The year she dropped Voight from her name, Angelina Jolie said, "it is not healthy for me to be around my father."
After cheating on her mother and abandoning her as a child, Jon Voight has had a fractured relationship with his daughter, Angelina Jolie for several years, and he has blamed himself in the past for all the "serious mental problems" that Jolie has had.
"She was never normal," Voight once said about his daughter and confessed to having "failed" her even after reaching out.
The cracks in their complicated relationship formed right from when Jolie was young. The actress was only a baby when her Oscar-winning father abandoned her and her brother, James Haven, after cheating on their mother, Marcheline Bertrand.
"Jon Voight was a terrible father to her back then. He cheated on her mother. Marcheline was broken-hearted," said Susan Margaret, whose daughter was a childhood friend of Jolie's, as reported by Express. "She told me Jon had emotionally abused her. She said he had a thing for a Hollywood starlet. Angelina had a difficult time growing up with what was going on. She has a lot of hostility toward her dad."
Voight's son, James also spoke about his father in the past and said, "There was a lot of hurt and anger. He put my mum through years of mental abuse," James said.
Having seen the troubles their mother went through to raise two children alone, Jolie revealed that her mother had to give up on her dreams after her father's cheating ways destroyed their marriage.
"When my father had an affair, it changed her life. It set her dream of family life ablaze. But she still loved being a mother," Jolie wrote for The New York Times.
Although Voight missed out on a lot of Jolie's childhood, the father and daughter appeared together in the 2001 movie, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, according to E! News.
When it briefly seemed like things were better in their relationship, Voight told Access Hollywood in 2002 that his daughter had "serious mental problems," as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. In response, his daughter who has also won an Oscar just like her father, dropped "Voight" from her name the same year.
Lamenting their relationship as he spoke with E! News Live, Voight said, "I've had difficulty reaching her... She's been staying away from me because she knows I've been trying to reach her to get help."
Hoping to reach her through his interview, Voight said, "I want to tell Angie that I love her and I want her to get the help she needs."
On the other hand, Jolie told Access Hollywood in 2002, as quoted by E! News, "I don't want to make public the reasons for my bad relationship with my father. I will only say that like every child, [James] and I would have loved to have had a warm and loving relationship with our dad. After all these years, I have determined that it is not healthy for me to be around my father, especially now that I am responsible for my own child."
In 2008, Express reported about Voight wanting to reconcile with his children. "As Jon grows older he’s realising the importance of family, and longs to be a part of his daughter and grandchildren’s lives. It breaks his heart to be kept away," an insider reportedly said.
"There’s nothing Jon wants more than to have his family back together again," added another source. "It kills him to be shunned by his children. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to put this rift behind him."
Years passed and both Voight and Jolie made the effort to repair their on-and-off relationship, and he also had the chance to meet the actress's children. "Jon and I have gotten to know each other — through grandchildren now — [and] we're finding a new relationship," Jolie said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Eventually, Voight became a doting grandfather in the lives of Jolie's children, and became very "hands-on" with them, according to a source close to Jolie. "Jon dotes on his grandkids, he’s got pictures of them all over his house and office," the source told HollywoodLife in 2020 and added, "He’s stepped up in some incredible ways over the past few years and really been there for her and the kids."
Cover image source: Getty Images | Photos by (L) Ethan Miller and (R) Stefan Rousseau