. “People think that because I have tattoos, I’m bad, or that there’s something very dark about me, or that I think about death,” she said in 1999.
Her First Husband: Johnny Lee Miller
She continued to say that she’s “probably the least morbid person.” The way she sees it, if she thinks about death more than others, “it’s probably because I love life more than those people.” One thing is clear: She was very passionate about the men she was in relationships with.
She seemed almost dangerously in love with her first husbands, but let’s start with her very first: British actor Johnny Lee Miller, to whom she was married from 1996 to 1999. When she was filming Hackers (in 1995), Jolie started her romance with Miller, who happened to be her first lover since the relationship in her early teens.
His Name Was Written in What?
They lost touch after the production ended, but they eventually reconnected and married soon after, in the spring of 1996. Jolie actually attended her wedding in black rubber pants and a white T-shirt – and on it was Miller’s full name written in her blood. Yeah, you read that right.
After their relationship ended the following year, the exes remained on good terms. She referred to him as “a solid man and a solid friend.” Their divorce was initiated by Jolie in early 1999, and it was finalized shortly before she remarried the following year.
Before Johnny, There Was Jenny
Before she married Miller, Jolie was in a relationship with model-actress Jenny Shimizu while she was working on the set of Foxfire in 1996. She later said, “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.”
According to Shimizu, she and Jolie’s relationship lasted several years, even while Jolie was romantically involved with others. In 2003, Jolie was asked if she’s bisexual, to which she responded, “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!”
Her Second Husband: Billy Bob Thornton
After dating for two months, Jolie married actor Billy Bob Thornton on May 5, 2000, in Las Vegas. They met on the set of Pushing Tin (in 1999), but since Thornton was engaged to actress Laura Dern at the time, they never took their instant chemistry to the next level.
They ended up getting married in 2000 (until 2003), and their marriage became a favorite topic of the media. How could they not? I mean, they wore one another’s blood in vials around their necks in public. Their controversial declarations of passion and gestures of love for each other were the talk of the town.
“TO THE END OF TIME”
Not only did they wear blood necklaces, their bed was under the framed words on the wall that read “TO THE END OF TIME” (which was also written in her blood). But it wasn’t to the end of time. In 2002, Jolie and Thornton announced the adoption of a child from Cambodia, only to abruptly separate three months later.
Their divorce was finalized in May of 2003. When asked about the sudden end to their marriage, Jolie stated, “It took me by surprise, too, because overnight, we totally changed. I think one day we had just nothing in common. It’s scary but, I think it can happen when you get involved, and you don’t know yourself yet.”
Moving On to Brad
A 2001 article in Rolling Stone said that she and Thornton had two framed drawings and poems about their relationship written by Voight in their living room. Within a year, Voight was telling media outlets that his daughter had “serious mental problems” and needed help.
Anyway, Jolie moved on after Thornton to Brad Pitt. But she took her time. After all, she had her hands full with her kids. Jolie and Pitt were married between 2014 and 2019, and the way they came to be was, as we know now, quite controversial…
Were You Team Jolie or Team Aniston?
Jolie was one-third of the love triangle between her, Pitt, and Jennifer Aniston – to whom Pitt was married while he and Jolie filmed 2005’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith together. Allegedly, Pitt cheated on Aniston with Jolie, and it eventually led to his divorce from Aniston that year.
Soon enough, the love triangle was a massive media story, and the two women were pitted (no pun intended) against each other. The question became: Are you on Team Jolie or Team Aniston? Jolie admitted to having fallen in love with Pitt during the filming of the movie.
She Would Never Do That
However, Jolie dismissed allegations of an affair. She said: “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.”
She also added that she wouldn’t be attracted to a man who would cheat on his wife. Jolie and Pitt never publicly commented on the nature of their relationship until January 2006, after his and Aniston’s divorce and when she confirmed that she was pregnant with his child.
During their 12-year relationship (they were together for nearly a decade before marrying), the couple were dubbed “Brangelina,” and they were consistently the subject of worldwide media coverage. Their family grew to include six kids, three of them adopted.
Jolie and Pitt married in 2014 at their estate, Château Miraval, in Correns, France. At that point, she legally added a name to hers, becoming Angelina Jolie Pitt. Two years later, they separated. By 2019, both Jolie and Pitt were back to single and ready to mingle. In early 2021, Jolie filed court documents accusing Pitt of domestic violence while they were married.