‘Maleficent’s’ Angelina Jolie Says She Felt ‘Small’ and ‘Cornered’ in the Past Few Years

Academy Award-winning actress Angelina Jolie has been making the rounds promoting her upcoming film Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. Still in the headlines due to her split from actor Brad Pitt now over three years ago, the director recently made some comments that have some wondering if she was referring to her time with Pitt.

Angelina Jolie of "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil"
“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’s” Angelina Jolie | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

A match made in Hollywood

‘Brangelina’ was Hollywood royalty for some time when it comes to coupledom. Pitt met Jolie on the set of their film Mr. and Mrs. Smith while he was still married to Friends’ star Jennifer Aniston. The Pitt-Jolie romance soon hit every tabloid cover, leading Pitt and Aniston to separate in 2005. Pitt and Jolie made their union official and tied the knot in 2014, and share a total of six children – three of whom are adopted.

Their split in 2016 became messy, where rumors swirled of Pitt being kept from seeing his children, as well as custody issues and problems with drinking. Pitt recently revealed in an interview that he has committed himself to sobriety. “I had taken things as far as I could take it, so I removed my drinking privileges,” he told The New York Times. The actor shared that he spent a year and a half in Alcoholics Anonymous after Jolie filed for divorce. The couple now seems to be at a more amicable stage in their co-parenting relationship.

Jolie did not feel ‘safe’

Reprising her role as the title character, Jolie seems to appreciate the brashness and strength of Maleficent. “I think Maleficent is wild, I think there is that thing in all of us that is just not safe and not fine, that wants to just have fun and be our best self,” she said, according to E! News.

Revealing thoughts on a more personal level, Jolie went on to express past feelings of turmoil. “There have been times in my life where I have felt—and maybe I’ve hidden them well from the public—where I have not felt free, I have not felt safe, I have not felt like free of harm,” the actress admitted. “I have felt small. I have felt cornered. And it has taken a lot to find that again, probably more of that today than I was in the last four years.”

Many speculate that Jolie is referencing her time with Pitt and the fallout from their divorce. In an August interview with E! News, the Maleficent star commented on the difficulty of what she’s recently been through, saying, “these last few years haven’t been the easiest, and I haven’t felt very strong. There’s something when you’re not feeling very strong, where you push yourself.”

The need for ‘wicked’ women

Perhaps the chance to play Maleficent again came at the ideal time, for it seems to have given Jolie a renewed sense of strength. She recently penned an essay for Elle on why she feels the world needs ‘wicked’ women like her character.

“‘Wicked women’ are just women who are tired of injustice and abuse,” she wrote in Elle. “Women who refuse to follow rules and codes they don’t believe are best for themselves or their families. Women who won’t give up on their voice and rights, even at the risk of death or imprisonment or rejection by their families and communities. If that is wickedness, then the world needs more wicked women.”

Jolie, who earned the title of Special Envoy to the United Nations for her humanitarian work, also made a point to recognize the supportive side of women. “But it is also true that women don’t wake up every morning wanting to fight. We want to be able to be soft and nurturing and graceful and loving — not everyone is born to fight,” she wrote in the essay. “And we don’t have magical powers. What we do have is the ability to support one another, and to work with the many great men who value and respect women as their equals.”

Fans can see Jolie reprise her role in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil when it hits theaters on October 18!