By @philipboucherAngelina Jolie talks raising six children, her mom's death and giving birth in Africa https://t.co/eqOud7EaFt pic.twitter.com/JtaivE45yL— People Magazine (@people) June 17, 2016
06/17/2016 AT 11:00 AM EDT
All parents have nicknames for their kids that they use (and sometimes holler) around the family home – and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Pitt are no different. Step forward Shi, Mad and Z!
Jolie Pitt opened up about her children while appearing on BBC Radio 4's Women's Hour Friday morning, saying she loves watching her six kids grow and develop their own unique personalities and interests.
"All the kids are learning different languages," Jolie Pitt, 41, said. "I asked them what languages they wanted to learn and Shi is learning Khmai, which is a Cambodian language, Pax is focusing on Vietnamese, Mad has taken to German and Russian, Z is speaking French, Vivienne really wanted to learn Arabic, and Knox is learning sign language."
"I suppose that just means you don't know who your children are until they show you who they are and they are just becoming whoever they want to be," she added.
For the record: "Shi" is Jolie Pitt's name for daughter Shiloh, 10, "Mad" is son Maddox, 14, and "Z" is daughter Zahara, 11. The actress is also mother to Pax, 12, and twins Vivienne and Knox, 7, with Pitt, 52.
While her children are busily developing into young people, there's one thing the Oscar-winning star is certain about: They're unlikely to follow in their parents' Hollywood footsteps.
"None of my kids want to be actors," revealed Jolie Pitt. "They are actually very interested in being musicians. I think they like the process of film from the outside. Mad is interested in editing. Pax loves music and deejaying".
Jolie Pitt appeared on the Women's Hour to talk about her experiences as a Special Envoy for the United Nations. In a wide-ranging interview, she opened up about celebrating World Refugee Day at home and how the experience of seeing women trapped in refugee camps with minimal healthcare has made her reassess on her own health decisions.
Most notably, this has prompted her to reflect on her choice to have a preventive double mastectomy in 2013 and to later have her ovaries removed in 2015 – two options that are foreign to most people stranded in a refugee camp and which were denied to her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, through a lack of information. Bertrand died in January 2007 following an eight-year battle with ovarian cancer.
"When you go through something and you learn about yourself and your body in anything medical, you feel – it really wasn't a decision," said a clearly emotional Jolie Pitt. "It was just, I thought that I had gained information that I wish my mother would have known. I wish she had the option. I wish she had the surgery, in fact, and it might have given her more years with my family."
Since her operations, Jolie Pitt has spoken openly about the thought processes behind the decisions and encouraged women to consider the procedures as an option – although she's keen to stress that it is "just an option."
Jolie Pitt says she's thankful for a wider conversation on the issue following her decision to speak out about her surgeries.
"It means a great deal to me," she adds. "If there is even one woman out there who went and got checked and found that she had cancer or she was positive and she caught something in time, and if in any small way I was a part of that, it makes me very emotional."
But along with raising the awareness of the issue and informing thousands of women around the world, Jolie Pitt remains keenly aware that she's one of the very lucky ones. Having toured countless refugee camps across the Middle East and Africa, she knows better than anyone that it could have all been so very different.
"I probably wouldn't have made it this far if I were a refugee," she said poignantly.
Speaking earlier about her decision to give birth to her daughter Shiloh in Africa, Jolie Pitt explained how she herself came face-to-face with the healthcare problems faced by millions of other women, and how easily they can be corrected.
"I went to a hospital in Namibia, where I was having my daughter, and I was in breech. I needed a C-section, and I knew I was in breach because I had had the money to have an ultrasound," said Jolie Pitt. "But I found even the local hospital with many, many women – and this was a good hospital – did not have an ultrasound machine."
"So the amount of women that didn't know they were in breach, the amount of babies and complications when they got into labor, with one simple machine," she said. "But I know there are many extraordinary people who are working on this and women's health around the world, and many groups dedicated solely to that, and their work is so needed and these solutions can come."
Angelina Jolie appeared as a guest editor on BBC Radio 4’s topical program Woman’s Hour on Friday, speaking out on health conditions for female refugees in displacement camps, her children and her next directorial project.Angelina Jolie: 'None of my kids want to be actors, thank god'https://t.co/sI6jFovQqM pic.twitter.com/IoGGtzKjvE— Newsweek Europe (@NewsweekEurope) June 17, 2016
The Oscar-winning actor was one of five influential women to take the reins of the long-running radio program this week—Great British Bake Off judge Mary Berry was guest editor on Monday—to speak about subjects close to their hearts.
Ahead of World Refugee Day on June 20, Jolie, a United Nations goodwill ambassador, shed light on the hardships of the 60 million refugees displaced around the globe. She said pregnant refugees with little access to medical care are at risk. “It’s so hard to speak of, it’s the worst possible situation,” Jolie said. “You hope you would have a midwife but many poor people have complications—ones that could be easily solved. I was in Namibia having my daughter [Shiloh], I was in breach and I knew I was in breach because I could have an ultrasound, but many women can’t have one.”
Jolie and husband Brad Pitt are also parents to three adopted children—Maddox from Cambodia, Zahara from Ethiopia and Pax from Vietnam. The actor told how she engages her children in her UN efforts around the refugee crisis.”We think of the people who are going through difficult situations but also talk about their resilience and strength, we admire them, they’re heroes in my house,” said the Maleficent star. “My kids have met children who are refugees and have friends who are refugees. I never want them to meet these people and look at them with pity or feel like it’s a responsibility.”
Jolie worked on the film with her eldest son, Maddox, whom she adopted from Cambodia.
“It’s been a really special experience,” she said. “Any mother with a teenager knows it’s nice to find something to come together on. [Ung] is a friend of mine…we sat up one night [in Cambodia] and I said: ‘I’m thinking of adopting from this country, would you be offended or supportive?’ She was very supportive and months later she met Mad and has been in his life ever since.”
Jolie added: “Years later, Maddox read the book and he came up to me and said he thought it was time to do the film. He wanted to learn [the] history of his country. He was with me every step of the way, on set, and part of every step of the process.”
But while the youngster may have shown an interest in Jolie’s latest directorial project—he, nor his siblings, have any interest in following in their parents’ acting footsteps.
“None of my kids want to be actors, thank God,” said Jolie. “They’re interested in being musicians. And they [are] all learning different languages. [Zahara] is speaking French, [Vivienne] is learning Arabic and Knox is learning sign language. They’re becoming whoever they want to be.”
Angelina Jolie opened up about kids, cancer and the refugee crisis on @BBCWomansHour today https://t.co/uu71EKw0qG pic.twitter.com/2Z5ujLKtIA— Stylist Magazine (@StylistMagazine) June 17, 2016
'It's been my dream': Angelina Jolie reveals her multicultural children are learning SEVEN languages between them
Speaking on Radio 4's Woman’s Hour she said none of them are interested in becoming actors but have all taken up languages.
She said: ‘I asked them what languages they wanted to learn. Shi’s learning Khmer, which is the Cambodian language, Pax is focusing on Vietnamese, Mad has taken to German and Russian, Zi is speaking French, Vivienne really wanted to learn Arabic and Knox is learning sign language.’
She added: ‘I suppose you don’t know who your children are until they show you who they are and they’re just becoming whoever they’re going to be. They’re interested about other cultures. It’s been in my dream.’
The Oscar winner said none of her children want to follow in her footsteps to Hollywood but said they do find the process of filmmaking interesting.
She has recently worked with her son Maddox on a film for Netflix called First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia, set for release later this year, about the bloody history of the country where he was born. She spoke about the project being a bonding experience.
‘Any mother with a teenager knows it’s nice to find something to come together on in the teenage years. He’s wonderful,’ she said.
The mother of six said Maddox has taken a shine to film editing while Pax enjoys DJing.
Miss Jolie was the final guest-editor of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour Takeover week.
She spoke passionately about her work as a UN Special Envoy and said she had taught her children not to pity those who were forced to flee their country but to respect them.
‘We think of the people who are going through these difficult situations but we also talk about their resilience and their strength and we admire them. They’re heroes in my house and my kids are friends with children who are refugees and children from their own countries,’ she said.