It is no secret that daughter and father relationships can be complicated. However, throw in fame, divorce, hectic schedules, and a life under the constant scrutiny of the public eye and it can result in two people growing further and further apart. This is exactly what happened to Hollywood star Angelina Jolie and her equally famous actor dad, Jon Voight.
For years, the father-daughter duo have been open about their estranged relationship which stems back to Voight’s unfaithfulness and breakup to Jolie’s mother when his daughter was just a baby. Since then, Voight and Jolie have had their ups and downs, including a long period of time when they didn’t talk to each other at all.
Luckily, today, since becoming a mother-of-six and going through a trying divorce with her ex Brad Pitt, it seems as if the Jolie and her dad are finally working toward mending their broken past.
Movie star, filmmaker, humanitarian, mother – these are just some of the words that can be used to describe Academy Award-winning actress Angelina Jolie. Since the ’90s, Jolie has been gracing us with her presence on-screen in memorable roles in films such as Gia, Girl, Interrupted, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and Maleficent – just to name a few.
However, with her immensely successful career in Hollywood, has also come some difficult times. With a mother who passed away from illness much too young and three failed marriages – the newly single mother-of-six has had anything but an easy life. Luckily, one thing that has been looking up for the actress is her relationship with her famous father, Jon Voight – which had been strained for many years until their recent reconciliation.
Growing up with a dad like Jon Voight surely must have been interesting. The 80-year-old award-winning actor has appeared in some iconic Hollywood films over his career which spans over five decades. From his legendary performance in 1969’s Midnight Cowboy to his Oscar-winning appearance in 1978’s Coming Home – to his current role on the hit Showtime crime-drama series, Ray Donovan – Voight has definitely made a solid name for himself as an A-list actor over the years.
However, one role that he hasn’t always been the most successful at, has been as a father to his equally famous daughter – with whom he has had a rocky relationship with to say the least.
Over the years, Jolie and Voight have been honest about their complex relationship. Jolie has been publicly speaking about her hostility with her father for a while while he has been making numerous public pleas begging to repair their father-daughter bond. The real question is, when did their troubles begin?
Technically, her and her dad’s turbulent history dates back to 1978 when the future actress was just two years old and her mom, Marcheline Bertrand, and her dad got a divorce after Voight had an affair with a young drama student named Stacey Pickren. At the time, Voight allegedly ‘abandoned’ the family, leaving Jolie’s mom alone to take care of her and her older brother, James Haven.
Closer to mom
At the time of their divorce, Bertrand was forced to give up her career as an actress at the age of 28 in order to take care of her two children. “She gave up her dreams,” Jolie once said of her late mother. “My love of children, my values, caring about what goes on in the world, all of that comes from her,” she explained.
Jolie remained extremely close with her mother until her death in 2007, when she passed away from cancer at the age of 56. Still to this day, the Maleficent star credits her mom for raising her to be the woman and mom she is today. “I try to raise my children the way that my mother raised me,” she stated in an interview. “I didn’t really have a father around.”
With Voight at the peak of his career, running off to set to set with his incredibly busy filming schedule – Jolie didn’t really get to see much of her father growing up. However, he still managed to help spark a passion for drama in the young future actress’ life, and Jolie starred in her first movie, Looking’ to Get Out, at seven years old alongside her mother in a bit part and her father – who was the lead.
He also took his daughter, who was ten years old at the time, along with her brother James, to her very first Academy Awards in 1986 when he received a nomination for his performance in Runaway Train.
Although the father-daughter duo seemed happy enough during their public outings together, the reality was a bit different. Jolie, who had witnessed the heartache her dad caused her mom, still had some anger towards Voight. Jolie’s brother, James Haven, even spoke out about how volatile their mother and father’s relationship and divorce was.
“He put my mom through years of mental abuse,” her brother, who she is very close with, reported. A family friend spoke about how it had affected Jolie, “Angelina had a difficult time growing up with what was going on,” they claimed. “She has a lot of hostility toward her dad.”
Even though Voight has confessed to having an affair and there being “hurt and anger” between his family, he opened up to Express in 2008 denying claims of abuse of any kind.
“In all truth I tried to give them and their mother continuous love and support. It comes from their inability to let go years of programmed anger from their mother, who understandably felt quite hurt when we divorced.” He added, “God knows for years I’ve tried to mend this relationship.”
By the time Jolie turned 11 years old, her mother decided to move with the kids back to Los Angeles from New York, this way they could see more of their father.
In time, the divorced parents were able to put their differences aside and started a friendship. Jolie once said in an interview, “They are really good friends. They’re probably each other’s closest friends. It’s going to be weird for them to read that probably, but it’s true.”
On her own
As an aspiring new actress, Jolie ended up moving out of her mom’s home and into her own place when she was 16 years old. And by 1995, when she was 20, her career began to take off thanks to her big break in the drama-mystery Hackers. By the year 2000, she had already had several memorable performances and won three Golden Globes and one Oscar.
Although she was reportedly quite distant from her dad at this point, it didn’t stop him from regularly praising his daughter’s success during interviews, even calling her “a great talent.”
In his footsteps
In 1999, during an interview with Rolling Stone, the new It girl of Hollywood was asked what she thought about walking in her father’s footsteps. Her response had people speculating that there was still tension between the actress and her dad.
“I think it’s probably healthy not to put too much thought into that,” she had said. The Girl, Interrupted star opened up about her and her father’s unique relationship. “I think we speak to each other a lot though our work,” she explained.
Keeping a distance
Jolie described how she and her estranged dad get to learn about the other. “So he can kind of watch a film and see how I am as a woman, the way I am dealing with a husband who’s been injured or the way I am crying alone. And it’s the same for me: I can watch films of his and just see who he is.”
She added, “But not growing up in the same house and feeling that he really did belong to the world, as I’ve gotten older I learned to communicate with him as a person.”
In 2000, things seemed to be getting better between Jolie and Voight. During her acceptance speech following her Oscar win for Best Supporting Actress in Girl, Interrupted, she publicly thanked her dad saying, “Dad, you’re a great actor but you’re a better father.”
Later that summer Jolie told CBS News just how much her father appreciated the Academy Award show shout-out. “He told me that was one of the biggest compliments somebody could give him,” she said.
Then, in the glow of Jolie’s big Oscar win, the father-daughter pair starred together in the 2001 movie Lara Craft: Tomb Raider. It was the first time the two worked together since Jolie’s childhood debut in Lookin’ To Get Out. However, this time, Jolie was the lead and her father – who played her character Lara Craft’s dad on-screen – was in a supporting role.
According to family friend, Cris Rundle, Jolie was the one who cast Voight in the role stating that it was to help “resurrect” his career which at the time had taken a slight decline.
However, after the father and daughter co-stars attended the L.A. Tomb Raider premiere in June 2001 with all smiles, along with Jolie’s actor husband at the time Billy Bob Thornton, something must have gone terribly wrong.
Because by August 2002, during an interview Voight had with Access Hollywood, he said some upsetting things about his daughter, proving that once again their relationship had hit the fan. He stated that Jolie had “mental problems” and even mentioned how he believed she needed “help.”
Later that day, in an interview with E! News Live, Voight got choked up about the deterioration of his relationship with his daughter – who had just recently announced her and Thornton’s split. He revealed that he hadn’t spoken to Jolie in months and that he tried contacting her repeatedly but could never get through.
He then spoke about the last time he had seen his daughter, a month prior, at the 90th anniversary celebration for Paramount where he had a peculiar run-in with her.
At the event celebrating Paramount’s 90th birthday, Voight claimed that Jolie had given him the cold shoulder. “I ran to give her a hug, and one of her representatives stepped in my way and said, ‘Get back,'” he explained. “She’s been staying away from me because she knows I’ve been trying to reach her to get help.”
Although he never specified what kind of help he was looking into for his daughter, he did say that he believed Jolie was suffering from “serious emotional problems” that he had “witnessed very closely.”
During the interview, Voight got emotional as he spoke about how much his family means to him and how he has supported them over the years. “I’ve always been there for my kids, always been there for the family,” he stated.
The actor also revealed that he had yet to meet Maddox, his grandson and Jolie’s first child whom she adopted from Cambodia in March 2002. “It’s a great pain I haven’t been able to see the baby,” he said.
At the time, Voight made a public plea to his daughter, telling reporters just how much he wanted to mend his and his daughter’s broken relationship. “The reason for my plea is not for myself,” he stated.
“I want nothing more than to hold my baby in my arms. I want to tell Angie that I love her and I want her to get the help she needs…And I want her to find true love,” Voight confessed.
The Tomb Raider star eventually gave her own statement to Access Hollywood in regards to the ongoing feud between her and Voight. “I don’t want to make public the reasons for my bad relationship with my father,” she began.
“I will only say that like every child, James and I would have loved to have had a warm and loving relationship with our dad. After all these years, I have determined that it is not healthy for me to be around my father, especially now that I am responsible for my own child.”
By September 2002, Jolie legally dropped her father’s last name of “Voight” from her name. After that, the father-daughter pair and former co-stars didn’t talk for years. “My father and I don’t speak,” Jolie said in a 2004 interview. However, she also said that she didn’t “hold any anger toward him.”
She continued, “I thought we were breaking ground, and I realized we simply weren’t. We were back to where we always were, not a place where I felt healthy or good when I was around him.”
Sending his love
Following Jolie and Pitt’s highly-publicized new romance, it seemed as if she still was avoiding her father. After the couple’s twins Knox and Vivienne Jolie-Pitt were born in July 2008, Voight revealed that he still had yet to speak to his daughter and still hadn’t met the grand-kids.
However, he did gush to reporters about the joy he felt for his family, “Like any father, it’s the most exciting thing that a new soul is coming in.” He added, “All my love goes to them.”
Maybe it had to do with Jolie being in a stable partnership with Pitt and wanting her six children to get to know their grandfather, or maybe it had to do with the fact that she was now a parent herself – but eventually, in 2010, Jolie revealed to Parade that she and her dad were making efforts to mend their strained relationship.
The following year, the father and daughter made their first public appearance together in years, at the L.A. premiere of Jolie’s 2011 directorial debut for the film In the Land of Blood and Honey.
Back on track
In 2012, Jolie admitted that her father finally met his grandchildren. She acknowledged that although her and Voight were back in each other’s lives, they don’t “discuss the past.” By 2013, the actor dad claimed that he and his formerly estranged daughter were “back on track.” In recent years, following Jolie’s messy divorce with Pitt, they seem to be closer than ever.
“Jon and I have gotten to know each other – through grandchildren now,” the actress expressed on a podcast. “We’re finding a new relationship. We’ve had some difficulties, but through art we’ve been able to talk.”