Angelina Jolie recently sat down for an extensive interview with Parade magazine and dished on everything from her hunky partner Brad Pitt, to religion, to raising their six kids. She also hits back at her detractors with a powerful, simple message about being true to oneself.
“I’m going to be who I am. People can hate me, and that’s fine, because if somebody loves me, he loves me for being me. I am who I am at home and everywhere else in all my life.”
Much of the scorn directed at the actress comes from those who criticize her decision to adopt children from abroad. “Everybody likes to criticize people. It’s an uneducated moral snobbery. It shouldn’t matter where children are born. When I first started working with refugees, people would say, ‘Why aren’t you helping these people and not other people?” I simply looked to help. I make the choices I make because they’re the choices I feel are right. Becoming a mother was the most wonderful thing.”
But adopted or biological, Angelina stresses that the Jolie-Pitt kids are part of a strong unit. “We’re a very close, very connected, very big family. We talk a lot about things. The children talk to each other, and they look out for each other, and they have each other. Yes, they have friends, but they also are very, very closely connected to each other.”
Part of that connection comes from the way Angelina and Brad strive to raise their kids with an open mind. “First of all, as parents, we try not to spoil our children. Because we travel a lot, what it took me until my twenties to learn about life, our children know already. They spend time in Cambodia in a teeny hut and hang out with local children. They help me visit distressed areas. They have friends with no money. They see and live in different worlds. They also appreciate having nice things. They like this house [in Los Angeles] because it has this pool. But they also love Cambodia because it’s got the fun places to throw rocks and cut coconuts and ride on elephants. They love Africa because the kids are really fun to play with and the nature is so beautiful.”
That same open mindedness extends to the Salt star’s view of religion. “Brad and I are raising our children to respect everyone. We have a bookshelf in the house that has the Bible, the Torah, the Koran, everything. We will take our children to church, temple, Buddhist ceremonies, Mosques, teaching them about all faiths. Whatever religion they choose, the choice will be theirs.”
Angelina goes on to say, “I respect all religions. What I don’t respect is when people use religion to attack others. I’ve met people across the world, in the middle of nowhere, who are just trying to survive and all they have is religion. In some way it helps them, and I wouldn’t take it away from them. There are also people who use it to hate and kill. I don’t consider them religious people.”
In the end, it sounds like Angie and Brad are trying to raise their kids the same way as the rest of us parents – with just the right amount of balance. “We’re just trying to show them different sides of life so they don’t just think one way. We’re hoping that, organically, it will be in them to feel for people who do not have as much. We want them to appreciate what they have and be grateful for it. They’ll be inspired to give and help people out because they’ll have close friends who don’t have as much. They won’t whine about things they want. And they won’t want more. We try to raise them with those values in mind.”