A Look At Angelina Jolie's Strained Relationship With Her Father

Angelina Jolie has been a superstar for decades, so it may be jarring to learn that Jolie isn't her real surname. It was actually the "Girl, Interrupted" star's middle name until she legally changed it to her last name in 2002 and dropped Voight, her real surname, altogether. Many believe she changed it because of a falling out with her father and fellow actor, Jon Voight. In 1971, Voight married Marcheline Bertrand, and their second child, Jolie, was born in 1975. However, just a year later, they separated, and their divorce was finalized in 1980. 

Voight subsequently admitted that his infidelity had caused the marriage's end. Bertrand solely raised Jolie and her brother, James Haven, who also dropped Voight from his last name. After Bertrand tragically lost her battle with cancer in 2007, Jolie penned an emotional letter to her in The New York Times. Suffice it to say, Jolie had a wonderful relationship with her mother and she noted how Voight's infidelity impacted her: "When my father had an affair, it changed her life. It set her dream of family life ablaze. But she still loved being a mother." 

She also shared that her mom was working towards becoming an actor herself, but put her dreams on hold to raise her children. An old family friend even told Express, "Jon Voight was a terrible father to her back then. He cheated on her mother. Marcheline was broken-­hearted. She told me Jon had emotionally abused her."

Jon Voight commented on Angelina Jolie's mental health issues

While celebrity parents typically advise their kids privately to protect them, Jon Voight decided to do it on a public platform when his estranged daughter, Angelina Jolie, was going through her divorce from Billy Bob Thornton. Voight told Access Hollywood that he wished Jolie would get help for her mental health issues. And to add even more salt to her wounds, he expressed his thoughts on the marriage: "I never had the feeling that they were going to make it because of both of their serious problems, and they've both been very public about them, so I never really held out any hope," (via Entertainment Weekly). 

He also said that the "Salt" star had struggled since infancy and blamed himself for not encouraging his daughter to get help sooner. Voight claimed that he urged Jolie to face her mental problems during the "Girl, Interrupted" shoot but she told him to back off because he couldn't imagine what she was going through. The Hollywood icon also shared why he believed his two kids weren't too fond of him in a People interview. 

"I find it very heartbreaking that my children want to paint a bad portrait of me," Voight admitted. He added. "I feel that it comes from their inability to let go of years of programmed anger from their mother [the late Marchelin Bertrand] who understandably felt quite hurt when we divorced." He believed that these feelings of resentment had strengthened after Marchelin Bertrand's passing.

The father-daughter duo finally reconciled in 2010

Jon Voight made those comments about Angelina Jolie's mental health in August 2002, and she legally changed her name in September 2002, so it seems like the incident may have triggered the change. Jolie responded to her father's statements by telling Access Hollywood that she wished she had a normal relationship with him but reasoned that it was sadly impossible. The Oscar winner added that she was walking away from the relationship because it was unhealthy (via E! News). 

Voight, meanwhile, assured People that he tried to do right by his family by offering them emotional and financial support through the years. In the Access Hollywood interview, Voight mentioned that he desperately wanted to see his grandchild, but Jolie had stopped him and turned down requests for a conversation. Fortunately for the actor, he finally met Jolie's six kids in 2010, after Brad Pitt reportedly helped with a truce. Voight shared his feelings with the Daily Mail: "That one moment changed my whole life. It gave me back my daughter and my family. Being reunited with my Angie is very precious to me." 

While one meeting couldn't have fixed the long rift, it seemed like the start of a reconciliation. The father and daughter were reportedly on talking terms amidst her divorce from Pitt. But a source told Radar Online that Voight and Jolie weren't in touch in 2023 because she was focusing on dealing with the aftermath of the split. However, Voight has healed his relationship with his son, James Haven.