The Villainess Jolie ignores her children until they speak to her in French

All total, I took five years of Spanish in middle school and high school. I never followed up in college, and whenever I’m watching a TV show which employs Spanish whatsoever, I usually get confused about everything being said beyond “Policia!!” (I watch a lot of cop shows.) If I really think hard, I can figure out a portion of what’s being said in casual Spanish conversations. What’s my point? I was never fluent, despite studying it for years. And I let that part of my brain rot away and I regret it. I wish I was fluent in languages. I wish my mind worked that way. I wish I could pick that stuff up with ease. Perhaps it would have been easier if I was bilingual at an early age – when kids are young, their minds are little sponges and they absorb multiple languages faster than adults.

So that’s what went through my mind when I read this weird Star story about Angelina being kind of harsh about her kids learning French – they might not be happy about it now, but they’ll be thankful for it later:

Since setting up residence in France, Angelina is obsessed with making sure her brood speak en Français – or else! In February, eyewitnesses spotted Angie giving Pax and Zahara a stern language lesson while shopping at an Urban Outfitters in LA.

“If they asked Angelina a question in English, she would just turn her back and walk away,” recalls the witness, “Only when they spoke in French would she respond. It was like she was training dogs or something – it was a bit extreme.”

[From Star Magazine, print edition]

Is that “extreme”? It seems like a pretty typical educational tool – as my old Spanish teacher would say, “En Espanol, siempre.” Total-immersion, I believe it’s called. Meaning if you force yourself to speak and use a second language consistently, it will become easier and faster for you. But don’t ask me – to me, “extreme” is putting your kids on a no-carb, no-dairy, no-gluten diet for weeks at a time. Anyway, I kind of doubt this story because didn’t the kids go to Lycee schools where everything is taught in French anyway? Didn’t Brad say the kids were already really great at French?

Photos courtesy of WENN, Fame/Flynet.

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134 Responses to “The Villainess Jolie ignores her children until they speak to her in French”

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  1. Ama says:

    Jolie speaks French?

    Une grande surprise!!!
    Très jolie!!! ;-)

    • Lottie says:

      Her Momma was French :)

      • Georgina says:

        Thats actually not true. Jolie’s mother, Marcheline, was born Marcia Lynne in Illinois. Marcheline’s father was French Canadian and her mother was Dutch/Iroquois. Jolie herself has said her mother was not French.

        Either way, I don’t totally buy this story and even if I did, I don’t think it is extreme.

      • Doofus says:

        Nope. Her mother was born in Illinois. Her father was of French-Canadian descent, but that’s as close to “French” as she ever got. Grew up in IL and CA.

    • lulu says:

      This story is ridiculous, even Angelina has admitted neither she nor Brad have had an easy time learning to speak French, but brags how their children have been able to pick it up so easily. Just another slow JP news week.

  2. sam25 says:

    I know the haters will call it abuse but the best way to learn a language is to speak it all of the time. They did go to that French school for years so they probably speak it very well. Don’t they have a French tutor as well?

    • Emma - the JP Lover says:

      Yes, and Brad did say in a article two or three years ago that the kids are really good in French, especially Maddox.

      I call B.S. on this article.

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      I doubt this story is true but even if it was, how could anyone think this is even REMOTELY abusive?

      Immersion is the best way to learn a language, second to that would be practicing conversational French as often as possible.

      “Oh noes! Her children might learn another language!” *gasp*

      When I was a child my brother and I spoke Frenglish and to this day I still mispronounce certain words because of my mom’s French accent. I wish I spoke French more fluently–I get by but could be MUCH better. Alas, my mom gave up teaching us French (mainly out of frustration) when we grew into ornery pre-teens .

      Guys-it’s good for kids to learn another language besides English. Spanish is probably ideal but French is a beautiful language.

      • MollyB says:

        A friend of mine is fluent in Spanish (although not of Spanish or Hispanic descent herself) and wanted her kids to be fluent in Spanish as well. Anytime they spoke to her in English, she insisted they speak in Spanish and in turn, only spoke Spanish to them. It was perhaps a bit extreme but it wasn’t abusive and her kids are both totally fluent in Spanish as well as English.

    • Leen says:

      Jolie reminds me of my mom! However my mom kind of gave up on German and turned to teach me English.
      First couple of years of my life I spoke solely German, then started learning Arabic and my mom would only speak in German to me and never reply to me when I spoke Arabic. She gave up at some point so now my German is sort of weak. My mom however started insisting on speaking to me in French once I started learning French ( she’s a French teacher).
      So no it isn’t abusive, it’s a great way to learn other languages. Dumb story,

      • Liv says:

        But walking away is a bit over the top isn’t it? Asking your children to speak a certain language though is fine in my opinion :-)

  3. marie says:

    this sounds like complete crap.

    I took fours years of French and only one year of Spanish, yet I remember far more Spanish than French.

  4. lisa2 says:

    Another dumb story.

    Angelina and Brad have both said the children are very fluent in French. That the kids speak it better then she or Brad. In fact she said when the twins started talking they spoke mostly in French.

    but it seems the tabloids are desperate for any story negative or positive. But I’m sure this will give the none fans some fuel to rag on her. There hasn’t been much for them to feed on lately. And ever so often the negative story about Angie has to be thrown out there.

    Total BS

    • V4Real says:

      I also call BS on this story. Even if it was true, big freaking deal. Once we walked in the door of our French Teacher English was out the door. She only spoke English on the first day of class to tell us that we were not allowed to speak English once we entered her room. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for all of us.

    • Seagulls says:

      The way they tried to spin it is negative, but I don’t think any rational person is going to see this as a negative. There’s nothing that screams “BS” about this story – even if the kids are fluent, they need to practice. I had a friend who grew up speaking Tagolog, but his mother died and he’d forgotten it by the time he was an adult.

    • Nancito says:

      Also, it’s not like the kids were telling her that the house is on fire and she refused to crack out the fire extinguisher until they panicked in French.

    • YuYa says:

      If she and Brad suck at french, how is it that their twins spoke only french?

  5. Cinnamon says:

    eh my mom did the same thing to me because she was determined that I be bilingual. It worked so I have no issue with it. In fact, good on Angelina for forcing them to use what they learn in their fancy french “lycee” so they dont end up vapid like the kardashians or hiltons

  6. ellie says:

    I wish I had been raised bilingual… Those are lucky kids! I started learning French as a teenager and am even living here now as an au pair at age 23 and it is bloody hard!

    Kids have sponge brains and can pick these things up much more easily, quickly and with less work. Everyone should try teach their kids another language at a young age!
    Spanish and Mandarin are great ones to learn!

    • Amanda_SB says:

      I know. I wish I had learned a 2nd language at an earlier age. I have friends now with kids in grade school who are fluent in 2 or 3 languages (including Mandarin and Spanish, as you mentioned). They started in pre-school! That is something I cannot even fathom. But good for them. It will definitely come in handy as our global economy continues to grow.

      • lee says:

        yes, I went to an immersion school so I started learning French when I was 5 and now I work primarily in french and my in-laws are francophone so I am very fluent but even having learned the language at such a young age, I think I will always have a slight accent. Most of the people I went to school with rarely use their French now though and I think most of them have already lost a lot of it even after 12 years of immersion.

    • Leen says:

      So true. The best time to learn a new language is when you are a kid. At my school we learnt English as a second language when I was 5 and French when I was 6. Then by the age of 9, we started learning Hebrew. It was hard learning 3 different languages ( plus the native one!) but it paid off. And it actually makes learning new languages a lot easier!

  7. poppy says:

    i would think speaking it would go a lot farther in learning it well than just making your kids watch tv in the language you want them to learn, even if your cartoon dvds were bought in paris.

    • Bored suburbanhousewife says:

      Living in a country or attending a school conducted in Another language is best of course but you would be surprised how tv can help! One friend who moved to Italy told me watching tv had helped him most. I tried it myself on vacation & was amazed how much I picked up. I also know someone who taught himself basic conversational Korean by watching telenovelas on the Internet & practicing with Korean friends.

      It makes sense–how do children learn? They start associating words with images. You point at yourself “Mommy” or to table “table” this is actually the principle behind Rosetta Stone instruction.

      • poppy says:

        i was just busting on goop :lol:

      • Amelia says:

        Rosetta Stone is fantastic, I chose French as my language at school but never really got the hang of it, but that software really helped. We always used to speak in English in our language lessons (because the curriculum said so) and I remember our French teacher would despair over how we had to be taught!
        Whenever we had our French/German exchange partners over, we would be regularly humiliated by their fluency – because in their English lessons, *they only ever spoke English*!
        Really, being in the country is the best way to learn. I worked a ski season in the Three Valleys and when I came back home, I was almost fluent (with a whole load of swear words to boot.)
        In short, Le Villainess Jolie is not torturing her kids.
        Which I think we all knew, anyway :)

      • Amanda_SB says:

        @Housewife & Amelia: I have been tempted to pick up the Rosetta Stone sets for Italian and French, but wondered if they were really worth it. I have tried taking extension courses through the local college at night, but always end up dropping the courses due to work. I am planning a trip to both countries this year. It sounds like you would recommend RS. Are they worth the money and how much time would you think a person should put in daily to be able to at least somewhat converse with those who only speak French or Italian? Thx! :)

      • Amelia says:

        I’d definitely recommend them; if you work with them consistently you should see quite a difference in your language abilities.
        They’re pretty pricey, though. But I’m constantly being inundated with emails from RS about £100 off levels 1-3, so if you sign up to their mailing list you should get a lot of information about sales. There seems to be an offer or sale every other week!
        Rosetta Stone is quite good if you find it difficult to set aside time for it, I used to do maybe 30 minutes in the morning and/or evening and found it still helped.
        Although it’s horses for courses really – I had a friend who thrived off the classroom environment and didn’t have a problem with reciting all the different tenses as a list, but personally I just couldn’t learn like that. Rosetta Stone sort of teaches you as if you were a child learning a language. There are loads of clips on YouTube and I’m pretty certain they’ve got a free demo to try out on their website.
        Best of luck with your travels!

      • minime says:

        @ Amanda_SB: I also used Rosetta Stone to learn German and I think it is really helpful. It has speech recognition, so you can also improve your speaking skills. Only downside, apart from the price, is that you need to pick the grammar part on your own, so it will only be good if you have at least some basic knowledge of grammar rules already. Overall, it is really a good software that makes learning a lot of fun and if you just want to pick a language for conversational purposes it will be more than perfect!

      • Amanda_SB says:

        @Minime & Amelia – Thanks so much for the information. I really appreciate it! I think I’ll start with the French set since that is the language I have most recently studied. I guess Italian will be a bit more of a challenge since I have never studied it before, but maybe I will luck out and can find a hot Italian tutor while I am there. :)

      • Jag says:

        @Amanda, if you live in the States, definitely check out Craigslist and Freecycle to see if anyone near you has the courses you want at a cheaper price. I’ve read that there are different versions that only work with specific software though, so make sure you’re getting the generation that you wish to work with the correct player. Have fun!

      • lulu says:

        Funny, because Brad has even admitted he uses Rosetta Stone.

      • Amanda_SB says:

        @Jag – I do live in the US and had never thought of checking Craigslist (and had never heard for Freecycle, if you can believe that!), so thanks for that recommendation! I’ve gotten Groupons and e-mails from Saveology recently that have been for 50% off. A friend told me to make sure I was getting “the full set,” which I guess is Levels 1-5, and the photo only showed Levels 1-4. I should have e-mailed or called to check on it, but got busy with other things. Those deals come and go so quickly…Next time I’ll know to act quicker. In the meantime I’ll check out CL and Freecycle. Thanks! :)

  8. Blue Jean says:

    Why don’t any of these kids ever SMILE? They all look perpetually angry or miserable.

    • gogoGorilla says:

      Because they are surrounded by a bunch of creepy people yelling and taking pictures?

      I don’t think I’d smile, either.

    • too close says:

      There are many pictures over the years of the Jolie-Pitt kids smiling- as long as the paps aren’t too close, screaming at them, etc. If lookup the video, the paps were being especially gross this day. Yet another reason to admire Brad & Angie is how calm they keep in these situations (many celebs don’t)- their calmness helps keep their kids from melting down.

      • lulu says:

        There’s more pictures of the JP children smiling and laughing than pictures of them looking, what you called “miserable”, but what in reality looks to be just confusion at the chaos of the paps screaming at them and trying to stick their cameras in their faces. At least Brad isn’t holding Viv in one arm and kicking at the paps at the same time, (side eye to Affleck).

  9. mandy says:

    the french is a language very difficult it’s true (i’m french ) same the frenchies
    has sometimes difficulty has to speak true for learn it correctly is needed a rigorous training!

  10. WTH says:

    Well, when I was growing up my Mother did something similar. I am German. On the weekends we had to speak English only. If I asked my Mother or father a question in German they would not respond. It used to piss me off as a child, lol. As a grown-up I thank my parents everyday for what they did. I attended college and now live in the US. I have 2 children and they trilingual. They speak English, German and French. One of the things that pisses me off about the school systems in the US. They do not teach languages starting at pre-k. Children are sponges and they learn VERY quickly. BTW I don’t believe this story.

    • Miss Jupitero says:

      When I was growing up, language instruction began. In 7th grade– age 12! This is idiocy. Pre-k should be the norm for exactly the reasons you cite.

      We really are robbing our children in this country. It is really depressing to see how little we value education.

      I once worked on a school committee for an extremely wealthy school system– it was an area where six car garages on multi-million dollar estates are pretty typical. The school system was facing some pretty serious cuts– cuts that effectively meant cutting out a substantial portion of the guidance department, the sciences, and several language classes. The community had to vote on whether to accept these cuts, or raise taxes a fraction– a $214 tax increase per household (accompanied by other draconian measures including a complete freeze on cost of living increases for teachers and a reduction in spending on health insurance) would have prevented these cuts.

      What does the community do? They voted against the tax increase. “Who needs Latin?”

      Heaven help us if they spend the equivalent of a few dinners out on the education of their own children!

      Their own children! If people won’t do that for their own kids….

    • Tif says:

      We’re very fortunate that our public school district has various schools that are dedicated to language immersion. My husband and I both studied abroad in Germany and had difficulties learning the language as adults. We have our kids enrolled in the German school and it’s amazing what they learn from pre-k and on.

    • Regina Lynx says:

      Whoah, I had no idea that it was so different overseas than what it is here in the Old Continent.

      Where I come from, children usually learn 2-3 different languages at school. One foreign language is obligatory from the second grade (eight-year-olds) onwards, and usually parents coax their kids to pick up at least one more on top of it.

      As a lifelong-learner of languages (I’m training to become a professional conference interpreter), the following is for everyone wanting to learn a new language: It’s never too late to start.

      In fact, the sooner you stop worrying about not having started early enough, the sooner you can dedicate your time and energy for the new language. I’m telling you. I started a foreign language when I was way in my 20s – and now use it to earn a living. It’s. Never. Too. Late.

      • Pirouette says:

        Old Continent?

        Anyway, I was required in high school to learn a language or opt out with a music program. I chose music. I cannot decipher now if that was a good or bad choice! Maybe the problem is that I had to choose one or the other.

  11. Miss Jupitero says:

    Très jolie! I approve! I call this good parenting, and I envy these kids– they are all going to be totally fluent.

    I just spent a few days in Paris and it made my teeth hurt thinking about it: if I could only find a way to live there for a year, I’d be fluent as all hell. Six months even! I wanna relocate! Waaaaaaahhhhhh!

    • Claire says:

      Relocate to Brussels or Luxembourg, might be easier and cheaper.

      • Miss Jupitero says:

        I have a wonderful book called “Getting Out,” which is the ultimate guide to running away from the United States. Andorra was looking very. Inviting. I will look at Brussels and Luxembourg as well!

  12. Miss Jupitero says:

    And French is one of the most beautiful languages on the planet! Keep being cruel, Angelina!

    • cclaire says:

      If you have experience it will be a lot easier to find an English speaking job in Brussels, there are Still unfilled positions in the NATO offices (my mom used to work there, its pretty stressful though). Good luck :)

  13. Miss Kiki says:

    I’m bilingual because of this. If my mum asked me a question I had to respond in the language she asked me or else she would ignore me, she actually did this until I was in my mid teens and therefore at an age where I wouldn’t forget.

    • allons-y alonso says:

      Hi Miss KiKi! I’m bilingual because of this too. I speak spanish and english at home. I’ve been thinking about picking up French as well. My mother speaks a little and it would be good to learn a 3rd language.

      • Miss Kiki says:

        Am I wrong in assuming that Spanish and French are the type of languages where if you know one fluently, picking up the other is easier?

        I really feel for my future kids, I’m gonna force them to learn at least 2 additional languages.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        “Am I wrong in assuming that Spanish and French are the type of languages where if you know one fluently, picking up the other is easier?”

        DEFINITELY. I took 5 years of French followed by 2 years of Spanish. I aced Spanish without ever studying just because I had that foundation from learning French.

      • Miss Kiki says:

        Kitt, I’m tres jealous. I kep harping on about wanting to learn Spanish but I wasn’t even that great at French. How old were you when you started learning French?

      • Miss Jupitero says:

        Miss Kiki, I know a man who passed a French exam without ever studying French– he knew the grammar from studying pother Romance languages, and was allowed a dictionary. It was all he needed.

        I’ve studied Spanish, Italian, and French: each was made easier by studying the others. I’m far from fluet though.

        I could kick the guidance counselor who talked me out of studying Latin. If you have Latin, toucan guess a lot ofvocabularyvery easily.

      • JaneFr says:

        @Miss Kiki. Definitively wrong. I’m french, and from 10 to 22, I learned, English(my first-foreign langage), German, Latin (6year), and Spanish. Later I took a few courses in Japanese, Chinese and Thai To this day the only language I still can’t understand, like at all, is Spanish.

  14. Nemesis says:

    My 6 yoa stepdaughter goes to a French Immersion school. The only subject taught in English is English class.

  15. Claire says:

    I think she’s doing a good thing, I grew up with three languages, my parents just decided to put me in French school when I was 8, I only knew bonjour, it was extreme the first two years but now I get better paid jobs without having even started a degree at university while my friends with fancy masters get half of my paycheck.

  16. epiphany says:

    Bull. Jolie made it clear in an interview on French TV in 2012 that she barely speaks French, despite being of French extraction.
    Must be a slow tabloid news day.
    What next, Aniston’s dog will be her ring bearer?

    • normades says:

      Exactlly. Jolie can’t speak French. If her kids spoke to her in French she wouldn’t be able to understand even a 1/4 of what they said.

      • LoL says:

        Actually she said the whole family was learning French. When she was at some event (I forget) someone said she spoke French to a few people there.

      • Ana says:

        Lol, the event you probably thinking of was a meeting in The Hague for International Court of Justice where witnesses said that she held a conversation in French.

        She definitely speaks French, but maybe she does not speak it perfectly, so she does not speak it often in public. That does not mean she doesn’t speak it with her kids.

  17. NerdMomma says:

    Like training dogs? Uhhh. The eyewitness sounds pretty dumb. That’s just parenting in action. Other posters have experienced this with languages- I think of the way I ignore my children’s whiny requests and refuse to respond until they speak politely. Parenting.

    • mystified says:

      Agree! Many parents use this technique to get their children to speak their first language too. I think it’s fine as long as the child is developmentally ready (not 3 months old) and doesn’t have a true disability. It even works with children with disabilities provided it’s appropriately modified.

  18. AmandaPanda says:

    bilingual parenting requires that the parent speak to the child in only that language. then the kid understands that e.g. they speak spanish with mummy, english at school, french with dad etc. so you need to pick one & stick to it.

  19. Mamasita says:

    She looks like Natalie Portman in the top pic. Did she do something to her face?

  20. sorella says:

    Worked in my household growing up. My Dad who was French REFUSED to answer us when we spoke English which forced us to speak to him in French. It worked, my sister and I are fluently bilingual and where we live (Ontario), we get better jobs and more dollars than uninlingual people I actually feels when people only speak one language (I also speak a bit of Italian). In Europe most speak at least 3 and I was just in Cuba where many Cubans, despite being poor speak 4-5 languages!! So I say KUDOS to the Jolie!!

  21. sorella says:

    Oops..missing word…I actually feel *sorry” when peopel only speak one language.

  22. helen says:

    This is not an educational tool. They should speak French only with their teacher. If they isten to their mother speaking English and French, they will probably get totally confused with both languages.

    • minime says:

      Hi Helen, I think it would only be confusing when kids are too small to understand the concept of different languages. I don’t know for sure the age of the Jolie-Pitt kids, but I think they are all old enough to understand that concept and therefore they would not be confused as long as she doesn’t bounce between one language and the other. Kids can learn languages a lot better than adults because they use implicit learning that is a lot easier than the process that adults use to learn languages. Indeed, for bilingual or multilingual parents they should stick to one language in the first years, but they can actually also use a third language to communicate between each other and the kids will eventually get it that it is different. Consistency is important, but I guess that at this age it is also consistent to say that you will speak French for some hours and stick to it.

      • minime says:

        sorry, my comment was confusing. Not enough coffee today. I meant that when kids are too young, EACH parent should stick to one language (and a third can be already introduced as the language of communication between the two parents). When they are old enough to understand what different languages are, then parents can consistently introduce any new language.

    • dave says:

      Kids are much smarter than you think…
      Children raised bilingually from birth learn to perfectly distinguish the two languages. It ususally takes them a bit longer to start talking as they grasp the basics in two languages but there is never confusion unless you say every first word in one language and every second in the other. But who would?

    • kar says:

      i wonder how children from immigrant households manage to speak multiple languages without confusing them eh? this is a great educational tool, and it’s actually super common in many households; it was how i was raised, and i speak 4 languages fluently.

    • amurph says:

      This is an educational tool. Immersion works really well with foreign languages and it doesn’t impact language development at all, no matter the age. Our brains, for the most part, developed to learn to communicate. It doesn’t affect the ability to comprehend multiple languages at a young age either. Usually kids will create their own pidgin (a hodgepodge of multiple languages) if they know, say, a Spanish word instead of the French word until they can differentiate. While it sounds a bit harsh for her to ignore them instead of saying “en français”, I can understand the desire to have the kids become fluent (though I think this is a non-story and BS).

      I’m a foreign language teacher and while we start the language programs here at 11 years old (middle school), the kids do a lot better when the language is spoken heavily by both the teacher and the students within the classroom. Practice = perfect.

    • helen says:

      I am a teacher and I speak fluently 4 languages. My mother tongue is Greek, a very difficult language.

      What I say is that each parent must only speak one language to the kid and this language has to be the parent’s mother tongue, so that the kid does not get confused and learns the language properly.

      It really has nothing to do with the intelligence.

      The immigrants’ children speak fluently both languages , because their parents talk to them in their mother tongue and they learn the other language at school.

      I once had a student, whose parents were immigrants and talked to him in Greek in order to help him ‘adapt’ easier in Greece. This boy speaks poorly both his mother tongue and the greek language, because he got totally confused!

      • PixieTrixie says:


        Yes! You are absolutely correct about this! I was also a language teacher and this is what the language studies show.

        While Angelina may want her kids to practice speaking, she should be NOT be responding in French, since it isn’t her native language. Best to do that w/their teachers or a tutor.

  23. Eden says:

    My grandmother was French Canadian and lived with us for four years when I was a kid. She spoke to me only in French and when she passed away, I was doing fairly well. Total immersion is a great way to learn, in fact, for many people, it may be the only way. It isn’t cruel and you don’t get confused, you learn.

  24. Feebee says:

    Don’t know if ts true or not but if true I don’t see the big deal. It’s just a part of parenting. I don’t validate my kids doing something I’ve asked them not to do either.

  25. Talie says:

    I agree, her kids will thank her as adults, plus they live in France part of the time so it is a good idea to know the language.

  26. JL says:

    I also had to learn french at a young age, many children in other countries learn alternate lanuages – we are simply lazy in the US, and place no value on classic education.

    So Jolie, works to instruct and educate her children, OMG call the PC police!

    With the likes of Dina, Octo and Goop this is really ridiculous…

  27. Sunnyjyl says:

    Eh, I’ve done the same. My kids tell me they’re fine. No childhood trauma from the ‘ignore until you do what is expected’ method.

  28. mkyarwood says:

    The kids smile. Also, she just sounds like a Tiger Mom afraid her kids will feel they have to try the stuff she did. LIKE ALL MOMS BEFORE HER.

    • Miss Jupitero says:

      Eh, no child ever died from being made work hard at something. I’m not saying one should go to extremes (I think the woman who wrote that Tiger Mom book was nuts) but I think a little of this is very good for children.

      (So speak Miss Jupitero, who never had or raised children of her own, but who has two very cool adult stepdaughters).

  29. elceibeno08 says:

    Children do need a stern hand at times to make them learn. My mom used to make me do my math homework while she was holding a leather belt, and she was not afraid to use it if I started to slack off. Learning a foreign language is so hard for grown ups. I had to learn English when I was 19. It was awful at first. I didn’t even know how to say ‘hello’. But little by little I gained command of the English language because I forced myself. If I was going to live in the US I might as well speak the language.

    • Miss Jupitero says:

      When I studied music, my teacher really hammered it into parents that they would have to make suture the kids practice daily. Some kids do this naturally on their own, I guess, but for most, self-discipline is a learned quality.

      My parents bribed me: if I practiced violin for an hour, I could have an extra hour of reading time. More practice warned me more books. I had no idea how much they laughed about that.

  30. Az says:

    I used to do that to my kids. They are now fluent inthree languages. I don’t see what the issue is.

  31. mkyarwood says:

    I think extreme is the leather belt…

  32. MoxyLady007 says:

    “Mother, mother do you love us? Please mother, tell me, do you love me?” Sobbed little Pax.
    “In French, you miscreant!” Screamed the Jolie
    Not likely. She is being a consistent parent regardless of surroundings – if this story is true.

  33. dahlianoir says:

    Bullshit, she doesn’t speak french. On the other side, if this was true, that’s how kids learn. my son is 3 and bilingual ( french and arabic) I only answer him in arabic because our whole environnement is already french. My mom spoke only english to me, thanks to her I’m trilingual ( if that is ever a word lol)

  34. Nibbi says:

    i actually doubt that she speaks very much french.

    i live in france and saw her at a premiere once… she went on stage before the showing and spoke for about a minute and a half, in english, letting the presenter translate for her. i feel like if she had an easy grasp of the language, she could have busted out a prepared 1 1/2 minute greeting.

    if the kids are growing up in french schools, they quite surely already speak better than she does by this point.

    • dave says:

      Because after all, the level of language you have an one instance in your life is the level you will have forever and always.
      MAYBE SHE IS LEARNING……..??????

  35. Lee says:

    How is this a bad thing? Answer: It’s not.

    Does anyone else get tired of the media constantly writing negative stories about parents who actually ‘parent’?

  36. Ari says:

    i laughed so hard at the caption i just scrolled down to write this LOL now im going to scroll right back up and read the article (im still laughing)

  37. elo33 says:

    I see nothing wrong with this. When my 8 year old step son fails to use proper grammar or speaks like a baby we do this until he corrects himself. He always does quickly. There is nothing worse then a lazy speaker and he will thank us when he grows to be well spoken and confident in speaking with anyone as a result. I think Brad and Angie try to parent as normal and as well as possible, their kids always look happy.

  38. bella says:

    i STILL cannot believe that this is the Jolie in the 1st pic…

    am i the only one who thinks she looks ENTIRELY different???

    i thought it was a pic of stephanie seymour the 1st time i saw it…

  39. valleymiss says:

    I agree with those who say this is a non-story. Immersion is the best way to learn. She’s doing right by the kids to be a little tough with them. Just like eating your vegetables: it’s not always fun at the time, but the dividends make it SO worth it! There’s a lot I’ve hated on Angie about over the years, but this isn’t one of them.

    In other news, I would seriously kill to see a picture of Angie in athletic shoes. I’m not talking cute little Keds…I’m talking like full-on New Balance or Nike. I don’t think she owns anything besides flats, heels, and boots. Papparazzi, get on this! lol

  40. Andrea says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with this but I still just don’t like this woman.

  41. KellyinSeattle says:

    I’m just glad that she and Brad seem like good parents. They don’t famewhore they’re kids. I bet the kids will be very well-adjusted/balanced. Also, love that they treat all the kids the same; no favorites in a blended/mixed family.

  42. katarina says:

    If it is true, it is wrong unless Jolie is fluent in french and feels it as her own mother language. Parent should stick to her own language, her emotional language. She should leave french to teachers/nannies who are native speakers.

  43. Leek says:

    Sorry if I’m repeating but I’ve been around several couples who speak different languages and this is on par for raising bilingual children. She’s doing them a huge favor. Seems like a great mom.

  44. original kay says:

    as if I needed another reason to love Angelina Jolie.. look at her protecting her kids.
    I love it.

  45. DeltaJuliet says:

    I don’t know…I tell my kids I don’t understand them when they start whining and make them repeat in a “normal” voice. Sounds like mine is a poor-man’s version of the same thing :D

  46. Noinin says:

    I’m not sure Angelina Jolie speaks French. But if she did, I’d find that behavior a bit extreme. I’m French, my son goes to a bilingual school (French/German) and his dad is an English teacher… I don’t think we would ever refuse to acknowledge him if he talked to us, and he still makes progress everyday.

  47. Frenzy says:

    I’m quadrilingual and I think learning a language is different for a lot of people. A child’s brain is like a sponge they absorb language/s very fast. In my experience books were not that of a great help. But unlike Angelina if this story is true I was never forced to talk to her in anything other than our mother tongue.

  48. pwal says:

    Errr… isn’t this technique also employed when teaching kids to say please, may I, and any other terminology associated with manners/cordiality?

    Seriously, Star, stop acting like people are brand new.

  49. poola says:

    Yes, but why all the fuss over someone who has never been in a single decent film

  50. Reese says:

    I love this. It isn’t extreme, it’s helpful. I wish I could speak more than one language. One of the things that bothers me the most in this country is the f^cking morons who harp about how english is the only language that should be spoken in the US, and probably the world if they had their way. They condemn shows like Dora the explorer and Ni Hao, Kai-Lan because they think it’s brainwashing. Stupid. My kids will definitely know more than English. Kudos to Jolie. She is a great mom.

  51. normality says:

    I think people can dislike Jolie as an actress, or dislike how she handles certain aspects of her personal life while still being rational. I’ve never enjoyed her acting, but I used to think she was a very refreshingly honest woman when it came to her personal life. She feels very manufactured and affected now. That said, this story is ridiculous. If it is true, then I see nothing wrong with it. I’ve only ever heard that it’s a great way to teach kids.

  52. normality says:

    I’d like to also add that while I think she’s probably as healthy as can be expected, her legs are truly the stuff of nightmares. I don’t remember ever seeing her look so sinewy/bony. She’s always been thin, but she looks frightening in those photos. I hope she’s taking care of herself where she’s got all those children to look after.

    • lulu says:

      Why come on a site just to spew your venom, you have your own rock you climbed out from under, known as the FF site. If you had one brain cell that was functioning, you could look up pictures of Angie from her teen years to now, and you’ll find that her legs have always been slim, as have her arms, but she’s obviously a very healthy woman, otherwise she’d never be able to endure such a rigorous schedule.

  53. Mel says:

    As someone who was brought up in two languages from birth and three from age four, I certainly wouldn’t accuse of her being “harsh” or anything, but the “ignoring” part is unnecessary and possibly damaging (though probably not to a tragic degree).
    Whenever I blurted out something in a language other than the person in front of me wanted, I was simply reminded to repeat everything I said in that language.
    At an age when children still take things mostly personally, emotionally, “ignoring” them unless they speak in a certain language might be counterproductive at best.

    But I wonder if the whole “ignoring” thing isn’t simply an admonition or two blown out of proportion.

  54. tick says:

    Agreed, seems like a pretty standard teaching strategy.

    The gluten/carb/etc-free diet seems way more extreme.

  55. Amy says:

    I speak three languages and I doubt Jolie’s children speak French as well as she thinks they do. The only reason I am 100% fluent in French is because my Father is French (therefore I had a native speaker living with me 24/7) when I was a toddler and then my parents sent me to a bilingual school where I went for the next 9 years of my life. And this was a legit bilingual school–none of that “immersion” stuff I’ve seen advertised. As in the school I attended was approved by the French Ministry of Education in France. I was doing the exact same curriculum a French student in France was doing (curriculum in France is national and everybody learns the same thing nationwide). The immersion schools are not approved by the French Ministry of Education and I can tell you there is a huge difference between immersion schools and legit French-American schools.

    Granted, Jolie has sent her children to various Lycees Francais and those are approved by the French Ministry of Education. But her kids only go a few weeks here and there and it’s not consistent. There may be French speaking nannies that are helping out but it makes a huge difference when you have a native French speaking parent like I did. And neither Brad or Angelina are native speakers. So while it is admirable that she wants to teach her children French, I’m very skeptical as to whether they are “fluent.”

  56. Claudia says:

    Ha, my mom did this to me when I was little. We moved from the Dominican Republic when I was 5 and I quickly learned English. When I would talk in English, she would pretend she couldn’t understand what I was saying unless I spoke to her in Spanish. I used to be so annoyed by that and I’m not sure that tactic was totally effective, but I see the value in the attempt ;) .

  57. StaCat1 says:

    Don’t think I buy this one. i would believe it if Paltrow did somethnign like this…but I don’t see Angelina doing this?
    who knows

  58. EmJo says:

    In an interview in 2012 Jolie spoke about 2-3 sentences in french … she is nice and funny but uuuh (if the article is true) … she should really leave it to her french nannies to practice with her kids otherwise they will copy her strong accent and bad pronounciation. Practicing with children is good, but please with someone who is native or speaks the foreign language fluently.

  59. Ginger says:

    I personally love speaking French and was adept at it in junior and high school. Over the years my skill has also waned so now I listen to Coffee Break French podcasts to pick up conversational French again. I find it frustrating living in the Southwest where Spanish and English are more commonly spoken. The only places I’ve been able to utilize my skill is at a cute French cafe I love to go to and when I briefly worked with a French themed casino. I wish I could find other ways to utilize it more often. I think Angelina and Brad should be commended for teaching their children a second language. I’m sure it’s something they will never regret learning. And later on if they decide to learn another language I’m sure it will be easier.

  60. ella says:

    Her mother was french- why is this surprising?

    • Aagje says:

      Because her mother’s so-called French ancestry is not quite right. Born and bred in the US, admittedly to a French-Canadian parent(s?) but still…

  61. firstwife says:

    I can swear in Polish.

  62. Janet says:

    I took three years of Spanish in high school and two in college but I didn’t become really fluent until I enrolled in the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras for my junior year. After two months of total immersion in the language I started to dream in Spanish at night.

  63. Michelle says:

    It worked for my Chinese speaking abilities, I really had nothing to lose when I was a kid. And thank God my family did that to me, or else learning Chinese now would be too late. So I don’t see how this is extreme.

  64. shazzz says:

    this is bull…Angie has said repeatedly she doesn’t speak French…

    • lisa2 says:

      Not true. She said she doesn’t speak well. I think she and Brad speak better then they let on. I think they just don’t do it in interviews. I have seen reports of FRENCH people talking to them and saying that they both were pretty good. Look Johnny Depp said he lived in France for ages and doesn’t speak French well. He had a French girlfriend.

      I think because they travel so much and are in various countries the French lessons can get off. They were in Italy hearing that language, and then England, and then back to the US.

      but she has never said she doesn’t speak French. She has been heard speaking it so that can’t be true.

      besides this is such a NONE STORY and NO BIG DEAL either way.

  65. Kayla says:

    Well I wouldn’t ignore my children if they’re speaking to me, even if I am trying to teach them a new language. But that’s just me…

  66. Live_laugh_love says:

    My sister is fluent in spanish and has only spoken to my kids in spanish. When I was learning spanish, latin and tagallog my dad woyld only speak to me in those languages

  67. Maritza says:

    So it was the children of the corn’s day out? What happened to the other 3? Just kidding…

  68. mimi says:

    There is no point in learning a language if you are not going to use it regualrly and need to use it.

    Language as opposed to other skills, is not something that will stay with you without usage and your brain is not meant to be able to efficiantly use too many languages as once.

    If one of the parents is a native of that language that would make sense, so will be a case where the grandparents speak that language and will communicate regularly via this language.

    It’s a waste of time if the kids are being forced to use a language in their everyday life if in a coupld of years they will not use it (as they will not be in regular contact with a speaker of this language).

    The effort and the demand from the children sounds superfluous.

  69. Claire Renee says:

    I am skeptical of this story. If children learn at a young age, languages come easy. A former colleague was bilingual French Canadian, his wife of German descent but lived in Anglo-Canadian community…their pre-school age boys spoke German with mom and maternal grandparents; French with dad and paternal grandparents and English with friends. I was amazed at how easily they could go from one language to the other.

  70. Alexandra says:

    I’ve always had an easy time learning foreign languages. Apart from my mother tongue, which is Romanian, I speak English, Spanish, German and French. I think the key to that is to start learning them while you’re in your ‘early years’. I learned German all by myself, just by watching German TV Channels all the time, when I was about 5-6 years old. Somehow, I just started associating images with words – don’t ask me how I did that. I remember that one day, some friends of my parents came to visit and they brought their daughter as well. She could only speak German and my parents had no idea I could speak as well (I was a secretive kid). They thought of letting us together in a room and see what happens and my mother was like WTF? My daughter speaks German? I never studied the language, but reading and hearing others speak in German was enough to be capable enough to subscribe myself to a faculty where all the classes are in German.

    I pretty much learned Spanish the same way. In my country, only animated movies are dubbed, so everything else comes with subtitles. After years of watching subtitled telenovelas (hey, don’t judge me, there weren’t too many alternatives back then), I eventually learned Spanish as well. Never studied it in school, so I had to develop my skills by reading books, forum posts and such. Because I have many Spanish speaking friends and get so much practice, I feel that I am even better at Spanish than English.

    English – same scenario, started watching Cartoon Network and learned the basics, but eventually I studied it in high school and I got better.

    Curiously enough, French is the language I studied the most in terms of years and it’s the language I least feel confident about. I forgot a bunch of things because I didn’t get to practice it, although I’ve been twice to France and my French level is acceptable enough as to not get lost there.

    Also, even though my grandfather was Hungarian and it’s my father’s second language, I don’t think I understand more than 20 words in Hungarian which is quite ridiculous, since it was a language spoken a lot in our house.

    If it’s true what they are saying about Angelina, I don’t find it extreme at all. Not sure how useful it is, since she doesn’t master French, but at least she is trying. They would eventually thank her for that (if it will actually work ;) and moreover, it’s the best time for them to start learning. Now at 23, I don’t think I could learn a new language as easy as I did back then.

    Not to mention that living or preparing to live in a country where English is not the official language can be really difficult if you don’t know at least the basics of theirs. I don’t know if this applies in general or if it only happened with me, but the French are quite unwilling to answer to you in English, even if they speak it and more surprisingly, when I was an exchange student, there wasn’t a single French student who could speak English. I guess that because French and English are the two main languages of the European Union, the French don’t feel the need to master English as well.

    PD: Oh my, this is a long read (and quite possibly, boring as well), I apologize for that.

  71. Mew says:

    Training kids is like training dogs. There’s nothing wrong with her doing that if the kids know what’s up and they surely know. It would be wrong if she rolled up a newspaper and slammed them each time they said a word in English.

  72. telesma says:

    This is actually SOP when you have kids in an immersion language program. Teachers encourage parents to make children speak the language at home to reinforce what they’re learning in school.