Is Angelina Driven to Be a Compulsive Mother?

Angelina Jolie's compulsion to have babies could spell trouble, experts say.

ByABC News
February 10, 2009, 8:21 AM

Feb. 27, 2008 — -- As Hollywood buzzes about whether actress Angelina Jolie is expecting her fifth (and second biological) child, some observers are asking whether celebrities such as Jolie who collect babies is a sign of deeper problems.

"Following a bout with depression, the compulsion to have kids can be a way of self-medicating," California psychologist Lara Honos-Webb told "In essence -- a distraction and diversion from the inner feeling of emptiness."

Jolie, who has been universally hailed for her humanitarian work, has had her share of troubles. Raised by her mother, Jolie has been estranged for years from her actor-father, John Voight.

She has spoken publicly about cutting, an obsession with mortuaries (she wore a vial of then-husband Billie Bob Thorton's blood around her neck) and dalliances with women. Even her fluctuating weight and a televised kiss with her brother have been the subject of speculation.

Studies from NYU's Center for Advanced Social Science suggest that children from large families don't fare as well because "parental resources are a fixed pie, and children do better when they get more attention [and money]."

Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, a child psychologist from Columbia University's Teacher College, disagrees. "There is no real research, it's mostly anecdotal," she said. "But basically the kids are fine."

Not all large families spell trouble, according to Gunn. She cites one of her close friends who had 11 children. The family was the centerpiece of a chapter in a book by Bill Damon, one of the nation's leading thinkers on the moral development of children.

Twice-divorced, Jolie, 32, currently lives with actor Brad Pitt, 44, in a relationship that has attracted worldwide media attention. Last year, she told Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" that she might have "between seven and 13 or 14" children and that Pitt has expressed similar enthusiasm.

Jolie's family is as ethnically diverse as the United Nations, where she works on behalf of refugees. The megastar couple has three adopted children, Maddox (Cambodian), Pax (Vietnamese) and Zahara (Ethiopian), as well as a biological daughter, Shiloh.

Her manager, Geyer Kosinski of Media Talent Group, did not respond to questions from about the latest pregnancy rumors, but Jolie's new baby bump was on display in a curve-hugging black dress at the Film Independent's Spirit Awards this week.