Angelina Jolie: The Q interview

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The Independent Culture

Angelina Jolie, daughter of the actor Jon Voight, won an Oscar at the age of 24 for her performance in Girl, Interrupted. Now 28, she is most famous for playing Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider films. Openly bisexual and with a reputation for morbidity, Jolie is increasingly known for her work as a UN goodwill ambassador. Twice divorced and estranged from her father, she lives with her adopted son Maddox and has homes in England and Cambodia.

There's not much you won't do, including your own stunts on Lara Croft. Are you fearless?

To the point of stupidity. I like heights. I'm an adrenalin junkie.

Is there anything that you're really afraid of?

I don't like being confined. I'd be scared if I was tied up.

Will you ever say: 'I can't do this stunt, I'm a mother now'?

I don't know, if something is going to kill me ... I mean I will double- check my harness, but ... the truth is I'm careful these days to not be self-destructive because of my son. But at the same time, I have all the more reason to do all the cool things possible because I want to make my son proud.

You do seem calmer these day...

I am, yeah, and it's not just Maddox. I've been doing so much in the last few years, and travelling a lot. It changes you. I got nervous when I had to speak about a bill before Congress but I don't get nervous doing press any more.

Does anyone in the business ever suggest you should tone down your behaviour?

I've never had a publicist or an agent, but over the years, there have been people who have told me to rein it in and be a little more normal or try to come up with a way to present myself that would be comfortable for everyone. But I think this far into my career everyone has given up! I've also made it very clear that the more complete I am as a human being and as a woman, the better my work will be.

How have you coped with the divorce from Billy Bob?

My first divorce was very difficult. Johnny [Lee Miller] and I were very close friends. But things are clearer at this time in my life, and I'm fortunate for that. Some people don't know when it's time to be separate - I think that Billy Bob and I knew, and we moved on and life has become better for both of us. I'm beginning to think that marriage isn't my cup of tea. I don't have a lot of faith in it lasting.

What about love lasting?

I'm not looking for it. I think that it's wonderful when people find love in their life from a man or a woman, but I feel like I want to get to learn about this world and about myself. I want to become a better woman and mother and have more children. I want to do good things with my life. Whether I have a lover or a friend with me is not important to me.

Are you a bit of a loner?

I am, actually, yeah, very happy being on my own. But I have Maddox.

What was it like the first time you met Maddox at the orphanage in Cambodia?

He was asleep. They had put him outside in a bucket. They poured water over him but he stayed asleep, then they put him in my arms and he smiled. I've never been around children my whole life. I'd never held a baby. So when he smiled, it wasn't as much that he liked me, but it was more that he was okay with me. A child being comfortable in my arms meant a lot to me.

Is motherhood what you've been searching for?

I think it is for most people. I think that everybody would like to feel a sense of purpose and a sense of being useful to others, and I didn't have that before. I felt kind of useful as an actor, but that was not enough for me.

What's the hardest thing about being a working, single mum?

I'm so fortunate - most single, working mothers cannot insist on bringing a child to work with them. I can see him every time I have a break and my heart aches for the women that aren't able to do that. The hard thing is just being tired sometimes.

Maddox's birthday is coming up - how are you going to celebrate?

Well, he's into elephants. We actually have an animal sanctuary in Cambodia - an area of the forest that has tigers and elephants. So I'm going to buy the big stuffed ones from FAO Schwartz and put them in his bedroom!

Are you going to adopt another child?

I don't know. I'll see when I get there.

'Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life' opens later this month