Angelina Jolie Says Deciding to Divorce Brad Pitt Was a Decision She Did Not Make 'Lightly'

"It took a lot for me to be in a position where I felt I had to separate from the father of my children," Angelina Jolie said in a new interview with The Guardian

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Angelina Jolie; Brad Pitt . Photo: Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool/Getty Images; Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Angelina Jolie is speaking out about her divorce and lengthy custody battle with ex-husband Brad Pitt.

"I'm not the kind of person who makes decisions like the decisions I had to make lightly. It took a lot for me to be in a position where I felt I had to separate from the father of my children," the Oscar-winning actress and humanitarian, 46, said in a new interview with The Guardian's Weekend magazine.

Jolie filed for divorce from Pitt, 57, in 2016. When she was asked by the publication what the last five years had taken out of her, the actress replied, "I mean, in some ways, it's been the last decade. There's a lot I can't say."

Jolie, a Special Envoy for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child (UNCRC), has written a new book focusing on the rights of minors — titled Know Your Rights and Claim Them: A Guide for Youth — with Amnesty International and human rights lawyer Geraldine Van Bueren. She said her activism for children's rights has been in part driven by her own experience.

"You want to make sure there is support for the children in your life," she said. She added she feared for the safety of her "whole family" amid the divorce but "can't speak about" details due to the ongoing legal situation (Pitt has denied allegations of physical abuse. "It's hard to see how continuing down this path benefits anybody," a source close to Pitt says in response to Jolie's comments).

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Angelina Jolie with her kids (from L-R) Knox, Vivienne, Pax, Shiloh, Zahara and Maddox in February 2019. Monica Schipper/Getty

Jolie said she's "realizing that sometimes you can survive things, but not know how to feel and live in the same way." "So it's more about being open. I'm really trying to be open as a human being again," she added.

The mother of six shared she felt "broken" by her experiences, and said she wanted her family to find a way to move forward, "including their dad." Pitt and Jolie are parents to Maddox, 20, Pax, 17, Zahara, 16, Shiloh, 15, and twins Vivienne and Knox, 13.

"I want us to heal and be peaceful. We'll always be a family," she added.

Jolie also talked about her family's bond.

"Within the understanding that they are family comes a lot of awareness that has to be born of all the years of them growing up together, learning from each other, discussing adoption, race and family," the Eternals star told the outlet. "Having people say: how could you be sisters, you're not the same color, when you're a little kid. Going to each other's countries and being the only person of their background in that country and feeling outside, yet it's your family."

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Jolie also said her current life would come as a shock to a younger version of herself.

"I never wanted to babysit, I never had dolls, so it's hilarious I've ended up with six children," she said. "... In my late teens I became aware of what adoption is, and the idea that there were children around the world who had been orphaned, and it just made sense to me. I never have had this idea of 'my own blood' ... It was just family born of being together and growing together, right?"

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