The Stunning Transformation Of Pax Jolie-Pitt

To find a family as eclectic as the Brangelina bunch would be nearly impossible. The brood shared by former Hollywood A-list couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie comprises six children (who are growing up fast!) — three biological and three adopted — and many cultures. The actor duo's Vietnamese son, Pax Thien Jolie-Pitt, is second in command in age among his siblings. He is preceded by brother Maddox Chivan Jolie-Pitt and is older than sisters Zahara Marley and Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt, as well as twins Vivienne Marcheline and Knox Léon Jolie-Pitt.

Pax joined the family in 2007, after Angelina adopted him from an orphanage in Vietnam (per Reuters). His remarkable journey from childhood through his teens has always remained a subject of wide interest — given how much media coverage the celebrity family commands — though it seems he's been insistent on keeping his distance from the spotlight. Whereas siblings Maddox and Shiloh have, on occasion, indulged in public addresses, the 18-year-old, who's generally dubbed as the most low-key of the lot, is known to stay mostly off-camera.

From the time she brought him home, Angelina has gushed about him — "Pax is a great kid," she told People in 2007 — and, as it appears, she has no reason to stop! The recent high school graduate has many talents, from filmography to music. And, did you know, he also boasts a few acting credits? Join us as we turn the pages of Pax Jolie-Pitt's story.

Pax Jolie-Pitt hails from Vietnam

Pax Jolie-Pitt's roots lie in Vietnam. He spent his early years at the Tam Binh orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City. Per a report by Hello!, Pax was known as Pham Quang Sang at the orphanage — that is, until he was adopted by American actor Angelina Jolie in 2007.

The young boy was around 3-and-a-half years old when Angelina became his mother and, thereafter, took on the name Pax Thien Jolie. According to an archived article from Time, Pax means peace in Latin, while Thien, in Vietnamese, means sky. It was only later that year that a Santa Monica court permitted the child's name to legally be changed to Pax Thien Jolie-Pitt to reflect the identity of his new father, actor Brad Pitt, Angelina's then-partner. According to Adomir, an adoption agency in Vietnam, Vietnamese law allows only inter-country adoption for single persons, not unmarried couples.

While little is known about Pax's biological family, Time reports he was found at a local hospital in Vietnam, abandoned at birth, in 2003. After a failed search for his birth mother, the Tam Binh orphanage took him in at 1 month of age — there, he stayed until March 2007. Angelina, while leaving the orphanage with her little one, reportedly wrote in their visitors' book, "Thank you for taking such wonderful care of my son. I am sure he will miss your beautiful, caring staff as much as you will miss him."

He quickly built a strong bond with his brother

Angelina Jolie embraced motherhood a fourth time in 2007, when she adopted Pax Jolie-Pitt in Vietnam. Rumors flew in 2006, when Angelina and then-beau Brad Pitt were touring Asian countries, that she could possibly adopt another child — after already having adopted two (Maddox Chivan Jolie-Pitt from Cambodia and Zahara Marley Jolie-Pitt from Ethiopia) and given birth to one (Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt).

It may seem like an unreal proposition now to imagine Angelina's brood without her Vietnamese son, but the Hollywood star was apparently unsure about adopting a child from the Southeast Asian country, citing a politically relevant reason why. "I did originally think not to adopt from Vietnam because Mad was Cambodian and the two countries have a complex history," she told Vogue. Vietnam and neighboring Cambodia have historically been at war. However, a belief in "focusing on a future where we were all family" compelled her to go through with her decision.

It seems the sibling crew was all the richer for it. In an interview with People soon after bringing Pax home, Angelina gushed about the relationship her sons shared. "Pax and Maddox have really connected because they're closer in age and are brothers so they have moments when they bond together against everybody else in the family," she said. Though she did admit there were also moments the brothers bugged each other, she said they were a "really tough team."

Pax embraced his freedom in his early days in America

Pax Jolie-Pitt has famously assumed the role of the shy one in the Brangelina brood. But there is more to the 18-year-old than meets the eye. Apparently, he is no different than a punk rocker, as described by his mother Angelina Jolie. "When you really get to know them and they are just pussycats," she once said in a 2011 interview with Anderson Cooper (via Us Weekly).

In an interview given soon after his adoption, Angelina shed light on Pax's early days with the family. "He spent three-and-a-half years of his life in one place, in one room, in his one iron bed ... having no choice for himself to do things, having no freedom. And suddenly here he is in a very free situation," she said, adding how wild her son was (yet also loving), what with all the new freedom in hand. In another interview with People that year, Angelina even called him the "loudest member of the family."

Pax's former guardians at the orphanage in Vietnam, where he spent his initial years, also spoke highly of him. As quoted by Time, the head of the orphanage described Pax as having a temperament that was both happy and reserved. "When they play in a group or team, he's very active, but shy once separated," he said. His primary caretaker there also called him "very clever."

Pax has been working on films since childhood

Pax Jolie-Pitt has actually been credited as an actor not once but twice — for "Maleficent" in 2014 and "Kung Fu Panda 3" in 2016, both titles in which his mother Angelina Jolie played significant roles. In the fantasy-drama "Maleficent," Pax appears with his sister, Zahara Marley Jolie-Pitt, in the christening scene in which their mother, in menacing makeup and headgear, paces around the room. Of the scene, Angelina told Entertainment Weekly, "I had to walk by them being very mean. Of course, I wanted to stop and wink at them." For "Kung Fu Panda 3," Pax joined his siblings to record animal noises — something the kids all "had a lot of fun with," Angelina said.

That's not all. On the 2017 war film "First They Killed My Father," directed by their mom, Pax, along with his brother, Maddox Chivan Jolie-Pitt, were involved deeply with the shoot. While Maddox helped with research on the film, Angelina told People, "Pax [did] a lot of the stills."  

Despite their cinematic talents, Angelina and Brad Pitt's kids apparently aren't inclined towards the family business. On BBC Radio 4's "Woman's Hour" in 2016, Angelina revealed, "None of my kids want to be actors. They are actually very interested in being musicians ... Pax loves music and deejaying." Well, that's some hidden talent we wish doesn't stay hidden for too long! 

Film premieres don't make him nervous

Having superstars for parents surely comes with its perks, among them having front-row access to some of the glitziest events in town. Pax Jolie-Pitt, as the son of actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, has, thus, been a regular at film premieres with his siblings from a young age. Given how he is notably the shy one out of the six-strong brood, one would imagine Pax to be tense before the dazzling flashlights. But Angelina revealed to Vogue that premieres don't make him nervous.

In 2015, Pax, then 11, accompanied his mom to Asia where they were to reportedly meet Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi. "Seeing Pax get extra-nervous about which shirt he is going to wear when he meets Aung San Suu Kyi, I get very moved. He rightfully doesn't get nervous going to a movie premiere; he gets nervous going to meet her," Angelina said. 

Two years later, in 2017, all of Angelina's children joined her for the opening of her directorial "First They Killed My Father" in Cambodia (per People). In fact, Pax even filled in for his mom once at a film premiere. In 2014, when Angelina was down with chicken pox, as per the Los Angeles Times, Pax and his siblings accompanied dad Brad to the premiere of "Unbroken," which their mom had directed. Most recently, Pax joined his mom on the red carpet for the documentary "Paper & Glue" in November 2021 (via Us Weekly).

He appears to be very close to his mother

Angelina Jolie and her team of six children appear to be a tight-knit family unit, and the movie star doesn't abstain from making it apparent. She is spotted out and about with her family often, not just at black-tie events but beyond, too. Pax Jolie-Pitt, particularly, has been snapped spending quality time with his mother on shopping trips and dinner dates in Los Angeles.

In 2017, mother and son stepped out for a private dinner in Hollywood, looking chic, on Mother's Day — the first since her split from Brad Pitt the previous year (per E! News). "She appeared in high spirits and they both looked very happy to spend Mother's Day together ... They were giggling and laughing throughout dinner," a source said. The 2021 calendar, meanwhile, seems to have been bustling with one-on-one outings for the dapper duo. In August, Pax and his mom enjoyed a night out together at Japanese joint Nobu, and, in December, he joined her for lunch and shopping in West Hollywood.

Her busy schedules have never deterred Angelina from being a very hands-on mom. She told Vogue in 2015, "I schedule individual time with each of the kids like a crazy person. I know what I'm doing with my boys tonight." She once referred to her brood (per The New York Times) as the "best friends [she's] ever had." 

Pax stays connected with his Vietnamese roots

Pax Jolie-Pitt appears to have remained rooted to the culture of his birth country. After adopting him, Angelina Jolie picked up on Vietnamese to communicate with him, and, as Pax grew older, he himself learned more of the language — even as he has called the U.S. home for the better part of his life.

In November 2011, at the age of 8, Pax took his first trip back to Vietnam. As per Us Weekly, the itinerary of the trip included Pax's meeting with his biological grandmother. A quoted source claimed the woman "was looking forward to it after Pax had lived so many years abroad." Reports also suggested that parents Angelina and Brad Pitt, along with their six children, were due to visit the orphanage where Pax lived until his adoption.

In an interview with Financial Times, Angelina revealed her children "all have their flags over their beds and their individual pride" and were "learning about each other's cultures." Cricket, a traditional delicacy in certain South Asian countries, is apparently also a favorite of Pax and his older Cambodian brother, Maddox Chivan Jolie-Pitt. "When I first gave it to them ... I wanted them not to be turned off by something that was of their culture. They ate them like Doritos, and they wouldn't stop," Angelina said during a video shoot in 2011 (via Us Weekly). So frequent did the cricket-eating get that Angelina, at one point, had to ban it!

He made a statement against sexual harassment

Pax Jolie-Pitt seemed to grab more attention than ever before at the 2018 Golden Globes when he accompanied mom Angelina Jolie. It was reportedly his first time at the prestigious awards show, and he made sure his presence was a head-turner — not just for his dapper display, but also for the Time's Up pin he sported on his tux lapel. 2018 was the year a collective of Hollywood stars founded the nonprofit ​​Time's Up, on the heels of the global #MeToo wave. The organization positions itself as a movement working against sexual harassment.

For a young boy of only 14 to lend support to such a somber cause might have otherwise seemed out of the ordinary. But, in the case of Pax, his stand was presumably understandable: His mother had been vocal about her experience with disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein. She was one of many who had come forward a year earlier to accuse the Miramax co-founder of sexual harassment. As reported by The New York Times, Angelina claimed he had made advances on her in the late 1990s. "I had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth, and as a result, chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did," she said.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

He skipped his high school graduation to avoid media attention

Pax Jolie-Pitt graduated high school at 17 in June 2021 from an institution in Los Angeles. The fiercely private celebrity child of former power couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, however, appeared to be missing from the official celebrations.

As per The Sun, a source claimed, "He's shy and it was believed he didn't want to bring a circus to the event." While Pax's motivations behind missing an important milestone remain obscure, the "circus" in question could well refer to the media attention fixated on his family that year. After an over 12-year-long relationship as Hollywood's hottest couple, Brad and Angelina parted ways in 2016, thus commencing a lengthy, messy divorce. In fact, Pax's graduation coincided with a sharp turn in the custody battle between his parents. Only a month before his ceremony, a court ruled for Brad to have joint custody of his kids along with Angelina — a decision that was reportedly criticized by the latter, as per BBC News.

Pax has a complex relationship with dad Brad Pitt

Since childhood, Pax Jolie-Pitt was often spotted in paparazzi pictures clinging closely to his dad, Brad Pitt. But the notoriously bitter separation of his parents in 2016, which ensued in a custody battle, reportedly complicated the father-son relationship. Amid the storm of sensational reporting on the high-profile divorce, Us Weekly indicated that Brad allegedly never wanted to adopt the Vietnamese boy in 2007 and was "angry" that Angelina Jolie had gone ahead with the adoption (via The Mercury News). The "Fight Club" star reportedly denied these claims.

In 2018, as the divorce proceedings of Hollywood's golden couple raged on, the dynamic between Brad and his son showed slivers of a possible breakthrough. As per Us Weekly, all of Brad's children — with the exception of his eldest, Maddox Chivan Jolie-Pitt — stayed overnight at his house to ring in his 55th birthday. A source echoed Brad's thoughts of having his children "back in his life in a much more meaningful and significant way."

Tensions in the relationship shared by the father-son duo don't seem to have thawed drastically, though. In 2020, another report from Us Weekly claimed that Brad's ties with sons Maddox and Pax were still severely strained. "That relationship continues to be nonexistent," a source alleged, adding that the actor and Pax weren't speaking. Brad apparently still held out hopes of reconciliation with Pax "without the influence of his older brother," Maddox, who is in Korea for higher education.