Aside from having a successful career, striking good looks and a passion for giving back, if asked to describe Angelina Jolie in another way, we’d definitely call her a loving mother.
However, that wasn’t always a title the actress wanted for herself.
Speaking with the Associated Press (via CTV News) while filming her upcoming movie First They Killed my Father in Cambodia, Jolie admitted she never actually had the desire to be a mother.
“It’s strange, I never wanted to have a baby. I never wanted to be pregnant. I never babysat. I never thought of myself as a mother,” the now mother-of-six revealed.
It was while playing with children at a Cambodian school during an early trip as goodwill ambassador for the U.N. that everything changed for her: “It was suddenly very clear to me that my son was in the country, somewhere.”
She ended up adopting Maddox, 14, in 2002 and a year later opened a foundation in his name in the Battambang province, which helps fund health care, education and conservation projects in rural Cambodia.
Maddox is now helping her on what she’s deemed the “most important” film of her career, working behind the scenes of First They Killed my Father—an adaptation of the Khmer Rouge memoir written by survivor Loung Ung that recounts the 1970s Cambodian genocide from a child’s perspective.
Jolie said she was struck by the graciousness and warmth of the Cambodian people (despite everything they had faced in their tumultuous past) during her visit while filming Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
“When I first came to Cambodia, it changed me. It changed my perspective,” she recalled. “I realized there was so much about history that I had not been taught in school, and so much about life that I needed to understand, and I was very humbled by it.”
Now, she believes her work on the film is bringing together her various worlds: the film industry, her family and her humanitarian interests.
She explained, “For me, this is the moment, where finally my life is kind of in line, and I feel I’m finally where I should be.”