Copyright 2001

[ June 9th 2001 ]

Lara Croft, Tomb Raider's babe-in-boyland is poised to become this summer's number one action hero in hot pants. But the push-up bra, powerful legs, and pouty lips belie something quite unexpected.

Unlike her bullet-proof onscreen persona, we found 26-year-old Angelina Jolie to be both incredibly vulnerable and decidedly real. "I'm a very open person," says Jolie. "I love sex, [Iím] a very sexual person. I... love my husband and we have great sex and Iím very hungry for life." It's that hunger that is captivating movie audiences. Her gripping portrayals of a drug-addicted model in Gia, a hard-nosed cop in The Bone Collector, and a tortured, psychotic teen in Girl Interrupted have won her respect and recognition. Her honors include three Golden Globe Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award and just last year, a best supporting actress Oscar for her performance in Girl Interrupted.

But despite all these accomplishments, for many itís the image of her kissing her brother at the Academy Awards for which sheís often remembered and taunted.

Ann Curry: "Doesnít it bother you when you hear the lingering questions, the lingering gossip about you and your brother after last yearís Oscars?"

Angelina Jolie: "Yes. Because itís affected my relationship with my brother and I donít think thereís a person out there that actually believes I slept with my brother. Thereís not one person that really thinks thatís true. "So it makes me confused and angry with the press because they think itís much more important to write shocking stupid stories and ignore something beautiful that actually happened.They could have put focus on the fact that kids that are from divorced families sometimes are extremely close. You know their interpretation of it is from their own sick thoughts."

Perhaps itís Jolieís frank remarks about her past that have fueled this kind of talk. She has openly admitted to bisexuality, a fascination for S & M and even a curious fondness for knives. Jolie offered this insight into what she calls her darker side:

Angelina Jolie: "I always felt a little strange and different and I wasnít laughing very much in my life about anything and kind of always would see people with kids or married or in love and thought, Ďthat's great, but thatís not my life. "And I wish I could have that, but Iím never going to have that because Iím all over the place and Iím never going to be calm or stable or normal or safe. The truth is I love being alive. And I love feeling free. So if I canít have those things then I feel like a caged animal and Iíd rather not be in a cage. Iíd rather be dead. And itís real simple. And I think itís not that uncommon."

Jolie has never been about playing it safe something that others have often misunderstood.

Ann Curry: "You have said that, for example, youíre very open about your sexuality. Youíve talked about it."

Angelina Jolie: "Mmmhmm."

Ann Curry: "People have confused that. People have thought that you were promiscuous."

Angelina Jolie: "Well, but Iíve been also extremely honest that Iíve only slept with four people in my life. Thatís like everybody knows that. So how they think thatís promiscuous. Iíve been married twice, you know, but half the people Iíve slept with in my life I was married to."

Born, June 4, 1975, to actors Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand, her parents divorced when she was just one. She grew up apart from her father, living with her mom and brother, James, in New York. At five, Jolie made her screen debut playing opposite her dad. She married British actor Johnny Lee Miller in 1996, but they were separated a year later and then divorced. Then, in 1999, she portrayed the wife of an air traffic controller played by actor Billy Bob Thornton, in the film Pushing Tin. According to Jolie, the attraction was immediate and intense. And though Thornton is 20 years older, the couple eloped to Las Vegas last year. And, she says, he rescued her.

Ann Curry: "You have once said that having Billy Bob in your life has made you for the first time in your life feel safe and happy. And while that speaks of enormous joy it also speaks of enormous sadness pain. For the first time."

Angelina Jolie: "Yes."

Ann Curry: "For the first time safe and happy ?"

Angelina Jolie: "Yes. For the first time Iíve been happy."

Ann Curry: "Why werenít you safe and happy before ?"

Angelina Jolie: "I donít know. Because if I didnít have my work, if I hadnít met Billy, I absolutely would not be here today."

Ann Curry: "In what way? You mean not alive? Or not in this job, in this work?"

Angelina Jolie: "The truth is I love being alive. And I love feeling free. So if I canít have those things then I feel like a caged animal and Iíd rather not be in a cage. Iíd rather be dead. And itís real simple. And I think itís not that uncommon."

Ann Curry: "When you talk about your husband, you have a few small tears in your eyes."

Angelina Jolie: "Iím very grateful."

Ann Curry: "To have found him ?"

Angelina Jolie: "Yes." From the moment the two were linked, they have been a favorite target of the tabloids and entertainment press. In part, because they are so candid about many of the personal details of their relationship.

Ann Curry: "Youíve described some things that you and Billy have done to show each other how much you love each other. You wear a vial containing his blood four drops of his blood."

Angelina Jolie: "Yes, I donít know if itís four. I did it twice. I have a vial in my room."

Ann Curry: "Let me see. What this is, is basically..."

Angelina Jolie: "We have a thing about people touching it, actually."

Ann Curry: "O.K., I wonít touch it. I wonít touch it. And why do you wear this ?"

Angelina Jolie: "Because itís my husbandís blood."

Ann Curry: "Which says to you what ? Which means what to you ?"

Angelina Jolie: "Which is beautiful to me, you know ? Some people like diamonds around their necks or things like that. I think thatís beautiful. And it makes me itís his life."

Ann Curry: "You also have tattoos saying Billy Bob on you. How many ?"

Angelina Jolie: "I have his name twice. Because one is in a very private place."

Ann Curry: "But why is one of your things tattooing ?"

Angelina Jolie: "I donít buy jewelry."

Ann Curry: "So what Iím hearing, woman-to-woman, O.K. Iím thinking, a tattoo on my private parts, thatís going to hurt ?"

Angelina Jolie: "No, it feels strangely kind of good."

Ann Curry: "Does it feel what? It felt good ?"

Angelina Jolie: "Good."

Ann Curry: "It did ? Very strange. Are you kidding ?"

Angelina Jolie: "Can I say this on this show ?"

Ann Curry: "I donít know, itís up to you."

Angelina Jolie: "No, itís, you know, you get a tattoo, itís vibrating!"

Ann Curry: "O.K."

While, itís exactly this kind of buzz that often makes Jolie the brunt of Hollywood gossip, she says she canít imagine being anything less than completely honest about her life.

Angelina Jolie: "Iím not trying to shock people. Iím not trying to say things that will offend people. I think us saying how much we love each other is our way of saying weíll also share maybe not the ugly things or the crazy dark things. But weíll also tell you, yes weíve learned that itís a great thing to have a friend in this world, and a best friend. And to love each other like crazy."

But whether you buy into her notion of happiness or not, thereís no denying her dedication to her craft. For Tomb Raider, Jolie insisted upon doing many of her own stunts, even the dangerous ones.

Angelina Jolie: "I used to go back home, so tired and so emotional. I would cry in the bathtub so many nights in rehearsal for this film and think, Iím so clumsy and stupid and theyíve cast the wrong person."

Watching Jolie play Lara Croft, the computer-game epitome of brains, beauty and brawn, itís hard to imagine that she was anything less than perfect for the role. During the filming, Jolie also rediscovered a closeness with her father, actor Jon Voight. In a case of art-imitating-life, Voight plays a father who reconnects with his daughter after years apart.

Ann Curry: "In a movie with your father for the first time since you were five, where you say Ďthe time was stolen from us and itís not fair. I miss you. I miss you too.í I mean this has got to have been so meaningful for you."

Angelina Jolie: "It was. Jon and I could not stop crying. Weíd have to stop takes. Weíd walk to other sides. We didnít talk in between takes. We met in that tent and weíd walk away and meet in the tent until the scene was completely over. Then we kind of hugged each other."

Today, Angelina Jolie seems to be emerging from what she calls the ďdarknessĒ in her life. Earlier this year, she traveled to Africa to work with U.N relief agencies, dispensing food and clothing to refugees. And she seems to have embraced a new, more hopeful direction.

Angelina Jolie: "Love one person, take care of them until you die. You know raise kids. Have a good life. Be a good friend. And try to be completely who you are. And figure out what you personally love. And like go after it with everything youíve got no matter how much it takes."

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