Now that Angelina Jolie is headlining a major Disney children's flick as black-horned villain "Maleficent," the 38-year-old actress is reflecting back on her wilder, younger years.
Who could forget her major make-out sessions with ex-husband Billy Bob Thornton at the ripe age of 25 or how she famously wore a flower press necklace of the "Armageddon" star's blood during their marriage?
It's safe to say that the mother of six, who confessed in the June issue of Elle magazine that she "didn't think I'd have children" or "be in love" before she settled down with her now-fiancé Brad Pitt in 2005, has put her unruly past behind her. But she feels the wild ways of her youth were completely misunderstood.
The tumult of her 20s was "misinterpreted as [me] wanting to be rebellious," Jolie explains. "And in fact it wasn't a need to be destructive or rebellious — it's that need to find a full voice, to push open the walls around you. You want to be free. And as you start to feel that you are being corralled into a certain life, you kind of push against it. It may come out very strange, it may be interpreted wrong, but you're trying to find out who you are."
According to the Academy Award-winning actress, she lived with a deep fear of leading a "life half-lived."
"I realized that very young — that a life where you don't live to your full potential, or you don't experiment, or you're afraid, or you hesitate, or there are things you know you should do but you just don't get around to them, is a life that I'd be miserable living, and the only way to feel that I'm on the right path is just to be true to myself, whatever that may be, and that tends to come with stepping out of something that's maybe safe or traditional."
These days, nobody can accuse the stunning star of leading a half-lived life. Jolie was named as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador in 2001 and has since been appointed to an expanded role of Special Envoy of UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. Juggling her UN commitments with her role as a full-time parent, who regularly takes her brood along with her on movie shoots — and even had her daughter Vivienne cast in the role of young Aurora in "Maleficent" — and a career that has lead her from acting to directing, she doesn't seem to have time to question her identity.
Perhaps her newfound security comes from finding a partner in Pitt, whom she calls an inspiration in the interview. "You get together and you're two individuals and you feel inspired by each other, you challenge each other, you complement each other, drive each other beautifully crazy. After all these years, we have history — and when you have history with somebody, you're friends in such a very real, deep way that there's such a comfort, and an ease, and a deep love that comes from having been through quite a lot together."
In fact, she looks more comfortable than ever. In her Elle photo spread, Jolie, who was styled in a series of St. Laurent suits and a dress, looked at ease as she smiled and laughed for the camera.
Her life with the "World War Z" star for the past eight years, which lead to their engagement in April 2012, has turned into a happily ever after ending that she never expected. "I never thought I'd have children, I never thought I'd be in love, I never thought I'd meet the right person," Jolie says. "Having come from a broken home — you kind of accept that certain things feel like a fairy tale, and you just don't look for them."
Jolie may be playing a vindictive fairytale character in the upcoming Walt Disney picture, which hits theaters on May 30, but it seems her thorny past as a rowdy, misunderstood Hollywood darling is one thing that won't be sticking with her in her fairytale future.