LOS ANGELES• After filing for divorce from actor Brad Pitt last year, actress Angelina Jolie has put movie-making on hold to become a better mother, take cooking classes and do ordinary tasks like picking up dog poop.
In an interview with Vanity Fair released on Wednesday, she said life after the split in September last year was focused on looking after her health and her children.
"I actually feel more of a woman because I feel like I'm being smart about my choices, and I'm putting my family first, and I'm in charge of my life and my health. I think that's what makes a woman complete," the 42-year-old said.
She recently directed First They Killed My Father, a film adaptation of Loung Ung's 2000 memoir about surviving the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, which was responsible for the deaths of nearly two million Cambodians. The movie arrives on Netflix in September.
Apart from promoting the film, Jolie said she had no interest in working on another movie right now.
She has primary custody of her six children with Pitt, 53, pending a final settlement of their divorce.
"I'm just wanting to make the proper breakfast and keep the house," she told the magazine. "That's my passion. At the request of my kids, I'm taking cooking classes. As I go to sleep at night, I think, 'Did I do a great job as a mom or was that an average day?'"
She said: "I've been trying for nine months to be really good at just being a homemaker and picking up dog poop and cleaning dishes and reading bedtime stories. And I'm getting better at all three."
She recently moved into a US$25-million (S$34-million), six-bedroom, 10-bathroom home in the Los Angeles neighbourhood of Los Feliz with her children, Maddox, 15, Pax, 13, Zahara, 12, Shiloh, 11, and twins Vivienne and Knox, nine.
Having joked to Knox about pretending to be normal, Jolie recounted with pride how he replied: "Who wants to be normal? We're not normal. Let's never be normal."
She also said she had been determined to shield the children.
"I do not want my children to be worried about me. I think it's very important to cry in the shower and not in front of them."
She was not particularly forthcoming about the split, but said "things got bad" between her and Pitt, her partner of 12 years, last summer. "I didn't want to use that word. Things became 'difficult'," she told Vanity Fair.
But she hit back at rumours that he had grown weary of the family's frequent travelling and wanted a more stable life for the children.
"That was not the problem. That is and will remain one of the wonderful opportunities we are able to give our children.
"They're six very strong-minded, thoughtful, worldly individuals. I'm very proud of them."
Asked if her relationship with him had improved since their very public separation, she offered a careful response: "We care for each other and care about our family and we are both working towards the same goal."
She revealed that she was diagnosed with hypertension last year, as well as Bell's palsy, a weakness in facial muscles that can cause one side of the face to droop slightly.
She said acupuncture had helped her fully recover from the condition.
"Sometimes women in families put themselves last until it manifests itself in their own health," she told the magazine.
Her interview appears in the September issue of Vanity Fair, out on newsstands on Aug 8.
WASHINGTON POST, REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE