From the outside, things are looking pretty good for Angelina Jolie. A year has passed since her highly publicised separation with Brad Pitt first hit headlines, her new film is about to debut in cinemas, and after years of major health battles, she seems to be on the up.
The one struggle now facing the 42-year-old, though, is one that celebrities rarely speak about at all, let alone admit to with such candour.
“I don’t enjoy being single,” the mother-of-six told the Sunday Telegraph over the weekend. “It’s not something I wanted. There’s nothing nice about it. It’s just hard.”
The admission comes after she and Pitt, who had been together for 12 years, called it quits on their relationship last year, a time that both parties have since labelled as one of the toughest periods of their lives. Since the split, Jolie has been the primary caregiver for their six children, 16-year-old Maddox, 13-year-old Pax, 12-year-old Zahara, 11-year-old Shiloh, and 9-year-old twins Vivienne and Knox, a truly impressive feat by anyone's standards.
"Sometimes, maybe it appears I am pulling it all together. But really I am just trying to get through my days. Emotionally it's been a very difficult year," Jolie said.
Usually, when celebrities talk about their single life, we hear about how much they're enjoying taking some time for themselves, about the girl's nights out and road trips and yoga retreats they can now enjoy. We almost never hear the flip to that.
To admit that you're miserable or lonely or unanchored without a love in your life seems somehow defeatist, even anti-feminist. But for better or worse, for some people, it is the reality, whether or not we want it to be. And hearing someone unapologetically admit that out loud is not only refreshing, it's also incredibly useful for others feeling the same way to hear.
Because if the award-winning beauty that is Angelina Jolie can find being a single mum hard, surely others out there should feel OK about having the same experience, right?
Appearing at the Telluride Film Festival to premiere her new film, First They Killed My Father over the weekend, Jolie said that hitting the promotional press circuit again for the first time since her separation was harder than she'd anticipated.
“This is the first time I have done this for a long time. c I am a little shy this time because I am not as strong inside as I have been in the past,” she said.
But alongside her throughout the weekend were her children, all of whom appeared to be incredibly well-behaved and polite; something that Jolie should definitely take pride and comfort in. God knows convincing six teen and pre-teens kids to leave the house for anything is impressive enough in its own right.
Listen: Chloe Shorten talks navigating the logistics of divorce with Mia Freedman.