The Oscar winner gave a rare candid interview to Elle in which she opened up about her past, her fiance
The "Maleficent" star poses on the mag's black-and-white cover in a black T-shirt and shows off her biceps tattoo, which features coordinates of the birthplaces of her six children and her fiance.
The interview, which includes a 16-page photo spread with Saint Laurent creative director Hedi Slimane, promises the 38-year-old's "very real self" and delves into her tumultuous early years, which she claims were "misinterpreted as [me] wanting to be rebellious" when she was just trying to figure out who she really was.
Tell that to your bound-by-blood marriage contract with Billy Bob Thornton ....
"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," the actress said. "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."
Jolie said she was worried about having 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."
She said the only remedy was to be true to herself "whatever that may be, and that tends to come with stepping out of something that's maybe safe or traditional."
Now she's one of Hollywood's highest A-listers, overseeing films and an ever-expanding brood of biological and adopted children with Pitt. But it turns out the U.N. goodwill ambassador never thought she'd be a mom, among other things.
"I never thought I'd have children, I never thought I'd be in love, I never thought I'd meet the right person," she said. "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."
The actress is referring to her estrangement from her father, actor
Jolie met a then-married Pitt, now 50, in 2004 while filming "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," released in June 2005. The leading man and "Friends" alum Jennifer Aniston went public in January of that year with their decision to divorce, and of course the Angelina vs. Jennifer debate continues to this day in reader comments all over the Internet.
The pair ultimately got engaged in March 2012 after seven years and six kids together. This week it was announced that they will be reuniting on the big screen in an upcoming mystery flick penned by the actress.
"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," she said of her partner. "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."
Indeed, in March, the actress told Entertainment Weekly that she knows she can appear a bit austere in the public eye, but at home she softens up.
"Outside my home I can be somewhat serious," she said. "We laugh and we play, and I'm light again, and I'm a kid again, and I'm loving and soft again, because they've brought that back in my life."
In a May 2013 Esquire interview, Pitt echoed that sentiment, saying, "I have a handful of close friends and I have my family and I haven't known life to be any happier."
Jolie has spoken extensively about why she chose to cast daughter Vivienne as Aurora in "Maleficent," Disney's new take on
But that doesn't necessarily mean it'll be a show-business life for the Jolie-Pitt brood.
"Brad and I made the decision that we wouldn't keep them from sets and the fun of making movies, but we wouldn't [glorify it either] — we wouldn't make it a good thing or a bad thing," she told Elle. "But I would really prefer they do something else,' she said. Anyway, "after two days of it, Brad and I were so stressed we never wanted to do it again."