Why Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton's whirlwind three-year marriage had to end.

When Angelina Jolie was 24 she married actor Billy Bob Thornton after two months of dating.

The couple met on the set of Pushing Tin in 1999 but didn’t pursue their relationship until the year after. He was 19 years her senior and at the time still engaged to actress Laura Dern.

However, by 2003, after three years of marriage, they finalised their divorce. It came shortly after Jolie adopted her first child, Maddox, who is now 16.

Speaking about their relationship 15 years later, Thornton told Kirpi Uimonen on the podcast HFPA in Conversation the real reason for their separation.

Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie divorce
Jolie and Thornton in 2001. Image: Getty.

Now married to actress Connie Angland, 62-year-old Thornton said that from the outset of their relationship, he and Jolie, 43, and him had different priorities.

"[I] never felt good enough," he said.

“We just had different lifestyles. Hers is a global lifestyle and mine is an agoraphobic lifestyle,” he joked, referring to a phobia of places and situations that might cause panic, helplessness or embarrassment.

“So that’s really the only reason we’re probably not still together. There was a different path in life we wanted to take."

The two-time Golden Globe winner also spoke about the media interest that constantly surrounded their relationship. Thornton and Jolie were known for their unorthodox antics - like wearing vials of each other's blood around their necks, but in reality, things were more often than not blown out of proportion.

“A lot of the things they said about us at the time were exaggerated,” he said.

"It wasn’t as crazy as people wrote about it.”

Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie divorce
The lockets worn by Thornton (L) and Jolie (R). Image: Getty.

For example those 'vials of blood' were more like their own version or wearing a clip of hair in a locket.

“It was that easy. But by the time it came out in the press, it sounded like we were wearing a bucket of blood around our necks.”

Speaking to Loyola Marymount University's School of Film and Television in 2014, he clarified the romantic gesture.

"Angie came home one day with a kit she bought," he began.

"You know those lockets you buy that are clear and you put a picture of your grannie in it or something like that and wear it around your neck? That's what it was," he said specifying that at the time the couple spent a lot of time apart due to their filming commitments.

"She thought it would be interesting and romantic if we took a little razorblade and sliced our fingers, smeared a little blood on these lockets and you wear it around your neck just like you wear your son or daughter's baby hair in one. Same thing."

Image: Getty.

However, 15 years later, Jolie and Thornton have remained amicable.

"Angie is still a friend of mine and she’s a great person," he said.

Speaking to Vanity Fair in 2005, Jolie agreed and said their romantic relationship just "wasn’t meant to be."

“We finally kind of talked and purged," she said, specifying that they waited a year and a half after separating.

“He’s a really good man."