The Salt actress became hot property in the movie industry after winning an Academy Award for her performance in 1999's Girl, Interrupted, but instead of revelling in all the media attention, Jolie threw herself into her philanthropy work - and she's glad she did.
She says, "Without the balance of doing things that actually matter in the world - and being part of the real world - then I would have been left in a bubble. That would have felt very empty and I probably would have just had a very shallow, horrible life.
"I'm very lucky that I've been allowed to, in the last 10 years, to travel and go into the world and welcomed into areas of the world where I see people and work with people who are survivors of war and refugees and people, just from everywhere and all walks of life and so I have a real view of the real world."
And the experiences have made Jolie all the more thankful for her blessings.
She adds, "I'm very touched and very moved by people and what they overcome. They have always reminded me to just wake up in the morning and be grateful that your children are healthy. Nothing else matters."