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No doubt Angelina Jolie is, and has always been a woman that is not easily categorised, one full of contradictions. The long time A-lister has constantly juggled various roles, both on screen and off – as a women’s health advocate, noted humanitarian/UN Ambassador and environmentalist, and many years ago, even a Goth wild-child who kissed her brother on the lips and wore a vial filled with her then-husbands blood around her neck. It’s easy to see that her most fervent role, however, is that of a devoted mother to her six children.

The notoriously private actress, who has kept a low profile amid her widely publicised divorce from Hollywood heart-throb Brad Pitt late last year, is now back in the spotlight to promote her latest project, First They Killed My Father, a film that she wrote, directed and produced.  

Candidly speaking to The New York Times, Jolie opened up about her polarising public persona, saying, “I never expect to be the one that everybody understands or likes. And that’s OK, because I know who I am, and the kids know who I am.” 

Referring to her children, the 42-year-old gushed,  “They really help me so much. We’re really such a unit. They’re the best friends I’ve ever had. Nobody in my life has ever stood by me more.” (A subtle dig at her ex-hubby, perhaps?) 

In another interview, this time for the cover story for People magazine, the By The Sea star said she is a “little bit stronger” after the dissolution of her 12-year relationship with Brad Pitt.

“We all have our difficult times, but as a mother you also have a responsibility first and foremost towards the kids. They are going through their formative years and everything else comes second to that.”

“I haven’t worked for over a year now because they needed me home,” she adds. “We’ve all been a bit in lockdown.” But now, “I think they’re itching to get out in the world again. 

And get out in the world they have. Two of her children have joined her behind the scenes of the film, seemingly eager follow in their famous parents footsteps.  Eldest son Maddox prepared shoots and pitched in at meetings (undoubtedly an invaluable source since he was adopted by the couple in 2002 out of Cambodia, where the film is set), while his brother Pax also worked on set as a photographer. 

Sixteen-year-old Maddox revealed what it’s like to work side-by-side with his mum, saying,  “[She’s] fun, funny, and easy to work with,” he said. “She’s a wonder.” 

Based on her friend Loung Ung’s memoir about surviving the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia, First They Killed My Father will be available on Netflix tomorrow (15 September). That’s our Friday night plans sorted.