Angelina Jolie has a way of dividing people into groups that either love her or hate her. There are several reasons why people can’t stand her, including some who blame her for the negative press surrounding ex-husband Brad Pitt following the couple's divorce. Gossip Cop wanted to understand why so many people find Jolie to be a controversial subject, so we investigated to find the source of the people’s ire.
Angelina Jolie’s public image troubles began long before she and Brad Pitt ever met. As the child of immensely popular actor Jon Voight, Jolie dealt with a lot of childhood resentment toward her father. In interviews from both Jolie and her older brother, James Haven, they detail a childhood marked by paternal neglect and have accused their father of being manipulative, especially when it came to how he treated their mother, Marcheline Bertrand. In an interview with the Daily Beast from 2007, James revealed that he and Jolie had begged their father for financial support and alleged that Voight had withheld alimony from their mother.
This fraught relationship between children and father extended into adulthood, with Jolie eventually dropping the last name “Voight” supposedly in retaliation after her father accused her of having “serious mental issues” during an interview with Access Hollywood in 2002. Jolie had recently split from her second husband, fellow actor Billy Bob Thornton. The divorce came on the heels of their very public, and incredibly intense, courtship and marriage. In fact, Jolie had insisted on wearing a vial of Thornton’s blood around her neck, which many took as odd, to say the least.
The sudden split after such a passionate relationship came as a surprise to a lot of people, but some hold the divorce up as proof of Jolie’s supposed inability to commit. Her first marriage to Jonny Lee Miller only lasted about three years before the couple filed for divorce in 1999, which only strengthened critics’ claims that the actress had a hard time holding on to a man. It also established a pattern in Jolie’s romantic life with the Girl, Interrupted actress falling for her costars. Jolie met both Miller and Thornton while filming Hackers and Pushing Tin respectively. By also falling for her eventual ex-husband Brad Pitt on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Jolie not only continued the perceived habit, but now had the added label of homewrecker to add to her “wild woman” reputation.
Jolie’s reputation as a “wild woman” hasn’t gone away, though the mother of six usually spends her time now directing, acting, caring for her children, and working on various humanitarian projects that attempt to improve the lives of women and children around the world. In the '90s and early 2000s, Jolie shocked on the red carpet with her dark, sexy attire, many tattoos, and a vocal love of knives. These sorts of behaviors and interests, combined with Jolie’s frank openness about her sexuality, created a very specific image in the minds of those who caught her red carpet appearances. Then, there’s her relationship with her brother, James.
People have long been suspicious of Angelina Jolie’s relationship with her brother. Growing up, the two were extremely close, and that closeness didn’t disappear once they were adults. At the 2000 Academy Awards show, where Jolie picked up her first Oscar for her performance in Girl, Interrupted, Jolie brought along her brother as her date for the night and during her acceptance speech, she said the iconic line, “I’m in shock, and I’m so in love with my brother right now.” Later that night, at the Vanity Fair afterparty, the siblings shared a kiss on the lips that soon became fodder for both tabloids and late night sketch shows to mock. In an interview with E! News, Jolie flatly denied rumors that she was committing incest with her brother, telling the outlet that she and James feel only “brotherly” love for each other.
The beginning of Angelina Jolie’s relationship with Pitt is also highly criticized by those who have taken a disliking to the actress. Pitt was married to Jennifer Aniston when filming first began on Mr. and Mrs. Smith, but by the time the movie was released, Pitt and Aniston were divorcing and rumors of a possible romance between Jolie and her co-star began to emerge. The rumors were soon proven correct when Jolie and Pitt began to openly date, and the couple eventually welcomed their first child together — their daughter Shiloh — in 2006.
Many blamed Jolie for breaking up Pitt’s previous marriage. At the time, Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt were considered one of the most powerful couples in Hollywood. Jolie was vilified as the "other woman," the homewrecker who broke up a happily married couple, while Pitt was called every nasty name in the book, and some even went so far as to allege that the actor had cheated on Aniston with Jolie. Both Aniston and Jolie have publicly denied claims that Jolie cheated with Pitt during his marriage to Aniston. Of the accusation, Jolie told Marie Claire, via Today, "To be intimate with a married man, when my own father cheated on my mother, is not something I could forgive. I could not, could not look at myself in the morning if I did that."
In 2015, Aniston opened up to The Hollywood Reporter about her relationship with her now ex-husband. "We're not in daily communication," she told the outlet, "But we wish nothing but wonderful things for each other. Nobody did anything wrong. You know what I mean? It was just like, sometimes things [happen]." By all accounts, Aniston and Pitt’s marriage was already on the rocks by the time Pitt met Jolie. That doesn’t stop people from blaming Jolie for the split, however.
Jolie’s own split from Brad Pitt also prominently featured her as the villain, especially in tabloid coverage. The divorce, which began in 2016 and is still ongoing today, has been drawn out and contentious. In the beginning, Jolie filed for full custody of the couple’s six children and there was an investigation by Child Protective Services and the FBI into Pitt’s parenting.
Though the investigation was ultimately dismissed against Brad Pitt, there are some who harbour resentment towards the actress for putting her now ex-husband into that position. Some even claim that Angelina Jolie was somehow punishing Pitt by making it difficult for the Ad Astra actor to see his children. Pitt has publicly acknowledged that his own behaviors didn’t do him too many favors, which played a part in the breakdown of his marriage, but he stresses that both he and Jolie are very focused on making sure that their kids are taken care of.
Though she’s often painted as a villain, Jolie has been just as much a victim of circumstance in reality. In her youth, Jolie did have some wild ways, which included a rumored drug addiction. She was also very open about herself, her relationships, and her mistakes. Allowing that much open access to her life also opened the actress up to a lot of criticism. People may find her to be strange, but that doesn’t mean that Jolie isn’t a good person who tries her best to do right by the world.