After twice visiting Cambodia, while filming Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and on a UNHCR field trip, the actress returned the country in late 2001 with her then-husband, Billy Bob Thornton; they met Maddox Jolie-Pitt and subsequently applied to adopt him. And in March 2002, Angelina picked up 7-month-old Maddox from an orphanage in Battambang. The actress had been toying with the idea of adopting a child for some time, but didn't proceed until first talking it over with Loung Ung, whom she quickly befriended after reading her memoir, First They Killed My Father.
"I asked her as a Cambodian orphan if she would be offended for somebody like me, an outsider, [to do that], or if that would be a nice thing," the Oscar winner recalls in Vanity Fair's September issue. Loung, of course, was thrilled by the proposal. "Angie was maternal to everybody around her, not just children, but adults included. I wanted her to adopt me. I was orphaned when I was 8 years old, and so I think, when you've gone through experiences like that, there's always a part of you that craves to have full parent figures in your life," Loung says.