Angelina Jolie says her divorce from Brad Pitt was a decision she did not make lightly because it ultimately meant separating her children from their father.

The actress opened up about her heartbreak and the circumstances that led to the split in an interview with The Guardian. She said she came to that point in her marriage because she wanted to keep her family safe, so it took a lot of thinking and effort on her part.

"I'm not the kind of person who makes decisions like the decisions I had to make lightly. It took a lot for me to be in a position where I felt I had to separate from the father of my children," Jolie said as she hinted about abuse happening at home, which ultimately led her to file for divorce.

"Yes, for my family. My whole family," she replied when asked if she feared for her children during the relationship. The 46-year old admitted that she cannot talk in-depth about her experiences with Pitt as she is still in a legal dispute with him over their children's custody. Jolie is seeking sole custody of their six children, with the actor given visitation rights only.

"I... I'm still in my own legal situation. I can't speak about that," she stammered but nodded in reply when asked to confirm the domestic abuse allegations against the 57-year old.

"Often you cannot recognise something in a personal way, especially if your focus is on the greatest global injustices, because everything else seems smaller. It's so hard. I'd like to be able to have this discussion and it's so important," she explained.

Jolie filed for divorce from Pitt in 2016, days after she alleged that he was physically abusive to their eldest son Maddox while drunk on their private plane. She had said the decision was for "the health of the family." Their divorce was finalised in 2019 and when asked how she is doing now, she nearly broke down in tears as she admitted that it has been traumatic and has left her feeling "broken."

"I mean, in some ways it's been the last decade. There's a lot I can't say. I think at the end of the day, even if you and a few people you love are the only people who know the truth of your life, what you fight for, or what you sacrifice, or what you've suffered, you come to be at peace with that, regardless of everything going on around you," she said.

Jolie now wants more than ever for her family to heal and for everyone to move forward, including Pitt. She wants them all to "heal and be peaceful" as she will always consider them "a family."

Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie attends the 'First They Killed My Father' New York premiere at DGA Theater on 14 September 2017 in New York City. Getty