There's nothing about the Jolie-Pitt kids that is very typical. They’re a much larger-than-average family going through a very tumultuous divorce. Oh, and the parents are both cultural icons for their beauty and humanitarian work. Where does one even begin?
As much as mother Angelina Jolie might want to pretend their lives are normal, nothing is normal as a Jolie (or a Pitt or a Jolie-Pitt). It only makes sense that some situations that are typically non-issues in most households are totally unalloyed in theirs. And the fact that these children are allowed to do so many things that most kids would never dream of? It’s all so crazy to think about as an outsider. Imagine having two parents as big a deal as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Not to mention once they learn how their love story began (drama, drama, drama).
Through the years we've caught a tiny glimpse inside of Brad and Angelina’s parenting styles. Well, mostly Angie’s — she’s the one calling the shots and almost all of these unusual rules (or lack thereof) can be easily traced back to her. So let’s explore the mind of Angelina Jolie through how she raises her children.
20 They Can't Leave If The House Is On Lock Down
With her divorce from Brad Pitt ramping up, Mercury News noted that the brood of six children have been kept under a sort of house arrest all summer. Before the question of Brad’s access to his own children became a legal issue for courts to decide (and oh boy, did those courts make some decisions, but we’ll get to all that), all six kids—plus mom—were total shut-ins to their Los Angeles manor. It's definitely bizarre, but as father, Brad Pitt doesn’t live all that far away... Would staying inside really keep them from his influence? When you’ve got a team of people to get your groceries, you can avoid anyone.
19 They Don't See Their Mother Get Emotional
It seems like a large tenet of Angelina Jolie’s parenting philosophy stems from the need for her children not to worry about her, because of a childhood spent nakedly aware of her own parent’s instabilities. And that surfaces in many ways. For one, Baby Gaga says the children are never supposed to see Angelina cry or become angry. It’s an incredibly odd quirk for a woman so accustomed to traveling to the saddest, most war-torn parts of the world to forbid sadness in her own home. Of course, moderating negative feelings and shielding children from anything too intense—or just treating them as children and not adults—is one thing. But this is next level.
18 And They Can't See Any Adults Cry
Here's the issue with Angie’s rule about no bad emotions in front of the children: those six kids live in a home with a lot of adults. There’s tutors and all kinds of assistants. None of those adults are allowed to cry or become upset in front of the children either. Honestly, few things sound as stressful as being told that under no circumstances may you become upset. Like, way to make being upset sound super appealing... All of this is meant to protect her children from the anxieties of emotions… But her children possess the same feelings, right? How’s that addressed?
17 They Don't Go To School
Now, it’s not all that unusual for children of celebrities to have tutors in a private scenario but the homeschooling decision was reached for very different reasons. Because Angelina wanted the children to travel with her on her busy schedule, the couple tried out various international schools to ensure there would be minimal disruption in the children’s education. However, Celebitchy says even that couldn’t meet the level of uprooting these children go through, so an “international team of experts” was brought in. That sounds like a great action movie for either parent, but it really just means the children are that much more isolated.
16 They Don't Answer To Their Real Names
There’s a running theme of heavily enforced freedom in Angelina’s parenting and this odd rule is one of many examples of such. The children all have less-than-common names, but even then, they don’t respond to those names. It’s rumored in the Jolie team that all the children have nicknames, and that’s what they use. Not just as an alternative to their legal names, but in total place of. Maddox is “Mad,” Zahara is “Z,” Vivienne is “Vivi," the list goes on. It’s not entirely objectionable, it's just a little bit odd considering the special care and thought that went into the children’s naming process.
15 They Don't Meet Other Kids Their Own Age
Nicknames are one thing but the whole situation becomes shadier when you consider that Angelina expects her small horde of children to serve as each other’s best friends. Sure, siblings can share a deep closeness, but that’s not enough sometimes. And besides, these children are mostly different ages.
It was shared with Star magazine, "Three former nannies who worked for the Jolie-Pitts is filling Star in on the startling details of their mysterious universe—a rarefied world of security guards and nannies and nothing that other kids have: no friends, no school, no rules.” Children do crave structure and… no friends? Yeesh...
14 They Have Largely Unrestricted Access To The Internet
The Internet and all the details peripheral to that space: texting acronyms, stranger danger expanded to an international scale, and cyberbullying, is a huge concern for almost every parent with access to the Internet in this day and age. For Angelina Jolie? Less so. Despite the fact that most of her children aren’t old enough to be considered pre-teens or are barely teenagers, it’s reported by Celebitchy that the children have total freedom when it comes to surfing the net. Whether it’s unrestricted Googling or access to their parents' past works (some of which get very, very adult), the children aren’t kept from finding whatever they want.
13 They Can't Avoid The Paparazzi
The Jolie-Pitts get a lot of flack for how much they charged major magazine publications for the pictures of their first biological child, Shiloh. However, all of those profits were donated to UNICEF. And for another? The children can’t exactly avoid the paparazzi. The way that doing dishes is part of most children's lives, letting the paps in on their public outings is expected for these children. Sure, Pax has made various fashion choices meant to keep away photographs (like oversized hoodies), but that doesn’t do enough when you have to stand and pose.
12 They Can't All Share A Last Name
It’s not something any child considers unless they’ve gone through divorce. That said, this odd rule isn’t a result of the current divorce that's still in the works.
Brad and Angelina’s eldest, Maddox, had the first complicated name issue because he had the last name “Thornton” for a bit (as he was adopted while Angelina was still married to Billy Bob Thornton). After that complication, the parents decided to switch off last names between each child. After marriage, their twins got the hyphenated last name of “Jolie-Pitt.” Still, it’s a lot more thought given to names than most children usually ever have to do.
11 They Can't Call Angelina Outside Of Planned Times (When They're With Dad)
Now that the divorce is in full swing (and peak points of ugliness have been reached — hopefully, the worst is over) when the children are with Brad, there’s a set time when they can have a single daily call with mother Angelina. As the Mercury News reported, “While the children are in Pitt’s care, Jolie is only allowed to call them one time per day and at a time agreed upon by both parents, according to the documents.” This agreement comes after a lot of to-do around how Angelina has prohibited contact between her children and their father, which is where all of this gets messier...
10 They Couldn't Text Their Dad
Angelina Jolie is in the incredibly rare position of a mother losing full custody of her children because of her behavior preventing contact between child and father. Mercury News states, “The court generally expects parents to make the best decisions for their children and family, but when a parent is proving they’re not acting in that way, the court will start imposing sanctions… If the minor children remain closed down to their father and depending on the circumstances surrounding this condition, it may result in a reduction of the time they spend with (Jolie) and may result in the Court ordering primary physical custody to (Pitt)."
9 They Can't Drink, Even Once They're The Legal Age
Despite Angie’s sobriety, husband Brad Pitt still clung to a (more commonly conventional) lifestyle that involved substances. He accredited his use to “an unraveled life, figuring out how to mend it back together.” That said, Baby Gaga says some of his substance use surfaced in fairly normal behavior, like keeping wine in a cellar. Despite the quote, these issues are much older than the divorce and have led Angelina to a total no-tolerance rule surrounding alcohol use, even after her children reach the legal age to be allowed that decision. With eldest Maddox at age 17, it’s not all that far off that this issue will flare up.
8 They Can't Have Sleepovers Or Go On Play-Dates
No parent necessarily wants for their child, at any age, to imbibe with substances but this rule is a completely different issue. Due to the children’s lifestyle of total isolation from the outside world, they’re denied any kind of play-date or sleepover. Sure, they’re all at least over 10 years old now and have no reason to even have friends outside of their family, but they were once an age where most toddlers hang out with a parent’s friend’s child. For the Jolie-Pitt squad, that was apparently never an option; they’re expected to limit their social sphere to their family.
7 They Can't Avoid Eating Bugs But Can Eat Candy Well Into The Night
Angelina’s been quoted as saying, "Shiloh loves a tarantula, loves a bug… They can eat a bag of crickets like a bag of chips,” while son Knox said the insects taste like "dry chips ... like flavorless chips.” Sure, it’s not the most common protein source but it’s a delicacy embraced by the family. That said, typical rules around candy and sugar intake don’t apply to the Jolie-Pitt children. Nannies and staff have reported that the children have no deadline after which they can’t consume certain foods, which results in hyperactivity at all hours… At least no one’s ever gotten hyper off crickets, right?
6 They Have To Speak More Than One Language
The languages Angelina’s children are set on mastering are as wide-spread as their birth places; "Shiloh is focused on mastering Khmai, which is the Cambodian language, meanwhile, Pax has been brushing up on his Vietnamese. Maddox has a thing for both German and Russian and Vivienne is giving Arabic a whirl. Little Knox took his language learning requirement a bit out of the box and turned his attention towards sign language."
While learning a second language is typically encouraged by parents, it’s usually as a low-pressure school requirement (at least in North America). Then again, when you bring school into the home… things change.
5 They Don't Have To Pick Up After Themselves
Almost everything the children can do that you’d never expect boils down to a very specific parenting philosophy: “Brad and Angie are very unconventional parents, to say the least,” one nanny said. “It’s like they’re living in a hippie commune most of the time, because Angie doesn’t believe in rules. She thinks it’s important for their children to have freedom of expression, but that doesn’t always work out well.” Oh wow, a lack of rules for six children doesn’t always work out well? How unexpected... One part of this is that the children aren’t expected to clean up after themselves either; presumably, Angie has as many maids and housecleaners as she does children.
4 They Can Travel Across The World With Their Mother
It’s not just that Angelina’s children shirk the mundane routine of attending school by following her to, say, Europe to film Maleficent. Sure, they’ve been all over the world, but they’ve been to a lot of places no one wants to go to. The children have entered areas of the world that many parents would never allow their kids to even see in films or print. That means refugee camps and war zones with unimaginable conditions. Although the children may not see their mother cry, they have been exposed to the very lowest lows of humanities treatment of its equals… It’s a mind-boggling childhood.
3 They Can Decide If They Want To Follow Rules
Is it a rule if there’s a choice? Doesn’t that undermine the very definition of a rule? So really there are no rules, is another way to put it. Do rules even apply to you if you're Angelina’s kid? Rules are nothing more than suggestions — very gentle suggestions, at that. If one of her children believes a rule impedes on their freedom of expression, say goodbye to that rule. There are so many rules in adult or childhood that at first glance should get chucked out the window, but there’s definitely something to be said for following them. Then again, when you’re a third generation celebrity — rules get real soft and flexible.
2 They Don't Have Homework Or Tests
Here’s one childhood fantasy come true: “Angelina refuses to impose any structure on their studies," according to Celebitchy. “She lets the kids learn what they want and ignore the stuff that doesn’t interest them.” Now, that's something many children today would LOVE to get behind. “And they don’t take tests or do homework,” adds a nanny. “Let’s face it, none of those kids will ever be going after low-level jobs, so it’s not like they need a formal education the way other kids would.” I mean, yeah, that’s the plan if nothing goes horribly wrong. But still, no tests at all? What’s the goal here, exactly?
1 They Can Watch Their Parents' Movies, Even The R-Rated Ones
One of the odder parts of the “no rules” rule is that there are no rules against any of the children watching their parent’s total caché of movies… Yep, even the ones that mostly capitalize on their tremendous good looks. So if a movie gets hot and heavy and one of their parents is involved… that’s a-okay — the children can watch it if they want. Nannies have reported that the kids “loved it." Whether as a way to tease their parents or for other reasons, this is still one of the more eye-popping allowances that most parents would never dream of allowing. But, unique situations call for unique solutions.
References: TheTalko, Celebitchy, Baby Gaga, Baby Gaga, Mercury News