Blood vials and burial plots: The intense relationship of Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton.



Angelina Jolie’s love life has long been defined by her marriage to Brad Pitt; but before Brangelina made us grasp at our pearls with glee at the scandal, Jolie had another very interesting marriage to Billy Bob Thornton.

Thornton, now 64, from movies such as Sling Blade and Bad Santa, and Jolie, now 44, from Girl, Interrupted and Mrs and Mrs Smith, met on the set of 1999’s Pushing Tin.

But, just as Brangelina was born in secrecy and speculation, so too was Jolie and Thornton’s relationship.

Here’s what we know about how it went down.

Angelina Jolie opens up about her “difficult” divorce from Brad Pitt below. Post continues after video.

Before they met each other. 

From 1978 to 1980, Thornton was married to Melissa Gatlin, with whom he had a daughter, Amanda, who is now 40.

In 1986, Thornton married actress Toni Lawrence and divorced her in 1988. From 1990 to 1992, Thornton was married to Cynda Williams.

In 1993, Thornton married Playboy model Pietra Cherniak; they had sons Harry James and William together. The marriage ended in 1997.


By 1999 – when he met Jolie during the making of Pushing Tin – Thornton was engaged to actor Laura Dern; which is why he and Jolie didn’t get together at the time.

At the same time, Jolie was briefly dating actor Timothy Hutton.

Jolie had married British actor Jonny Lee Miller in 1996. They separated the next year, with the divorce being finalised as she was with Hutton, and just months before she met Thornton.

Jolie and Thornton’s very public relationship.

 In typical Hollywood-rebel style, Jolie and Thornton had a speedy two-month courtship, and then married in Las Vegas in May 2005.

Thornton was still engaged to Dern at the time.

Dern reportedly said of the incident, “[I] left our home to work on a movie, and while I was away, my boyfriend got married, and I’ve never heard from him again.”

One might think the timing would make a couple publicity-shy for a while, but not Jolie and Thornton.

The couple became infamous for their passionate, usually off-beat, public displays of affection; most notably, the time they wore vials of each other’s blood as necklaces.

The couple and their blood vial necklaces. Image: Getty

In 2014, Thornton explained the incident to The Hollywood Reporter, saying Jolie, “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."

To celebrate their first anniversary, Jolie surprised her beau with matching burial plots.

“It may sound a bit weird to people, but it is very special for us,” Jolie said in an interview in 2001.

“I’d called his mother to find out where a lot of his family are buried and I reserved plots there so that one day, when we die, we’ll be next to each other.

“He gave me a document witnessed by a lawyer that said he would be with me forever. It’s maybe a funny way of doing it, but we signed our life away to each other.”


The couple separated in 2002 and were divorced by 2003. The split coincided with Jolie’s adoption – as a single person – of a Cambodian seven-month-old baby, Maddox; her first son.

Jolie’s and Thornton’s friendship after divorce.

In 2014, Thornton married Connie Angland, and they share 14-year-old daughter, Bella.

Also in 2014, after a 14-year relationship, Jolie married Brad Pitt – then divorced him two years later. Jolie now has six children; Maddox, 18, Pax, 15, Zahara, 14, Shiloh, 13, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 11.

The couple were divorced in 2003. Image: Getty.

It seems that Jolie and Thornton are still friends. In 2012, Jolie wrote the foreword to Thornton’s autobiography, The Billy Bob Tapes: A Cave Full of Ghosts.

He told The Huffington Post in 2012 that Jolie “is a good friend of mine and she was very sweet to write the forward.”

In June 2018, Thornton told the HFPA podcast that the relationship only ended because they wanted different things from life.

“That was a great time. Angie is still a friend of mine and she's a great person and she's done so much,” he shared.

“She makes movies that are important to her whether they succeed or fail, she still does what she believes in and I'll always respect her for that."

In reference to Jolie’s international humanitarian and charity work, he added, “We just had different lifestyles. Hers is a global lifestyle and mine is an agoraphobic lifestyle.”

 And just this week, in an interview with US Weekly, Thornton revealed that he and Jolie are still close.

“We’re good friends. We’ve been friends for years and years and years,” he shared.

“So, we keep up with each other. She’s not in town a lot, so we don’t see each other much, but we talk.”

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