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If you’re used to thinking of Angelina Jolie primarily for who she is today, you might not even recognize the Jolie of years before. While she is now best known as a humanitarian, activist, role model, and award-winning actress, her first years in the Hollywood eye were slightly different.

People recognized Jolie’s talent and beauty as exceptional right away. But in the early days, there was also talk about how some of her habits and lifestyle choices came off differently.

There was one gesture of love and devotion Jolie used to sport on her that was weirder than all the other things known about her. So what was this bizarre trinket — and what did a razorblade have to do with it?

Angelina Jolie used to be married to the actor Billy Bob Thornton

Twenty years ago, Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton got married. It was actually the second marriage for Jolie and the fifth for Thornton.

Though Jolie had been in a psych ward right before the wedding, she and Thornton felt so bound to one another that they decided to get married right away. This all despite the fact that Thornton was already engaged to Laura Dern at the time.

Things ended up falling apart not too long after that and Jolie went on to become a much bigger movie star than Thornton, to boot. She was married for a long time to fellow A-lister Brad Pitt after that.

Thornton and Jolie had an off-beat way of showing their devotion to one another

Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie | Christopher Polk/Getty Images for The Critics’ Choice Awards

When Jolie was hot and heavy with Thornton, their intense romance found some very unconventional expressions. Namely, around their first anniversary, they both started wearing a vial of the other person’s blood around their necks. Yep, you read that right: They wore vials of each other’s blood as necklaces.

Maybe creepy to most of us, but to Jolie and Thornton, it was the height of romance. In an interview in 2014, Thornton explained what went on behind it, saying that to them, it was similar to wearing a locket to keep someone close to your heart.

He said: “She thought it would be interesting and romantic if we took a little razorblade and sliced our fingers, smeared a little blood on these lockets and you wear it around your neck just like you wear your son or daughter’s baby hair in one. Same thing.” Maybe a little macabre, sure, but to them, it seemed like a nice way to feel close when they were apart, such as when Jolie was off filming Tomb Raider.

These odd love tokens spawned some even weirder speculation from fans


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In the same interview, Thornton laughed about some rumors that came about as a result of the blood lockets. “[They were saying] we were wearing quart jars of blood around our necks, and we were vampires, and we lived in a dungeon,” Thornton joked.

Obviously there wasn’t any truth to those rumors. The two remained happy (and non-vampires!) together until their split in 2003.

Jolie has also laughed off how weird some people found the practice, explaining for herself in an interview with Entertainment Weekly back in 2008: “It was never a vial…It was like a flower press. It was like from a slight cut on your finger and you press your fingerprint in. It was kind of a sweet gesture. I thought it was kind of romantic!”

Sure, Jolie’s idea of what constitutes romance might be a little different from everyone else’s, but you can’t say that the lockets don’t make a little more sense when she explains it that way, right?