What Angelina Jolie has said about motherhood as she turns 44: ‘The best friends I’ve ever had’

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Angelina Jolie’s life has changed a lot over the last few years — bye, Brangelina! — but her relationship with her kids is tighter than ever. As the Maleficent: Mistress of Evil star turns 44 on June 4, we celebrate her memorable mom moments — and with six kids, she’s had a lot of ‘em.

Since her dramatic split with Brad Pitt in 2016, her bond with her brood of global citizens — born around the world — has only grown stronger. At least one of them is often by her side at Hollywood events, and several have worked on her projects. They also have accompanied her on humanitarian missions.

“They really help me so much,” Jolie said of her mini-mes in 2017. ”We’re really such a unit. They’re the best friends I’ve ever had. Nobody in my life has ever stood by me more.” (In comparison, Pitt is almost never photographed with the kids. Their time together is private and low-key.)

Jolie admitted that she puts on a tough exterior with Maddox, Pax, Zahara, Shiloh, Vivienne and Knox, especially while finding her footing again amid the divorce.

“I was very worried about my mother growing up,” Jolie said, referring to the late actress Marcheline Bertrand, who had Jolie and son James Haven with Jon Voight before divorcing. “I do not want my children to be worried about me. I think it’s very important to cry in the shower and not in front of them. They need to know that everything’s going to be all right even when you’re not sure it is.”

As a result, the Oscar-winning actress has “six very strong-minded, thoughtful, worldly individuals,” she has said. “I’m very proud of them.”

Soon she’ll have just five at home as Maddox, who she adopted from Cambodia in 2002, heads to college this fall. Of the transition, she said, “I’m nothing but proud. I look forward to all he will do.”

Not that she’ll be lonely as Pax, who was adopted from Vietnam, is a couple years behind “Mad” at age 15. Ethiopian-born Zahara is 14. The children Jolie and Pitt had naturally are 13 (Shiloh, who was born in Namibia) and 10 (twins Knox and Vivienne, who were born in France).

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