One of the unspoken rules of celebrity journalism is to proceed with care when asking about someone's life off screen, especially when it comes to family and relationships.
Hollywood publicists' default policy is to say, "No personal questions allowed", knowing full well this rarely works in practice because no one really wants to hear actors go on and on about their work and nothing else.
Another rule is this: The bigger the star, the more she can do whatever she wants. And stars do not get much bigger than Angelina Jolie.
The 38-year-old Oscar-winner does not even have a personal publicist, for that matter - very unusual for an actress of her stature, much less a major public figure the actress, director and humanitarian has become in recent years.
Even more surprising is how freely she speaks about her children and their father, her actor fiance Brad Pitt, as Life! discovered when she talked to a group of reporters about her new movie, Maleficent, in Los Angeles last week.
The fact that Jolie is appearing in a film at all is a bit of a novelty these days - her last proper acting job was 2010's The Tourist, a thriller co-starring Johnny Depp that flopped in the United States.
So there is a charge of anticipation in the air as reporters wait to speak to her.
Her face when she enters the room does nothing to diffuse this: serious, intense and inscrutable, as it often seems to be on screen or on a page. It does not help that she is dressed like she is going to a funeral, her fondness for a wardrobe of blacks and greys on display yet again today with a lacy black mini-dress.
This, together with the razor-sharp angles of her stunning features, lend a touch of severity to her beauty and the effect, though impressive, is slightly forbidding.
Despite this, she is asked right off the bat a question about her children. Whereas many actors would flinch or freeze, she answers with alacrity and her demeanour softens instantly.