"The children certainly tie us together, but a relationship won't hold if it's only about the kids," Jolie – whose household includes her and Pitt's six children – tells Parade magazine for its issue out Sunday. "You also must be really interested in each other and have a really, really wonderful, exciting time together. We do. Brad and I love being together. We enjoy it. We need it, and we always find that special time. We stay connected. We talk about it. It's very important."
For the sake of the family unit, she says, "If Brad and I are strong and happy, then our kids have happy parents, and that's the best thing we can give them … Brad knows me completely, exactly as I am, every part of me. He loves me. The kids love me. They know all my flaws and all my oddities. And they accept them. And so I can feel complete."
Certainly, there are domestic duties to share. "He takes the kids to school; he visits me on set with the kids. I'm home for dinner, or I'm there for breakfast. We're together all the time. We plan. Brad and I take time off between films to travel, have big experiences, do things together. That's how we work it out," she says.
"There's never a period when Brad and I are pulled apart. We are not separated for more than three days, ever. We stay really connected. We actually don't go out much. It's funny. We're very homebound. We're very much Mommy and Daddy in our pajamas."
'Love Elevates'Given all she has, Jolie, 35, expresses total happiness. "I feel sad for someone who has never known love. Love elevates," she says. "You know, Brad would joke about me having this conversation about love. Love? It's such a funny word. Brad can find certain phrases of poetry for it. I'm terrible at it. But I know it means wanting the best for the people you love, putting their interests above your own, always. Love does that. Love is what you live for."
Granted, Jolie didn't always come across as so serene. Of her rebellious past, she says, "I used to cut myself or jump out of airplanes, trying to find something new to push up against because sometimes everything else felt too easy. I was searching for something deeper, something more. I tried everything. I always felt caged, closed in, like I was punching at things that weren't there. I always had too much energy for the room I was in."
Singling out one of 13 tattoos (this one an inscription on her arm), she says, "The wild heart caged. I unlocked my cage years ago. I want my children to have that freedom. I want that for other people, too."