Billy Bob Thornton Once Said He Was ‘Afraid’ of His Then-Wife Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie may be best known for her high-profile relationship with Brad Pitt, but that wasn’t the only marriage of hers that has been a hot topic in the tabloids. 

Before striking up a romance with Pitt, Jolie was married to fellow actor Billy Bob Thornton, who was not only head over heels for the Oscar-nominated actor but was also a little “afraid” of her.

Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton
Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton | Vince Bucci/Getty Images

Billy Bob Thornton was Angelina Jolie’s second husband

Jolie and Thornton met and fell in love on the set of the 1999 film, Pushing Tin, just two years after she separated from her first husband, Jonny Lee Miller. 

The two had an instant connection and eloped in Las Vegas the following year. 

Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton
Angleina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton | S. Granitz/WireImage

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Though their marriage came as a particular surprise to Big Little Lies star Laura Dern, who was engaged to Thornton at the time, what took place during the couple’s wedding was what really stunned the public. 

Not only did Jolie wear slouchy jeans, a simple tank top, and boots, but she and Thornton wore vials of each others’ blood around their necks while exchanging vows, which was talked about extensively in the media.

Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton’s relationship was chaotic

Though their wedding set them apart from a typical husband and wife, nothing about Jolie and Thornton’s marriage went by the book. 

In addition to their shotgun wedding, the couple also had a 20-year age gap between them, would often swap underwear, and even gifted each other his-and-her grave plots. 

Though their marriage was one-of-a-kind, Jolie defended her and Thornton’s union, telling the New York Times that she and the Armageddon actor were just like any two people in love. 

Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie
Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie | Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

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“People think they know a lot about our relationship,” Jolie said. “They know very little. What little they know, they’ve got pretty strong opinions about. I can’t help that. But I don’t think there’s anything weird about us… I’m just a very normal woman who is crazy about her man. And I’m also a lot of other things.”

While there’s nothing wrong with someone feeling strongly about their significant other, Thornton later revealed that the Salt actor’s love for him once left him afraid of her. 

However, he says he eventually outgrew that fear. 

“It’s one of the things I like about this marriage,” he told The Guardian in 2001. “I was always afraid in relationships before, but I’m not afraid of her. Well, I am afraid of her, I told her that once. First I told her I wasn’t afraid of her, and then 20 minutes later I told her the opposite, that I was afraid of her.”

Billy Bob Thornton ‘never felt good enough’ for Angelina Jolie

After just two years of marriage, Jolie and Thornton separated in August 2002 — the same year the Maleficent star adopted her first child, son Maddox. The following year, the pair divorced. 

But despite going their separate ways, both Jolie and Thornton still held each other in high regard. 

“He’s a really good man,” she told Vanity Fair in 2005. “He’s hysterical—we had a lot of laughs. … What went wrong, or not even wrong, but what wasn’t meant to be as he was focusing on his music and I was upstairs reading. I went through a change in my life and started paying more attention to the news and learning about other countries and becoming more politically active.” 

As for Thornton, he has said that Jolie “is still a friend of mine” and that “she’s a great person.”

However, he admitted to GQ in 2016 that he “never felt good enough for [Jolie],” which seemed to be another reason for their split. 

But even though their relationship was short-lived, Jolie and Thornton’s romance definitely kept Hollywood on its toes.