Angelina Jolie found herself at the centre of a media storm when she filed for divorce from Brad Pitt in 2016, but, since then, the actor has kept largely out of the spotlight, focusing primarily on her family and her philanthropic work.
Now, though, Jolie is currently on tour to promote her new movie, First They Killed My Father. And, when asked about the end of her and Pitt’s 12-year relationship, the actor readily admitted that the experience has taken a toll on both her emotional and physical wellbeing.
“I don’t enjoy being single,” she tells the Sunday Telegraph. “It’s not something I wanted.
“There’s nothing nice about it. It’s just hard.”
Jolie – who recently revealed that the stress of the past year has caused her to develop Bell’s Palsy – adds that she often feels as if “my body has taken a hit”.
“I feel sometimes that my body has taken a hit, but I try to laugh as much as possible,” she says.
“We tend to get so stressed that our children feel our stress when they need to feel our joy. Even if you are going through chemo, you need to find the ability to love and laugh. It may sound like a postcard, but it’s true.”
While her divorce has been difficult, Jolie has found a number of positives to take away from the experience – one of which has been the opportunity to “rediscover a little bit of the old me”.
“I am going to cooking classes,” she says. “Cooking is one of those things you do when you are settled in your life and you can take the time. But somehow I am just very impatient and I am a little bit erratic.”
Pointing out that she been forced to put her personal development on hold for several years, Jolie adds: “I think [I lost my] way a bit.
“I have had a lot happen in my life, from certain people passing to health issues to raising the children. And it’s been a very good time to absorb and develop and grow.”
Jolie’s new film – which is due to be released via Netflix – is an adaptation of the 2000 memoir of Cambodian human rights activist Loung Ung about surviving the deadly Khmer Rouge regime, a four-year period in which about two million Cambodians died.
Speaking about the project in a statement, Jolie said: “I was deeply affected by Loung’s book. It deepened forever my understanding of how children experience war and are affected by the emotional memory of it. And it helped me draw closer still to the people of Cambodia, my son’s homeland.
“It is a dream come true to be able to adapt this book for the screen [...] Films like this are hard to watch but important to see. They are also hard to get made. Netflix is making this possible, and I am looking forward to working with them and excited that the film will reach so many people.”
Images: Rex Features