A year ago, a sighting of Angelina Jolie was a rarity.
On Sept. 19, 2016, the actress-turned-director filed for divorce from Brad Pitt, her husband of two years and partner of 12. The news sent shock waves through Hollywood as everyone asked the same question: "Why?" Angelina, ever mindful of her six children, went into seclusion, and she was only photographed a handful of times over the next year. Brad, in contrast, had to fulfill promotional obligations for Allied, all while trying to dodge questions about their divorce.
Angelina broke her silence in February, giving a handful of interviews to select media outlets. As details of their split emerged, through court documents and sources close to the former couple, Brad eventually told his side of the story to GQ Style in May, helping to restore his public image.
With two movies to promote—she directed the Cambodian drama First They Killed My Father and produced the animated film The Breadwinner—Angelina gave her first in-depth interview to Vanity Fair in September. She has been a major presence at various film festivals, often accompanied by children Maddox Jolie-Pitt, 16, Pax Jolie-Pitt, 13, Zahara Jolie-Pitt, 12, Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, 11, Knox Jolie-Pitt, 9, and Vivienne Jolie-Pitt. As she says in the Sept. 25 issue of People (on sale Friday), her kids are still healing from the divorce—but they're done hiding. "I think they're itching to get out in the world again. We've all been a bit in lockdown and going through some things," she says. "I think it would be good to get out there and play together."
Courtesy of People
Reflecting on her split (without mentioning Brad by name), Angelina seems surprisingly at ease. "I have had my ups and downs. I guess I am a little bit stronger," she says. "We all have our difficult times, but as a mother you also have a responsibility first and foremost towards the kids. They are going through their formative years and everything else comes second to that."
Angelina has a few acting projects in the pipeline, including Walt Disney Pictures' Maleficent 2. But, as always, her kids' needs will come first. "Everything will be around the children. I haven't worked for over a year now because they needed me home. Everything was just stopped. I'm really sitting and talking with them because everything affects them," she says. "Every location, every type of project, I'm going to have to adjust it to however much they can handle."
Perhaps the Jolie-Pitt kids will follow in their parents' footsteps. While a few of them have already appeared onscreen in non-speaking roles (in movies like Maleficent and World War Z), Maddox worked behind the camera as a producer on First They Killed My Father. E! News' Zuri Hall caught up with Angelina at the 2017 Toronto Film Fest earlier this week, where she confirmed Maddox "worked very hard" behind the scenes. "If I'm to continue in this business, I would love to work with my children," Angelina said. "If they so choose to be in this business."