Her unauthorised biographer, Andrew Morton, whose most famous subject was Diana, Princess of Wales, became intrigued after learning that she’d been working in Peshawar, Pakistan – “hardly a place for charity workers, let alone bona fide Hollywood movie stars,” he says.
“We now see her as a humanitarian and a substantial, solid and serious-minded citizen of the world, not the woman who broke up Jen and Brad.” Then, last year she underwent a preventative double mastectomy after testing positive for a gene linked to breast and ovarian cancers, which killed her mother at the age of 56.
This gave Angelina a powerful voice in women’s health.
Indeed, so drastic has been her rehabilitation that Jolie’s status is now among the tiny section of Hollywood stars deemed untouchable.
The pair wore each other’s blood in phials around their necks and for their first anniversary, she bought him his-and-hers cemetery plots in a Louisiana graveyard. By now Jolie was established, winning the best-supporting actress Oscar for her role in Girl, Interrupted.
After the ceremony, she scandalised onlookers by passionately kissing her brother, actor James Haven, and telling the world, “I’m so in love with him”.
On the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, the name stood out from those of charity workers, teachers and civil servants: Angelina Jolie – Honorary Dame Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George, for her campaigning work “for services to UK foreign policy and the campaign to end war zone sexual violence”.