Angelina Jolie, like Jennifer Garner and Jennifer Aniston before, has given Vanity Fair her first major interview since announcing her divorce from Brad Pitt a year ago. While Jolie did not divulge the full details of what led to her and Pitt's breakup, she did confirm that in the summer of 2016, "...things got bad. I didn't want to use that word," Jolie said. "Things became 'difficult.'"
Jolie objected to the rumor that their traveling lifestyle had taken a toll on Pitt and that he wanted a more stable existence. "[Our lifestyle] was not in any way a negative," she said—quickly, adamantly, Vanity Fair writer Evgenia Peretz noted. "That was not the problem. That is and will remain one of the wonderful opportunities we are able to give our children...They're six very strong-minded, thoughtful, worldly individuals. I'm very proud of them."
Through the breakup, Jolie says the former couple's children, "[have] been very brave. They were very brave...in times they needed to be." Pitt and Maddox reportedly had a physical and verbal altercation while on a private plane, one that led to a FBI investigation of Pitt (Pitt was cleared with no charges at the end of it), and Jolie addressed that, too: "We're all just healing from the events that led to the filing...They're not healing from divorce. They're healing from some...from life, from things in life."
Jolie was not surprised by Pitt's statements in his May 2017 GQ Style interview about their breakup. She carefully responded when asked about tabloid reports that communication between her and Pitt had recently improved. "We care for each other and care about our family, and we are both working towards the same goal," she said.
Jolie herself watched her mother Marcheline Bertrand and father Jon Voight breakup after he cheated on her, which has informed how she's approached her own divorce. "I was very worried about my mother, growing up—a lot. I do not want my children to be worried about me. I think it's very important to cry in the shower and not in front of them. They need to know that everything's going to be all right even when you're not sure it is."
Jolie does confess she has more grey hair now and drier skin. "I can't tell if it's menopause or if it's just been the year I've had," she joked. And she laughed at the idea of herself as sex symbol. "I actually feel more of a woman because I feel like I'm being smart about my choices, and I'm putting my family first, and I'm in charge of my life and my health. I think that's what makes a woman complete."
Jolie developed a more serious condition, Bell's palsy, last year, causing one side of her face to droop because of damage to facial nerves. "Sometimes women in families put themselves last until it manifests itself in their own health," Jolie said. She used acupuncture to treat it and has made a full recovery.
Right now, Jolie's focus is being the best she can for her kids. "I'm just wanting to make the proper breakfast and keep the house," she said. "That's my passion. At the request of my kids, I'm taking cooking classes. As I go to sleep at night, I think, Did I do a great job as a mom or was that an average day?"
Read the full Vanity Fair Angelina Jolie profile here.