A smart bunch! Angelina Jolie opened up about her children’s personalities and revealed they’re all bilingual — or even trilingual — while appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour on Friday, June 17.
In 2002, Jolie adopted her eldest son, Maddox, now 14, from Cambodia, and a few years later she welcomed her daughter Zahara, now 11, from Ethiopia. In 2007, she and now-husband Brad Pitt adopted Pax, 12, from Vietnam. The couple, who married in August 2014, share three biological kids: daughter Shiloh, 10, and twins Vivienne and Knox, 7.
“All the kids are learning different languages,” Jolie, 41, said. “I asked them what languages they wanted to learn and Shi is learning Khmai, which is the Cambodian language, Pax is focusing on Vietnamese, Mad has taken to German and Russian, Z is speaking French, Vivienne really wanted to learn Arabic, and Knox is learning sign language.”
“I suppose that just means you don’t know who your children are until they show you who they are, and they are just becoming whoever they want to be,” the Maleficent actress said. “It’s been my dream. They’re interested in other cultures.”
While she’s thrilled her kids share her love for languages, she said she’s pretty certain they won’t be following in their parents’ footsteps in the acting world. “None of my kids want to be actors,” she said. “They are actually very interested in being musicians. I think they like the process of film from the outside. Mad is interested in editing … Pax loves music and deejaying.”
Jolie, who works as a Special Envoy of UN High Commissioner for Refugees, explained how she talks to her children about refugees, especially since three of her kids were orphaned due to war. “We think of the people who are going through these difficult situations, but we also talk about their resilience and their strength and we admire them, so they’re heroes in my house,” she said. “My kids have met children who are refugees and are friends with children who are refugees and children from many countries … around the world from living in different circumstances. I never want them to look at these people with pity.”
The refugee crisis caused the By the Sea director to recall her experience with childbirth, and she said she probably wouldn’t have survived without modern technology, which many women don’t have access to. “A woman like me in a camp with two babies in breech with twins probably wouldn’t have made it this far if I was a refugee,” she said during the interview.
The Oscar-winner also talked about her other health issues, including her decision to get a preventative double mastectomy in 2013 and her ovaries removed in 2015. She chose to get the surgeries after she learned that she carried the BRCA1 cancer gene, which doctors said increased her risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
“I thought that I had gained information that I wish my mother would have known,” she said of her late mother, Marcheline Bertrand, who passed away in 2007 after a long battle with ovarian cancer. “I wish she had the option. I wish she had the surgery, in fact, and it might have given her more years with my family.”
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