Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Jake Frost
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Stanton Daily. Posted by Jake Frost
January 8, 2005
Currently Known For:
$400 Million (Family)
Angelina Jolie's & Brad Pitt's Adopted Daughter
There’s a lot of publicity that comes from being part of a famous family, and there are six children in particular that know that fact very well. Once actors Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt became an item in 2005, they’ve had a total of six children, and all of them have become public figures of their own.
During their relationship, Jolie and Pitt would have three biological children, and Jolie had three adopted children prior to becoming pregnant with first-born Shiloh in 2005. The youngest of the three adopted children is Zahara Marley Jolie-Pitt, who was born in Awassa, Ethiopia on January 8, 2005. For the first few months of her life, Zahara had been raised in an orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia under her birth name Yemsrach.
When speaking with Zahara’s biological grandmother, Jolie was told that the young girl was orphaned due to her parents passing away from AIDS, but it turned out to have been fabricated. Zahara had been very ill as a baby, and her birth mother was only 19 when she gave birth to Zahara after being attacked. In 2017, it was Mentewab Dawit Lebiso that came forward as the mother, saying that she did not know her father (the attacker) and didn’t tell her parents that she was pregnant at first.
Lebiso decided to give up her daughter, saying that “My baby was sick and I was very weak and sick after the birth…I could not look after her. And my mother, uncle and his wife suggested I put her up for adoption. I was so weak I agreed. I agreed that she should be put up for adoption but if I had my chance again I would have kept her.”
Both Jolie and Pitt would end up taking legal guardianship of Zahara, allowing her to grow up in a family that has hundreds of millions of dollars, giving her the life that someone in her situation could typically only dream of. Coming from an impoverished background, Zahara then had access to the best care and resources imaginable, and has appeared to be very happy with her family.
Jolie and Pitt would split up in 2016, but that didn’t mean that one or the other was going to be out of Zahara’s life. The two have been going through a long custody and divorce settlement tangle ever since they announced their separation, but Zahara gets visitations with Jolie and Pitt. In 2018, it was announced that Pitt would be able to get to see Zahara and his five siblings more frequently as Jolie was filming a movie overseas for five months, causing him to cry “tears of joy” according to one source.
We’ve seen plenty of Zahara and the rest of the Jolie-Pitt children before and after the divorce started, including some of the biggest celebrity events and movie premieres. Now 13 years old, Zahara has grown up in front of the public eye and has reportedly been able to handle fame and a parents’ divorce very well.
Zahara would be back in the headlines in 2017 when her birth mother came forward and said that she wanted to see Zahara more often. Lebiso told reporters that “I just want (Zahara) to know that I am alive and here and long to be able to speak with her. I do not want my daughter back, but just to be in contact with her and be able to call her up and talk with her.”
Lebiso revealed that she’s still living in extreme poverty and still in Ethiopia, now in her early 30s. “Angelina has been more of a mother to her than I have ever been,” Lebiso said. “She has been with her since she was a baby, but that does not mean I do not miss her. I miss her all the time. I think about her every day and long to hear her voice or see her face. I know when she has a birthday, but I am sad because I can’t celebrate it with her. I would so much want to celebrate with her on her birthday and other special days.”
Lebiso knows that Zahara is in a good place with Jolie, saying that Zahara “has a life that I could never give her” and that Jolie has been a loving mother. “I want my daughter to stay with Angelina. She is a good mother and all children should stay with her mother…I am not worried about Zahara in this (divorce) as she will be looked after by them both. I know they love the children.” Regarding Pitt, she says that “This is a man who has looked after and cared for my daughter. He is a good man and I hope that they can settle whatever it is between them and move on with their lives.”
Neither Jolie or Pitt have commented publicly about Zahara’s birth mother coming forward, but instead have focused on raising her the best that they can. Now in her teenage years, Zahara is used to the exposure that comes with being the daughter of public figures, and has been able to handle it tremendously throughout the years.