Angelina Jolie draws on memories of her late mother, French-Canadian-American actress Marcheline Bertrand, to improve her parenting style, she revealed in a new interview.
The actress and humanitarian shares that she wishes Bertrand were still around to help Jolie through motherhood and be a doting grandmother to Jolie's six children with estranged husband Brad Pitt: 15-year-old Maddox, 13-year-old Pax, 12-year-old Zahara, 10-year-old Shiloh, and twins Vivienne and Knox, 8. "She would have thrived as a grandmother," Jolie, 41, said.
"I know how much she would have contributed to their lives and I am sad they will miss out on that," Jolie told Elle France. "I would give anything for her to be with me at this time. I've needed her. I talk to her often in my mind and try to think what she might say and how she might guide me."
The influence of Bertrand, who died of ovarian cancer at 56 in 2007 and had raised Jolie and her brother James Haven by herself after divorcing actor Jon Voight, is abundantly clear in the actress' own mothering methods. "[Being a parent] is the greatest gift and responsibility," Jolie said. "It means doing everything that you can to live by your values and try to be an example to your children." She added, "I try to lead by example, being conscious of others and being responsible. And to help them have a broader view of the world."
But even more important than teaching her children to be charitable and thoughtful, Jolie said, is simply listening to them. "Really the only way I know to raise them is to really listen. It's perhaps the most important thing any parent can do. They are resilient children but they are children, and as much as they need help to understand the hard truths in life they also need what we all need—protection and love," she said.
Jolie found another way to honor her late mother earlier this year. In January, French beauty company Guerlain announced that the actress would be the new face of its Mon Guerlain fragrance. Jolie reportedly decided to partner with the brand because Bertrand was a devoted fan of the company's face powder. Jolie also stayed true to her humanitarian ways with the partnership, opting to donate all earnings from the campaign to her charities.
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