Angelina Jolie Opens Up About Her Family, Adoption and the 'Resilience' of Refugees

Angelina Jolie describes her children as "six very brave, very strong young people"

Angelina Jolie. Photo: Getty

Angelina Jolie is reflecting on her family life, how adoption is "an amazing journey to share" between children and their parents and how refugees should have "protection when needed."

In a new interview with Vogue, the actress and philanthropist, 45, discussed her humanitarian work.

During the time she has worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Jolie said she has witnessed "a lack of will to protect and defend basic human rights, and a lack of diplomacy and accountability. A lot of people profit from the chaos of broken, dependent countries and it sickens me. We also see leaders spread fear for political gain, and nationalism rising — anger at 'the other.' "

"But on the other hand, I also see amazing generosity towards refugees in many countries and extraordinary strength and resilience from refugees themselves," she added. "And it is not a hopeless picture. Just five conflicts account for two-thirds of all cross-border displacement — Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Myanmar. Change the dynamic there, and we change the picture for global displacement."

The Maleficent: Mistress of Evil actress said she sees "all people as equal" and "cannot stand by" amid "the abuse and suffering" transpiring globally.

"Around the world, people are fleeing gas attacks, rape, female genital mutilation, beatings, persecution, murder. They do not flee to improve their lives. They flee because they cannot survive otherwise," Jolie said. "What I really want is to see an end to what forces people out of their homelands. I want to see prevention when we can, protection when needed and accountability when crimes are committed."

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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

Elsewhere in her interview, Jolie touched on adoption — a journey she has personally been on three times, for her oldest children Zahara Marley, 15, Pax Thien, 16, and Maddox Chivan, 18..

"Each is a beautiful way of becoming family," said the Oscar winner. "What is important is to speak with openness about all of it and to share. 'Adoption' and 'orphanage' are positive words in our home. With my adopted children, I can't speak of pregnancy, but I speak with much detail and love about the journey to find them and what it was like to look in their eyes for the first time."

"All adopted children come with a beautiful mystery of a world that is meeting yours," Jolie added. "When they are from another race and foreign land, that mystery, that gift, is so full. For them, they must never lose touch with where they came from. They have roots that you do not."

"Honor them. Learn from them. It's the most amazing journey to share," she continued. "They are not entering your world — you are entering each other's worlds."

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Jolie also opened up about her decision to split from Brad Pitt in 2016 after two years of marriage and their subsequent divorce in April 2019.

"I separated for the well-being of my family," said Jolie. "It was the right decision. I continue to focus on their healing. Some have taken advantage of my silence, and the children see lies about themselves in the media, but I remind them that they know their own truth and their own minds."

"In fact, they are six very brave, very strong young people," she said of her children ⁠— twins Vivienne Marcheline and Knox Léon, 11, Shiloh Nouvel, 14, Zahara, Pax and Maddox.

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