Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie were married for a short three years, which was on par for Thronton’s four previous marriages, the longest of which lasted only four years.
They wed in 2000 after meeting on the set of Pushing Tin in 1999. Thornton was already father to three children before he tied the knot with the Tomb Raider star.
Immediately after their divorce in 2003, Billy was pretty candid about what split them up, taking virtually all the blame while also silencing infidelity rumors.
In a 2004 interview with NBC News, he admitted that his ability to find and hold onto love is hindered as he tries to “rescue” his partners and “expects them to rescue me”.
Regarding being married five times to no success of longevity, he said, “All I can say is at least I was trying. Because I believe in romance. I believe in love. Angie was the only person that I ever had a chance with. And I screwed that up.”
“Angie” being Jolie, to which Thornton said their divorce was “all my fault”. He explained that the cheating rumors that had gone around amid their split were untrue, and insisted that his “fear” is what split them up, saying, “I walked away. I left that relationship in fear.”
“I was afraid of her,” he continued. “She was too beautiful for me. She was too smart for me. She had too much integrity for me. I felt so small next to her.”
Being 20 years her senior, that was just one of the many criticisms their relationship suffered from the media. One of the more notable instances was how the couple wore a vial full of each other’s blood in a locket attached to a necklace. But Thornton insists it wasn’t that big of a deal.
“The necklaces were a very simple thing: ‘Hey, let’s poke our fingers with a pen and smear a little blood on there, and when we’re away from each other we’ll wear the necklace.’ It was that easy,” he said in a 2018 interview for HFPA in Conversation. “But by the time it came out in the press, it sounded like we were wearing a bucket of blood around our necks.”
But in that recent interview, he said that he and Jolie remain friends, even all these years later and after both have since remarried.
“That was a great time,” he said of their three-year marriage. “Angie is still a friend of mine and she’s a great person and she’s done so much. 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. And I remember our time together has really been great.”
“We just had different lifestyles,” he added. “Hers is a global lifestyle and mine is an agoraphobic lifestyle. So that’s really, that’s the only reason we’re probably not still together.”
Not only do Thornton and Jolie remain close, but Billy’s son Harry – who Jolie acted as stepmother to – has nothing but good things to say about her and shared that she still sends him Christmas presents every year.
“To this day, she still sends me Christmas gifts every year and stuff like that,” Harry told ET last January. “I don’t talk to her on the phone every day but every now and then we talk.”
Reminiscing on their brief time spent together, Harry said, “She was so cool.”
“She took us camping every week and she rented, like, a RV one time, and we went on a full camping trip,” he added. “She was just so fun for us back when we were, like, younger. Like, she was a lot of fun.”
Nowadays, Jolie has recently divorced her Mr. & Mrs. Smith co-star, Brad Pitt, while Thornton has been happily married for nearly a decade to actress Connie Angland.