Billy Bob Thornton shocked everyone when he suddenly left his fiancée, actress Laura Dern, for another woman. Dern was really surprised and her life got turned upside-down. She needed time to recover from the shock.

Thornton marrying Angelina Jolie, who was twenty years younger than him, threw a wrench in Dern’s relationship plans.

According to E! Online, Thornton and Dern started dating in 1997. It was right after Dern split up with Jeff Goldblum and while Thornton was still getting divorced from his fourth wife, Pietra Dawn Cherniak.

Back in the 1990s, Thornton and Jolie, who was known for being wild, met while filming Pushing Tin in 1999. They didn’t know they would get married just a few months later. At that time, Thornton was engaged to Dern, and Jolie was dating Timothy Hutton. In May, they got married in L.A. with a minister. Jolie was 24 years old then.

In the first year of their marriage, they were very open about their love: Jolie got a tattoo of Thornton’s name, they wore vials of each other’s blood, and showed lots of affection in public. But their relationship didn’t last long. They had problems in less than two years.


Talking to InStyle, Dern talked about her sudden breakup with Thornton. She said, “I left our home to work on a movie, and while I was away, my boyfriend got married, and I’ve never heard from him again.”

In a 2021 interview, Thornton showed regret but didn’t openly admit to doing anything wrong, according to The Mirror. He said, “Others may say that you left our girl and married someone else. But it made me happy and somebody else happy. I’m sorry it caused pain.”

According to Yahoo, Dern and Jolie had a connection from before. Dern used to babysit Jolie when they were younger, which adds a surprising twist to the story.

Laura’s dad, Bruce Dern, remembered that time. He said, talking about the 1978 movie Coming Home, “Jon Voight’s a friend of mine, so I remember Laura babysat one night for Angelina when Angelina was 2 and Laura about 8 … because Jon and I were doing Coming Home. They were staying over at [director] Hal Ashby’s house, so they asked [Laura] to come over [to watch Angie].”


After the sudden breakup, Dern got support from her friend Melissa Etheridge. Melissa helped her move out of the house she shared with Thornton.

Melissa talked about this on Andy Cohen’s radio show. She said, “I was there when Angelina wasn’t nice to Laura because of Billy Bob. I went through that personally. I also know Jennifer and Brad’s side. I helped Laura move out of her house with Billy Bob. I had to break in to get their stuff out because it was so bad.”

Later, Dern married Ben Harper and they had two kids. Recently, she’s been linked to former NBA star Baron Davis.

Thornton and Jolie got divorced in 2002. He hasn’t dated any celebrities since then. In 2014, he married Connie Angland, a puppeteer.

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