A brief history of Angelina Jolie saying she’s going to quit acting

Today, the actress told DuJour magazine that she “absolutely” plans to leave showbiz. But it's not the first time.

Published November 19, 2014 9:06PM (EST)

Angelina Jolie      (AP/Umit Bektas)
Angelina Jolie (AP/Umit Bektas)

Today, Angelina Jolie made headlines with the revelation that she was “absolutely” planning to quit acting. But it’s not the first time that Jolie has intimated that she’d like to get out of the business to focus on something else, whether that be directing, her family, or her humanitarian efforts. In fact, this is a refrain that she (and, for that matter, hubbie Brad) have been spouting for years. Here's a brief history:

In a 2005 interview with British GQ, Jolie fantasizes about leaving the biz. ”The positive side of celebrity is that you can bring attention to things you think are important," she said. "I have a romantic image of myself in a few years quitting acting and traveling the world and doing good things, but I'm practical and I know I can do more good keeping my foot in."

Fall 2008:
"The kids are my priority, so it's possible that from now on, I will make fewer movies,” Jolie told the Italian edition of Vanity Fair. “I may even stop altogether. I no longer have the ambition I had in my 20s."

A month later, Angelina also told the BBC that she didn't plan to keep acting. “I’m ready to do a few things now and fade away and get ready to be a grandma one day. So maybe it will be once a year and then maybe it will be once every three years, and then just naturally *poof*—I like being home a lot these days.”

June 2010
In a 2010 Vanity Fair cover story, Jolie suggested once again that her days as an actress might be numbered. ”Acting helped me as I was growing up. It helped me learn about myself, helped me travel, helped me understand life, express myself, all those wonderful things," Jolie said. "So I'm very, very grateful, it's a fun job. It's a luxury. Look, I'm at work today in the middle of Venice. But I don't think I'll do it much longer.”

But when asked a month later whether she really planned to quit the business for good, as the VF article implied, Jolie demurred: ”They know how to sell a magazine. No, I simply said that in the years to come I'll be doing less of acting and more of other things," she responded. "It's really not that interesting.”

July 2011:
The refrain appeared again in a 2011 Financial Times interview. “As Brad and I get older, we’re going to do fewer films," she said. "I’ve been working for a long time. He’s been working for a long time. We’ve had a nice run and don’t want to be doing this our whole lives. There are a lot of other things to do.”

December 2012
Jolie again hinted at her desire to leave the business in an interview with the U.K.’s Channel 4 News, saying  "I will do some films and I am so fortunate to have the job, it's a really lucky profession to be a part of and I enjoy it. But if it went away tomorrow I would be very happy to be home with the children. I think I'm going to have to give up the acting as the kids hit the teenage years, anyway, too much to manage at home.”

May 2014:
"I'm sure there will be a few more films. But I am happy I am able to be selective and have fun with characters like this but I would like to focus on writing and directing and above all I would like to focus more on my work with the U.N. and PSVI,” said Jolie at a London press conference.  She gave similar comments at another London press event: “I’m not torn about whether to leave acting for directing. I want to go into directing. I am giving acting up to concentrate on working behind the camera,” Jolie said. “I’ll do one or two more films as an actress. Every once in a while I get a story like this and I’m so happy I get to play this role. I’ve loved acting, but I like arriving on set in jeans without having to do hair and makeup and being a part of the family.

June 2014:
Talking to the BBC about her plan to possibly bring “Cleopatra” to the big screen, Jolie said: ”It’s one of those you feel like, well, maybe that's the one you put everything into, and that's where you end it, that's where you finish -- in a great way. What could you do beyond that one?”

November 2014:
In the November issue of Vanity Fair, Jolie talked to interviewer Janine di Giovanni about possibly going into politics. "When you work as a humanitarian, you are conscious that politics have to be considered," Jolie said. "Because if you really want to make an extreme change, then you have a responsibility. But I honestly don’t know in what role I would be more useful—I am conscious of what I do for a living, and that [could] make it less possible."

And today, in DuJour magazine, Jolie had this to say about her future plans: “I've never been comfortable as an actor; I've never loved being in front of the camera,” Jolie told DuJour magazine. “I didn't ever think I could direct, but I hope I'm able to have a career at it because I'm much happier,” she said. When the magazine asked her if she planned to quit acting altogether, she responded: “Absolutely.” Well then!

By Anna Silman

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