- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Angelina Jolie Aspergers Syndrome, Depression and Brad Pitt
Angelina Jolie in Gia
Mr and Mrs Smith
Angelina Jolie discusses her mother
Angelina Jolie 16 years ago
Brad and Angelina interview
Angelina Jolie on her teenage years
Angelina Jolie as a child
Does Angelina Jolie have Aspergers Syndrome?
Angelina Jolie is now most publicized for being the other half of the ultimate Hollywood couple. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt first reputedly got together when Brad Pitt was still married to Jennifer Aniston. She of course will always be most famously known for her ultimate girl next door character i.e. Rachel in the Friends Sitcom that even now is still being repeated on some channel every time I turn on the TV.
However both Angelina Jolie herself and Brad Pitt have always denied the rumors that she caused the break up of Brad Pitt and Jenifer Aniston’s marriage. In fact Angelina also maintains that because her father cheated on her mother and that this infidelity split her parents up that this was just not something that she herself could do. When a reporter asked her about Brad Pitt’s marriage break up she said.
‘To be intimate with a married man, when my own father cheated on my mother, is not something I could forgive. I could not look at myself in the morning, if I did that.’
So to date it has never been made public what really ended Brad Pitt’s and Jennifer Aniston’s marriage although many do think that the sultry, undeniably beautiful Angelina Jolie could have had more than a bit to do with it. However it was also no secret at that time that Brad Pitt was also getting broody and wanted to start a family. Yet to this day Jennifer Aniston has not taken on a mom roll as she has never gone down that route to date anyway. But who knows maybe she still might.
Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Aspergers Syndrome:
Or did Brangelina just fall madly in love with each other because they had at last found in each other the soul mate that they had both been searching for? Angelina Jolie already had an adopted son when she and Brad first got together and since then they have had three more biological children and have adopted two more children also.
Yet either Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt have never been what you would consider conventional Hollywood types. Although they are both undoubtedly highly acclaimed, successful actors they never did seem to follow the usual glitzy, glamorous route that might have been expected of them. Both are also hugely into saving the planet and getting involved in global causes that they feel passionately about. This of course is a very common Aspergers characteristic i.e. feeling closely connected to the environment or wanting to prevent war, poverty or disease. Many great Aspergers people through the generations have devoted their lives to many such causes. Us Aspies feel really deeply about our causes when one happens to find us.
This is what Angelina Jolie is quoted as saying about her first visit to Cambodia:
‘One of the first camps I went to had 400,000 people. It was a sea of human misery. In Sierra Leone, I saw tens of thousands with their arms and legs cut off [by rebels], orphaned children. I felt completely overwhelmed. I cried constantly. I felt guilty for everything that I had. Then I realized I wasn't doing these people any favors by crying. I kept getting angry at the injustices until I couldn't think straight. I took a deep breath and focused on how I could help. I discovered that I was useful as a person. When I met suffering people, it put my life into perspective. It slammed me into a bigger picture of the world.’
So when I did a bit of research into Angelina Jolie there were many features of her past and present that quite smacked of Asperger’s Syndrome to me. Now many might say that this is unlikely but before making your mind up for sure try considering the following.
Angelina Jolie an Aspergers female or just a Trekkie worshiper?
From very early on Angelina Jolie Voight was not what you would describe as your typical Barbie worshiping little girl. In fact as a child she was completely in love with a TV character that she found endlessly fascinating. Hmmm strangely enough it was in fact Mr. Spock from Star Trek. Star Trek was also her favorite TV program and she was quite obsessed with it at one stage. Ding, ding anybody?
Angelina Jolie also had an affinity for some rather strange pets. There were no kittens or puppies in her house instead she was fascinated with snakes and lizards.
Angelina said of her childhood..
‘I was actually quite a cool kid. I was not tough. I was certainly independent and bold. I was never teased. I never had any trouble from anybody. ... I was never satisfied. I had trouble sleeping. I didn't really fit. I always feel that I'm searching for something deeper, something more... You want to meet other people that challenge you with ideas or with power or with passion. I wanted to live very fully. I wanted to live many lives and explore many things.’
Was Angelina Jolie actually a misfit Aspergers teenager?
In her early teens Angelina felt she was very far away from being the sex goddess that she is renowned as being today. At 13 Angelina was painfully thin, wore glasses and also had braces. This led to her being teased a lot at high school. Then when Angelina tried to get work as a model she received yet another blow to her fragile self esteem when she was told she was too short, too thin and too scarred.
On being a teenager
‘I grew up in front of everybody, really. The big years of exploration. There was a certain madness I was going through. I learned a lot about myself. People tend to sum up times in your life and simplify. I would say there's a way of being bold when you're young that seems very brave... What's perceived as tough is a very funny thing. I think to be a parent is one of the scariest, boldest things to do, as opposed to, um, getting a tattoo..’
At only 14 Angelina felt she couldn’t take the bullying and taunting at school anymore. Her self esteem had hit an all time low and she started to suffer from depression.. This is a very common problem for teenagers with Aspergers as no matter how hard they try to fit in other people just do not seem able to accept them or understand them.
Angelina has said about the dark place in her mind..
'There's certainly a side of me that isn't completely... sane. Or completely 'even' all the time. We all have our dark sides.'
'Angelina Jolie a teenage rebel without a cause?
If I make a fool of myself, who cares? I'm not frightened by anyone's perception of me.'
Many girls with Aspergers get through their childhood years by trying to stay quite and do their best to slip through the system unnoticed. They start to take on this role when they realize that there is something different about them. So they decide the best way of coping with a completely confusing irrational world is to just not draw any attention at all to themselves. As they now fear that this will just lead to more ridicule.
But then suddenly the female hormones kick in (as they sure did in my own case). For many young people with Aspergers Syndrome this is a trigger that makes them now want to release all the pent up anger insecurity and the internalized pain that has built up inside of them during the many years of their confused childhood.
Then it can go either way for the Aspergers female i.e. sometimes this causes them to retreat completely into themselves and follow the rules impeccably to try to survive in a chaotically confusing world. Or alternatively (and this is me to a T) they suddenly decide to abhor every rule that every existed. Instead now they will make their own rules and decide to totally rebel against the type of person they may have been before.
Angelina Jolie certainly seemed to go down this latter route. At just 14 she dyed her hair purple and started dressing head to toe in black and adopted a completely gothic persona.
Angelina Jolie, Aspergers and Self Harming
‘You're young, you're drunk, you're in bed, you have knives; shit happens.’
Most worrying of all though Angelina then also began to suffer from depression which led her to also self-harm herself. She started cutting her arms with blades. Then on at least one occasion she even asked her punk boyfriend that she was living with at the time to run a blade along her jaw-line which even today has left her with a faint scar.
Depression and self injurious behavior such as cutting, biting, scratching and self stimulating are all very common issues in people of the autistic spectrum but in girls it can often lead to many conditions that all have their basis in anxiety, stress, trauma and low self esteem. This means that many girls with Asperger’s are also susceptible to developing Anorexia which is a self injurious behavior in a very extreme form.
In fact today an increasing number of girls who would have been diagnosed with Anorexia in the past are now being diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. As it is now becoming more commonly recognized that often it is the low self-esteem and internalized issues that girls with Aspergers Syndrome suffer from because they feel different from an early age that leads to their eating disorder. This is their way of trying to fit in to the neurotypical world as they feel inadequate inside because they have no idea that they really have an autistic brain and that is why they feel so different inside.
Angelina told Allure Magazine in 2004 about her depression and self-injurious behaviour that, .
‘..I had that problem early on when I couldn't feel a bond with another human being....Mostly it was about trying to connect..’
Having a problem with connecting with other people is another very common issue that people with Autism or Aspergers have. Often some experiences and events almost seem like the description of a near death experience i.e. you are watching everything that is going on around you and you are present but yet it doesn’t feel like a real experience to you. You still feel that you can only observe but are not really meant to take part in the interaction. So you just go through the motions in a dream like fashion. Whether this is because us people with Aspergers Syndrome detach ourselves from situations that we are anxious about as we don’t know how to act or cope with it. Or whether it is a brain difference in people with Aspergers that is connected to the social and interaction difficulties commonly experienced I am not really sure at this point.
As Angelina Jolie’s teenage years progressed she began to blossom into the beautiful woman that she became and also managed to overcome her insecurities enough to learn to embrace and use her acting abilities. In her later teens Angelina continued to be a complete goth.
Also long before the Twilight Saga and the Cullen Clan made vampires fashionable again Angelina Jolie became very interested in the vampire culture. It has also often been suggested that Bram Stoker who wrote the original Dracula books was possibly on the autistic spectrum too. So just to veer off the point of this article slightly it is interesting to note that many people with Aspergers do tend to go through a phase of particular interest in all things of the blood sucking pointed fang variety of individual.
When Angelina was 16 she split up with her punk rocker boyfriend and decided to concentrate on becoming an actress. As Angelina’s parents had split up when she was two she had been estranged from her father Jon Voight for 14 years at that point. Now she got back in contact with him and he helped her in her acting career as he was already an accomplished actor.
Angelina felt it was time to spread her wings and put her pastpain behind her and try and build a new career for herself.
‘If you don't get out of the box you've been raised in, you won't understand how much bigger the world is.’
As a struggling actress Angelina also managed to find work as a model now that her glasses, braces and purple hair were gone. Once Angelina Jolie managed to secure her first real film role in 1993 in a film called Cyborg it began to become noticeable that Angelina Jolie had a special acting quality not to mention an alluring screen presence.
Tony Attwood on Girls with Aspergers Syndorme
Doctor Tony Attwood has extensively researched and worked with girls and women on the Autistic Spectrum and he has been quoted many times as saying that girls with Aspergers Syndrome can be fantastic observers of human nature and that their ability to almost take on the persona of a person they admire is uncannily accurate. http://www.tonyattwood.com.au/index.php?Itemid=181&catid=45:archived-resource-papers&id=80:the-pattern-of-abilities-and-development-of-girls-with-aspergers-syndrome&option=com_content&view=article
He also mentions in the above article that one Aspergers female who describes this ability in Aspergers women extremely well is Liane Holliday-Willeys in her autobiography, titled, “Pretending to be Normal.’
‘I could take part in the world as an observer. I was an avid observer. I was enthralled with the nuances of people’s actions. In fact, I often found it desirable to become the other person. Not that I consciously set out to do that, rather it came as something I simply did. As if I had no choice in the matter. My mother tells me I was very good at capturing the essence and persona of people. At times I literally copied someone’s looks and their actions. I was uncanny in my ability to copy accents, vocal inflections, facial expressions, hand movements, gaits and tiny gestures. It was as if I became the person I was emulating ….,’ Page 22 of book, ‘Pretending to be Normal,’ by Liane Holliday Willey.
Another actress who I have written articles about in this area is Marilyn Monroe. While Marilyn Monroe’s and Angelina Jolie’s acting roles might appear to be light years apart still if you delve underneath the Marilyn Monroe persona that she emulated for the camera then you can see that Marilyn was never a real person at all. Instead she was just in fact a caricature of what Norma Jean Baker had decided a femme fatale would really act like.
Angelina Jolie’s Hollywood career
Angelina Jolie’s first big film break came when she starred in ‘Hackers,’ with Jonny Lee Miller. They then had a whirlwind romance and before long had announced their engagement. When they married it was a far from normal affair. Angelina wore a white shirt and black leather pants to the wedding. Then to accessorize her outfit she had scrawled Jonny Lee Miller’s name on the back of her shirt in blood, as you do.
Angelina Jolie said of making Hackers:
‘I seem to be getting a lot of things pushed my way that are strong women. It's like people see Hackers (1995) and they send me offers to play tough women with guns, the kind who wear no bra and a little tank top. I'd like to play strong women who are also very feminine.’
Many speculated that what Angelina was really looking for at that stage was a father figure. Others said at that time that Angelina Jolie was completely smitten and thought that her marriage would last forever. This is in fact another common Aspergers trait i.e. a naïve belief that every partner you meet is instantly the one and that you will now ride off into the sunset together and live happily ever after. However it was not to be so
The tabloids at the time it seemed were in half in awe and half shocked at Angelina’s frank honesty about her relationship with Jonny Lee Miller. She didn’t hesitate to talk in graphic detail about their sex life and their arguments. This of course is another Asperger’s characteristics that I myself have been pulled up on many times i.e. ‘you are so honest in your writing about yourself.’ Which of course I have now translated to mean: ‘Jesus how can you be so brutally honest about your life to all and sundry? Have you no subtly or shame at all?’ Whereas I just see it as a natural way to be i.e. what is just is and why should I pretend that it is actually something else?
Angelina Jolie’s role in ‘Gia,’ was a real acting breakthrough for her. Perhaps this was because she could emulate totally with the troubled character that she played in this movie Gia. Gia Carangi was a very troubled 1970’s lesbian supermodel. Unfortunately she became a drug addict which eventually led to her dying of AIDS. Angelina won a Golden Globe award for her role in this film. However Johnny Lee Miller was finding Angelina Jolie to be more than he could handle at that stage and described his wife as being emotionally draining. Miller also said that at this time that he was just finding it harder and harder to condone her outlandish, uncontrollable behaviour. Soon after this their marriage ended.
Now Angelina told the excited paparazzi that she was in fact bisexual and confessed to having a relationship with another female actress. This is another interesting dimension of Angelina’s personality as it has been suggested that people with Aspergers Syndrome are more likely than Neurotypical people to fall in love with a member of either sex. This is sometimes suggested to be the case because a person on the autistic spectrum tends to fall in love with a person because of who they are and because they admire them, because of shared interests or because this person can offer them something that they themselves lack e.g. sociability or a different perspective on life. Therefore they fall in love with a person completely and whether they are male or female isn’t always necessarily the most important issue.
Angelina Jolie and Husband No 2 Billy Bob Thornton
‘I've told Billy if I ever caught him cheating, I wouldn't kill him because I love his children and they need a dad. But I would beat him up. I know where all of his sports injuries are. And I'd beat her, too!’
Angelina’s next film role led to her meeting husband number two who once again seemed to be a surrogate father figure. Billy Bob Thornton was 15 years older than Angelina. His marriage to Angelina Jolie was actually his fifth. Once again during this marriage blood played a part. Both of them wore a vial of the other's blood around their necks during their days of wedded bliss.
Next Angelina starred in ‘Girl Interrupted,’ which was another role that she took to her heart and this time she played a girl who was placed in a Mental Asylum when she was diagnosed as suffering from depression.
Then next film role that Angelina took on is the one that has immortalized her forever as the ultimate femme fatal for a new generation i.e. Tomb Raider. Her father Jon Voight also starred in this film.
Angelina Jolie and her Humanitarian Work
Now that Angelina Jolie was a Hollywood household name she decided to concentrate on her next great ambition i.e. her humanitarian work which has remained a strong concern of Angelina’s throughout her life to date. Angelina said this about her humanitarian work in 2005.
‘My role as goodwill ambassador has made my work as a film star relatively dull. I can't find anything that interests me enough to go back to work. I'm simply not excited about anything. I'm not excited about going to a film set.’
Angelina became a US goodwill ambassador and visited many ravaged and war torn countries such as Pakistan, Tanzania and Sierra Leone. This again is a strong Aspergers characteristic i.e. they usually have very strong convictions about certain causes that become very important to them. For many famous Aspergers people throughout history this may have been religion, politics, the freedom of a country, the immersion in the customs of a particular tribe of people, the preservation of mankind etc.,
‘You might never find out that you are useful for all the right reasons - and not all those stupid things that people tell you you're useful for.’
In 2001 Angelina adopted a Cambodian child i.e. Maddox. Then in 2002 she split from her second husband and claimed he was more interested in his career than her or Maddox. He however claimed once again that Angelina was emotionally fraught and had too much baggage. Soon after Angelina made Tomb Radier 2 for which she netted $12million.
Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and the beginning of Brangelina
In 2004 Angelina met her current husband Brad Pitt on the movie set of the film they made together i.e. Mr and Mrs Smith. Insiders have said that there was instant connection between them and that they were both delighted to meet someone with similar feelings about humanitarian and family issues.
At the time Brad Pitt was still married to Jennifer Aniston and all rumours of a relationship between the co-stars were denied. However in 2005 when Angelina adopted her second child it was revealed that Brad Pitt was now to become the legal adoptive father of both Angelina’s children much to her delight.
Angelina has said about her other half Brad Pitt
‘(He made me) a better person. I've learned so much from him, as you do when you come together with another person. You both make each other better. You both learn about the best of each other, and recognize the things where you're failing, or where you need to step up. When it's a great partnership, you really are patient with each other.’
In 2005 she gave birth to her and Brad’s child Shiloh Nouvel. Then in 2007 they adopted another child and even then they decided to keep going and in 2008 Angelina and Brad became parents again when she gave birth to twins Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline.
Then on April 14 2012 after seven years together Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie finally announced their engagement but stated that they would not marry until same sex marriages were legalized in every state in the US.
So to date in looks like Angelina Jolie has found her soul mate in Brad Pitt and that is what usually leads to a happy Aspergers relationship i.e. throw the conventional way of living out the window and embrace your partners differences rather than trying to get them to conform to the usual stereotypical view of life. They won’t and they will just rebel, shock and then wonder, what is your problem with them? Why can’t you just let them be who they are and love them anyway? Isn’t that what love is all about an Aspergers woman is likely to ask i.e. Just love me as I am and I will be your faithful partner for lie.
Angelina Jolie and Aspergers Syndrome Quote
This quote to me as an Aspergers woman just smacks of how most Aspergers women feel at some point.
‘It was nice for me to play with other girls; I don't really have girlfriends in movies, if you've noticed. Well, I have a few girlfriends, I just... I stay at home a lot. I'm just not very social. I don't do a lot with them, and I'm very homebound. I'll talk to my family, I talk to Brad... But I don't know, I don't have a lot of friends I talk to. He is really the only person I talk to..
Also nothing makes an Aspergers person happy like finding their special talent in life and being able to make a career out of it. When Angelina was once asked about whether she felt she needed therapy or not this was her reply:
'Therapy? I don't need that. The roles that I choose are my therapy.'