Angelina Jolie says her 6 kids are her best friends: ‘The closest people to me’

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Angelina Jolie is an Academy Award-winning actor, an accomplished filmmaker and a passionate humanitarian who serves as a UN special envoy for refugees. Of course, she's also a mom, a 24/7 gig.

“I don’t really have…a social life,” Jolie told WSJ. Magazine in a Dec. 5 interview.

"I realized my closest friends are refugees,” she told the outlet. “Maybe four out of six of the women that I am close to are from war and conflict."

Jolie's six children, all of whom she shares with her ex-husband, Brad Pitt, are her dearest and most trusted friends, she told the outlet.

“They are the closest people to me and my life, and they’re my close friends,” she said. “We’re seven very different people, which is our strength.”

Jolie, 48 adopted her first child, Maddox, from Cambodia in 2002, and then she adopted Zahara from an Ethiopian orphanage in 2005. She gave birth to her first biological child, Shiloh, in 2006. Then Jolie adopted Pax (who is actually her second-oldest child), and she gave birth to twins Knox and Vivienne in 2008.

The mom added "fashion designer" to her professional plate, with the launch of Atelier Jolie, which houses sustainable clothing lines, designed in part by the actor. The New York City store includes a cafe, according to WSJ. Magazine.

Time will tell if her children will influence her newest venture.

“My daughter jokes that I wear too many trench coats,” Jolie told WSJ. Magazine. “It’s just like a hiding thing.”

In a September 2023 profile in Vogue, Jolie reflected on her role as a mother. “My entire life changed,” she said. “Having children saved me — and taught me to be in this world differently.

“I would’ve gone under in a much darker way had I not wanted to live for them,” she added.

Jolie has had a unique path to motherhood.

She adopted her first child, Maddox, from Cambodia in 2002, and then she adopted Zahara from an Ethiopian orphanage in 2005. She gave birth to her first biological child, Shiloh, in 2006. Then Jolie adopted Pax (who is actually her second-oldest child), and she gave birth to twins Knox and Vivienne in 2008.

The 47-year-old has six children, all of whom she shares with her ex-husband, Brad Pitt.

Pitt and Jolie were together for 12 years and split in 2016. Jolie and Pitt’s divorce was finalized in 2019, and Pitt was awarded joint and legal custody of their five minor children in 2021. A legal battle over a winery the two once shared is ongoing.

Now, Jolie is starting a new fashion venture and her children are very much part of the team, adding their own unique perspectives to Atelier Jolie.

“I would’ve gone under in a much darker way had I not wanted to live for them,” she said.

Angelina Jolie (Annie Leibovitz / Vogue)
Angelina Jolie (Annie Leibovitz / Vogue)

On its bare-bones website, Atelier Jolie features a note written by its founder: “I am building a place for creative people to collaborate with a skilled and diverse family of expert tailors, pattern makers and artisans from around the world. A place to have fun. To create your own designs with freedom. To discover yourself,” she wrote.

Jolie has certainly encouraged her children to discover themselves as they grow. “I don’t tell the kids how to dress. Even when they were little, I just put things in front of them,” she told Vogue.

In the feature, she described a pivotal family moment of self-expression to illustrate her point. For a 2021 red carpet premiere of her Marvel movie, “Eternals,” five of the Jolie-Pitt children dug through their mother’s closet and selected their own outfits. Shiloh chose a Gabriela Hearst dress, Zahara picked Elie Saab and Knox selected vintage gear.

“I don’t think any one of us is overly ‘fashionable,’ but because we live in our clothes, it is so much a part of who we are, and something that’s important to explore, especially for young people,” Jolie said in the interview.

Jolie seemed to eagerly anticipate the next phase of motherhood as her children come into their own. She said, “I see them taking over so many different aspects of our family.”

Zahara and Pax have been “heavily involved” in Atelier Jolie — in fact, it was Zahara who found the retail space — and Pax has been helping his mom shop for a New York City apartment.

But who are the Jolie-Pitt kids? And what are they up to these days?

Read on to learn more about the “Eternals” star’s big, beloved family.

Maddox Chivan Jolie-Pitt, 21

'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Japan Premiere (Jun Sato / WireImage)
'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Japan Premiere (Jun Sato / WireImage)

Maddox was the first child to come into Jolie’s life. In 2002, she adopted him as an infant from his birth country, Cambodia, where she also filmed "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider."

At the time, Jolie was still married to Billy Bob Thornton, though months later, she and the “Sling Blade” actor parted ways.

At the age of 4, Maddox was adopted by Jolie’s then-partner Pitt.

The eldest of the Jolie-Pitt kids turned 21 in August and studies biochemistry at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.

“I’m so happy for him that (Maddox has) grown up into such a good man,” Jolie told Entertainment Tonight shortly after he went off to school. “I say that ‘cause he’s smart and he’s doing his work, but he’s also wild.”

In 2017, Jolie directed the film "First They Killed My Father," based on a memoir about the Cambodian genocide. At the premiere in Cambodia, Jolie spoke to the role the country had in her life. “Without Cambodia I may never have become a mother. Part of my heart is and will always be in this country. And part of this country is always with me: Maddox," she said with her children in attendance, per People.

Zahara Marley Jolie-Pitt, 18

Jolie adopted daughter Zahara from an Ethiopian orphanage in 2005, per People. “Maddox and I are very happy to have a new addition to our family," Jolie told People in a cover story.

Pitt traveled to Ethiopia with Jolie in 2005 to adopt Zahara. He formally adopted Zahara the following year, at the same time he became father to Maddox.

“I have learned so much from her,” Jolie said of the teen during a Time 100 Talk in 2020. “She is my family, but she is an extraordinary African woman. ... Her connection to her country, her continent, is very — it’s her own and it’s something I only stand back in awe of.”

On July 31, 2022, Jolie posted on Instagram to reveal that Zahara, 17, is attending Atlanta’s historically Black liberal arts college Spelman. "A very special place and an honor to have a family member as a new Spelman girl," she wrote.

Dropping her off in August 2022, Jolie got emotional. “I’m gonna start crying. I have not started crying yet,” Jolie told vice president for student affairs, Darryl Holloman, in a video posted to his Instagram.

But they weren't apart for long. By October, Jolie and Zahara were spotted together at Spelman homecoming. “Angelina Jolie just casually walking around with her daughter at Spelman during Homecoming,” one woman wrote on Twitter.

On Nov. 15, Essence shared a video from Spelman College where Zahara announced she had been initiated into Alpha Kappa Sorority, Inc., the first Black historically intercollegiate sorority in the U.S. In the video, the now 18-year-old proudly announced her name is Zahara Marley Jolie and that she hails from Los Angeles.

Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt, 17

Born in 2006, in the African nation of Namibia, Shiloh was the first of the three biological children Jolie and Pitt welcomed together during their relationship.

At just 16 years old, Shiloh, who was spotted attending a rock concert with her mother in 2022, has already gained a degree of fame of her own — as a dancer.

In June 2022, Hamilton Evans Choreography shared a clip of the teen showing off a variety of hip-hop dance moves to Doja Cat’s “Vegas.”

Shiloh Jolie-Pitt shows off her moves in a still from her Hamilton Evans Choreography clip. (Hamilton Evans / YouTube)
Shiloh Jolie-Pitt shows off her moves in a still from her Hamilton Evans Choreography clip. (Hamilton Evans / YouTube)

Pax Thien Jolie-Pitt, 19

Los Angeles Premiere Of MSNBC Films'
Los Angeles Premiere Of MSNBC Films'

While he was the fourth child to enter Jolie life, Pax is actually the second-oldest in the family.

Born in 2003, in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Pax was adopted by Jolie in 2007 when he was three. He was adopted by Pitt in 2008, per People.

Knox Léon Jolie-Pitt, 15

Born in Nice, France, in 2008, along with twin Vivienne, Knox is another of the biological children Jolie and Pitt share, and he's the youngest of their sons.

Along with Pax, Zahara and Shiloh, Knox had small voice roles in Jolie's 2016 animated film "Kung Fu Panda 3."

But Knox isn't breaking into showbiz, according to his famous mom.

“They don’t want to be actors," Jolie told Entertainment Tonight shortly after the film's release. "But I didn’t want them to miss the opportunity.”

Vivienne Marcheline Jolie-Pitt, 15

Vivienne was also born in Nice, France, in 2008 alongside Knox.

At least for now, details of the 15-year-old’s life remains largely private.

Jolie said of all of her children in 2021, “They’re pretty great people."

This article was originally published on TODAY.com