Every parent and child have their own rules about how to get along over the holidays, and Jon Voight and Angelina Jolie are no different. “We don’t talk politics well,” Angelina has said of her father, who has been outspoken about his conservative views. “We talk art very well. We’ve found it’s a common language.” And they can always bond over their love for Angelina’s six kids, who range in age from nine to 16. “Jon and I have gotten to know each other over [his] grandchildren now,” Angelina said. “We’re finding a new relationship, and it’s very, very nice.”
That hasn’t always been the case. “We’ve had some difficulties,” Angelina, 42, has acknowledged of the long estrangement she felt from Jon, 78, who split from her late mom, Marcheline, when she was a toddler. “I didn’t feel close to my father. I felt more of my mother’s daughter when I was a child.”
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
After Marcheline’s death in 2007, Angelina and Jon grew closer, and their connection strengthened following the actress’ traumatic divorce from Brad Pitt last year. John “has been very good at understanding they needed their grandfather at this time,” Angelina said, adding that her dad has joined them for family therapy sessions. “He knows the rule — don’t make them play with you. Just be a cool grandpa who’s creative and hang out and tell stories and read a book in the library.” Jon is more than happy to do just that. “I love to play with my grandchildren,” he said. “I’m not an armchair grandfather — I’m interactive. The happiest sound for me is sitting in my house and hearing children and their laughter.”
Angelina’s older brother, James Haven, has also mended fences with their father. “It was really a trifecta, meaning she found peace with him, and I found peace,” James, 44, told Closer Weekly at the recent Justice Speaks Holiday Benefit Luncheon in Hollywood. “This story has come full circle. A big part of it is just coming to that point where you deal with and solve and rectify things. It’s nice.” It’s also a huge relief for Angelina. The tensions within the family “were a big deal for decades,” said James, nothing he’d just gotten off the phone with Jon, who was shooting a film in Kentucky. “It’s a major weight off our shoulders.”
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Now Jon hopes to be directed in a movie by Angelina, who just earned a Golden Globe nomination for her foreign-language film First They Killed My Father. “I love my daughter, and I’m very impressed by her directing,” he said. “I’m crazy about her and my grandchildren.” For now, the kids remain Angelina’s top priority. “Very honestly, I’ve spent the last year and a half doing nothing but just really being a mom, and it’s the most important thing for me to do,” she’s said. “I’ll see what projects come, but I’ll see how much I need to balance that with my kids.” So, what are the biggest challenges Angelina faces in the year ahead? “Teenagers,” she said with a laugh. No doubt Jon can relate to that, too!
For more on Angelina, pick up the new issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and sign up for our newsletter!