Angelina Jolie said just one word: “Yeah.” It was delivered in a soft tone, adorned with a small smile and a wistful look as if she were already considering the joys of adding yet another child to her brood.
There are six children now in the household she shares with partner Brad Pitt, and, Jolie told TODAY’s Matt Lauer Thursday in New York, the question isn’t whether they will adopt another child, but when that will happen.
Born July 12, Jolie’s twins, Knox Léon and Vivienne Marcheline, are just three months old. “You can’t even start the process until any new children are at least six months old,” Jolie said, explaining that adoption agencies want to see how new children are fitting into a household. So the question, she said, is, “When is the right time to bring another child in?”
‘The right person’
According to the tabloids, the Pitt-Jolie partnership has been strained by the addition of the twins to four other children ranging in age from 2 to 7. If that is true, Jolie gave no sign of it.
Lauer did not address the reports directly. Instead, he told Jolie of something she said in 2005, before she settled down with Pitt: “I’m better alone.”
But Jolie doesn’t believe that anymore. “I met the right person,” she said, referring to Pitt. She started to add something, but caught herself, saying, “I’m not going to say anything that’s going to embarrass me. I don’t like being without him. I don’t love being alone like I used to be.”
With six kids, that’s not a problem. Jolie all but melts when she talks about them. The twins, she said, are doing great, and the other children have welcomed them into the family.
“We have so many children that they’re not really stunned anymore when kids come home,” she said. Her oldest, Maddox, 7, “is like the professional big brother. He’s done it so many times.”
Jolie and Pitt made sure the other children — Pax, 4, Zahara, 3, and Shiloh, 2 — knew that a new brother and sister would soon join the family.
“We prepared them,” she said. “We talked to them about what was coming, and they are all at that great age that they aren’t threatened, that they are independent enough to not need Mommy and Daddy all the time, and to be able to enjoy the kids. They play with them. They change their diapers. They call them their babies and dress them up.”
Citizens of the world
Pitt and Jolie lived in a villa in France while she was pregnant with the twins. They have recently moved to Berlin, where Pitt is making a movie. Before France, they had lived in New Orleans, where Pitt spent a lot of time helping to rebuild the Ninth Ward, which was virtually wiped out by Hurricane Katrina.
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Jolie said they have no immediate plans to plant themselves in any one place.
“The children will probably dictate,” she told Lauer. “One day they’re probably going to want to stay in one place for a very long time, when they start to get friends. So far, we’ve moved them a lot and they like moving. They like making new friends wherever we go. We’d like them to be those kinds of adults where they can find friends anywhere in the world. We’re more focused on that than where we’re going to settle.”
Video: Jolie breast-feeds on magazine cover Three of their children are adopted from different Third World nations, and both Jolie and Pitt alternate between lives of plenty and expeditions to impoverished and tumultuous parts of the world, where they devote themselves to various charities. Jolie said it’s important that their children are aware of both parts of the world.
“Certainly we live in two extremes. At the same time, we wake up every day as parents to children from around the world, whose backgrounds would have been very similar to the street children we see,” Jolie said. “There isn’t as much of a divide. We wake up as a mommy and daddy who want to make sure we’re raising our kids with the right values, want them to see all different sides of the world, want them to be responsible, and also want them to enjoy their lives and the privileges that they have, and make sure they always keep one foot in the other side of the world and know they have to give back.”
A mom on screen and off
Jolie had come to TODAY to talk about her new movie, “Changeling,” a powerful and emotionally jarring drama about a single mother in 1920s Los Angeles.
Directed by Clint Eastwood, the film is loosely based upon the real-life Wineville Chicken Murders. Jolie plays Christine Collins, a mother who believes that the boy returned to her after a kidnapping is not her 9-year-old son.
When she voices her concerns to the police, she is vilified as an unfit mother and sent to a mental asylum. She later discovers her real son has likely been murdered.
A reverend, played by John Malkovich, helps Jolie take on the corrupt Los Angeles Police Department unit that botched her son's rescue and attempted to cover it up. In the process, the priest exposes a citywide corruption scandal.
As a mother, Jolie found the story frightening. But as an actress, she found playing Collins irresistible, especially because the character reminded her of her own mother, Marcheline Bertrand, who died last year after a battle with cancer.
Beauty plus talent
“I felt there was something so captivating about her, who she really was,” Jolie said. “She reminds me of my mom. There was something about my mother’s face, and the kindness and the warmth and the openness and the frailty. She wasn’t this modern woman that I am, with the confidence that maybe I am able to have.”
Her character in the movie is dismissed by authority figures because she is a single mother in an era when that was not accepted by society. “She was shyer, she was more feminine in a certain way,” Jolie said. “There’s something so beautiful about that, that the modern woman feels we should stay away from a little bit. We want to be so strong, but there’s something so beautiful and lovely about a natural, soft, woman-mother. I felt pleased to play her.”
Slideshow: Angelina Jolie Eastwood has expressed great admiration for Jolie’s skill as an actress, comparing her to Meryl Streep. He said that Jolie “is an actress hampered by her gorgeous face, I think the most beautiful face on the planet. People sometimes can't see past that, to her talent. She's on all these magazine covers, so it's easy to overlook what an amazing actress is underneath.”
Jolie listened as Lauer read that quote, accepting the compliment with quiet grace.
“I don’t think about it that way at all,” she said. “I’m shy and flattered by somebody saying that, but I don’t know, I just never thought about that. I was raised to be myself and be an actress, and when you do a job, you do a job … If I ever thought about how the world looks at me it might alter me in some way or make me be less comfortable taking roles. It’s so important that people watch Christine Collins and don’t watch me.”
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