More than ever, the enigmatic Jolie, 29, is keeping people guessing. When she was first swept up in the media maelstrom surrounding the breakup of Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt (her Smith husband), Jolie was in Niger filming a documentary and was stunned to hear of the split, sources say. She lay low for a few weeks at her home in England, then made plans to head for Davos, Switzerland, where at press time she was scheduled to speak about humanitarian issues at the annual World Economic Forum. In other words, just another episode in the life of Jolie, the only star in Hollywood who barely blinks at juggling tabloid covers, single motherhood and an address to 2,000 power brokers (including Bill Gates and 25 heads of state). So potent is her charisma that even gossip that she came between the much beloved Pitt and Aniston (both Pitt and Jolie have denied an affair) won't dent her career, showbiz insiders say. "I don't think the rumors will hurt her one iota," says one industry source. "She has too much talent and too much beauty."
When she's not traveling the globe (see box), Jolie maintains a surprisingly low profile in the Buckinghamshire countryside, where she moved into a $4 million house nearly two years ago. Some 30 miles outside London, the cozy village (population 300) has provided a welcome respite for the actress, who occasionally turns up at local pubs the Black Horse and the Stag. "She doesn't act like a Hollywood star," says one area resident. "Other than the fact that she is very beautiful, you really wouldn't pay her much notice." Last fall she made two trips to nearby Legoland with Maddox, who got an even bigger treat for his third birthday last July: Jolie, who recently earned her pilot's license, took him flying.
Of course the actress also makes time for adult pursuits: Last month she was spotted leaving the upscale sex-toy shop Coco de Mer in London's Covent Garden, two bags in hand. As always, the twice-divorced actress (from actors Jonny Lee Miller and Billy Bob Thornton) continues to lead a love life that's as openly unconventional as she is. Last summer she denied talk that she and her Alexander costar Colin Farrell were an item; instead she often speaks of the "lovers" with whom she trysts rather than engaging in a serious ongoing romance. "I mainly have two. I've known them for a long time," she told the Sydney's Sunday Telegraph last month. "I think there's nothing wrong with that as long as you have safe sex and you don't confuse your family and you don't confuse someone else's family."
Her own family situation—specifically her relationship with her actor father Jon Voight, 66—remains strained (mom is former actress Marcheline Bertrand, 54). After attempts at reconciliation, she and Voight have been estranged for two years. "I don't hate him," she told the Philadelphia Daily News in November. "I simply feel we only have so much energy in this life."
Jolie would seem to have more than others. Still fervently committed to her United Nations work, she visited Darfur in October to bring attention to Sudanese refugees and is also busy producing A Moment in the World, a documentary for which she sent cameras and celebs such as Jude Law and Bai Ling to 38 locations around the globe. As for her movie career, she has no projects lined up because "there's no great thing that's worth kind of stopping my life for," she says. Instead she is looking ahead to possibly adopting again ("I haven't met a child. I'm always in the process") as she continues to dote on Maddox. While shooting Mr. and Mrs. Smith, "she was like, 'Yeah, pretty much every break I get I try to come back here and play with him,'" says costar Huntley. "She was just a proud mom." PTA meetings can't be far behind.
Michelle Tauber Neil Michael in London, Brenda Rodriguez, Kwala Mandel and Amy Longsdorf in Los Angeles