In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, the iconic Angelina Jolie opened up about her complex relationship with Hollywood, revealing that she might not have pursued acting if she were starting her career today. The Maleficent star, who grew up surrounded by the glitz and glamour of the industry due to her parents’ acting background, shared her perspective on the evolving nature of fame and the toll it took on her well-being.
Jolie, a seasoned actress with a career spanning decades, expressed that the expectations placed on public figures today are vastly different from when she began. In the early days of her career, the pressure to be constantly public and share personal details wasn’t as prevalent. She emphasized, “I wouldn’t be an actress today. When I was starting out, it wasn’t as much of an expectation to be as public, to share so much.”
Having witnessed the industry from a young age, Jolie never fully embraced the superficial aspects of Hollywood. “I was never very impressed with it [Hollywood],” she admitted. “I never bought into it as significant or important.” Her upbringing in the spotlight, combined with modeling and studying Method acting, provided her with a unique perspective.
The turning point in Jolie’s career came with her role in the 1999 film Girl, Interrupted, which earned her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. However, the sudden fame that followed led to struggles with depression and even contemplation of suicide. She confessed, “I wanted to escape.”
Throughout her journey, Jolie faced intense public scrutiny, particularly during her high-profile divorce from Brad Pitt, the father of her six children, seven years ago. The stress took a toll on her physical health, leading to Bell’s palsy and a realization of the toxicity of Hollywood. Reflecting on this, she shared, “Of all the places in the world, Hollywood is not a healthy place. So you seek authenticity.”
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In 2018, during the filming of Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Jolie noticed the physical impact of stress on her body. Her voice changed its register, and she realized the importance of prioritizing her well-being. This revelation prompted her decision to step back from the limelight, intentionally taking on fewer roles in recent years and opting for projects with shorter shoot durations.
Living in Los Angeles, Jolie disclosed that she no longer has a social life due to the constant intrusion of paparazzi and unwanted attention. The aftermath of her divorce restricted her freedom, pushing her to contemplate a move away from the bustling city. “It’s part of what happened after my divorce. I lost the ability to live and travel as freely,” she revealed, expressing her desire to spend more time at her home in Cambodia.
In a candid moment with Vogue earlier this year, Jolie shared her intentional shift towards a more balanced life. At 48, she acknowledged being in a transitional phase, exploring who she is and focusing on self-discovery. She explained, “I feel a bit down these days. I don’t feel like I’ve been myself for a decade, in a way, which I don’t want to get into.”
As we witness this evolution in Angelina Jolie’s journey, it becomes clear that beneath the glitz of Hollywood lies the struggle for authenticity and the pursuit of a healthier, more fulfilling life. In her own words, Jolie is navigating the delicate balance between fame and self-discovery, teaching us that even the most celebrated figures face internal battles that shape their personal narratives.