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How Maddox’s smile won over Angelina Jolie and made her choose him

Angelina Jolie’s friend and former Cambodian business associate, Sarath Mounh (pictured)  helped the desperate Hollywood star push through Maddox’s adoption by becoming his adopted father

Angelina Jolie’s former right-hand man in Cambodia – who helped the desperate Hollywood star push through Maddox’s adoption by becoming his adopted father – reveals why she chose her son out of the hundreds of orphaned babies in the country. 

Maddox turned 20 on August 5, and the actress’ friend and former business associate, Sarath Mounh, tells DailyMail.com he couldn’t be more proud of the way he’s turned out.

Angie faced a red-tape headache with the adoption back in 2002 and asked Sarath to help her out by acting as Maddox’s dad on his adoption court documents.

Maddox was also added to Sarath’s family records, which shows that Maddox was his third child.

Having a Cambodian father cut through many of the legal problems Angie faced as a foreigner especially as there was a government crackdown on international adoptions due to baby trafficking.

Sarath says he then signed a document for Angie to adopt Maddox from him.

Now he reveals why the 46-year-old wanted to adopt from Cambodia after falling in love with the place when she filmed Tomb Raider there in 2000.

Sarath tells DailyMail.com that baby Maddox was 'clever, sharp, smart, a lovely kid, who smiled at people more than any of the other babies'

Sarath tells DailyMail.com that baby Maddox was ‘clever, sharp, smart, a lovely kid, who smiled at people more than any of the other babies’

'When she visited the [orphanage] and saw Maddox, he smiled at her and got up, instead of crying like all the other babies,' Sarath said. 'He was smiling right at her, it touched her heart, that's why she chose Maddox'

‘When she visited the [orphanage] and saw Maddox, he smiled at her and got up, instead of crying like all the other babies,’ Sarath said. ‘He was smiling right at her, it touched her heart, that’s why she chose Maddox’ 

'There are a lot of children in the world that need good care, need a better life. By that time, she wanted to be a mother, but thought it was better to be a mother to some baby who desperately needs good care,' says Sarath. He's pictured in Cambodia (right) with Angie and Maddox in 2003

‘There are a lot of children in the world that need good care, need a better life. By that time, she wanted to be a mother, but thought it was better to be a mother to some baby who desperately needs good care,’ says Sarath. He’s pictured in Cambodia (right) with Angie and Maddox in 2003

Sarath (pictured) tells DailyMail.com why Angie specifically chose Maddox when there were hundreds of babies up for adoption in the developing country

Sarath (pictured) tells DailyMail.com why Angie specifically chose Maddox when there were hundreds of babies up for adoption in the developing country

Sarath tells DailyMail.com why Angie specifically chose Maddox when there were hundreds of babies up for adoption in the developing country.

‘There are a lot of children in the world that need good care, need a better life. By that time, she wanted to be a mother, but thought it was better to be a mother to some baby who desperately needs good care,’ says Sarath.

‘That’s why she decided on Maddox rather than a biological baby. That’s what I heard from her, we talked about everything.

‘He was clever, sharp, smart, a lovely kid, who smiled at people more than any of the other babies. I always remember his smiley face.

‘As far as I understand from her, when she visited the place [orphanage] and saw Maddox, he smiled at her and got up, instead of crying like all the other babies.

‘He was smiling right at her, it touched her heart, that’s why she chose Maddox.’

Maddox and Angie are pictured at the "First They Killed My Father" premiere during the 2017 Toronto Film Festival. The whole family also visited Cambodia for a screening of the film

Maddox and Angie are pictured at the ‘First They Killed My Father’ premiere during the 2017 Toronto Film Festival. The whole family also visited Cambodia for a screening of the film 

Maddox, who has the last name Jolie-Pitt after Brad Pitt, is seen in 2006 with his parents and sister Zahara - also adopted - in Mumbai

Maddox, who has the last name Jolie-Pitt after Brad Pitt, is seen in 2006 with his parents and sister Zahara – also adopted – in Mumbai 

Three of the couple's six children are adopted, while the other three, Shiloh and twins Knox and Vivienne are biological. The family are pictured in Tokyo

Three of the couple’s six children are adopted, while the other three, Shiloh and twins Knox and Vivienne are biological. The family are pictured in Tokyo 

Sarath has no regrets with personally helping out Angie by becoming Maddox’s father. They had become pals after Sarath’s non-profit worked alongside the Maddox Jolie Pitt Foundation on conservation issues.

‘Baby trafficking was very bad at that time in Cambodia, a lot of legal issues needed to be covered and she didn’t want it to go wrong,’ says Sarath.

‘My role as a friend and colleague, I was there to help with the legal issues and register Maddox as my adopted son, then I signed a legal document for her to adopt Maddox from me. I don’t know why they wanted me to help, or how they got into that position.’

Now Sarath hopes that Maddox and Angie can stay true to her word that Cambodia will always be a part of Maddox’s identity.

The whole family visited Cambodia for the premiere of her directorial debut First They Killed My Father in 2017, with Angie saying: ‘We’ve been coming back and forth for 17 years, it feels like a second home to me. The children have close ties to the children here, many of them are their best friends. Maddox is happy to be back in his country.’

Maddox was added to Sarath's family records, which shows that Maddox was his third child, before Angie adopted Maddox from him

Maddox was added to Sarath’s family records, which shows that Maddox was his third child, before Angie adopted Maddox from him 

This is Maddox's court certificate which states that Angelina Jolie's fixer in Cambodia Sarath was named as Maddox's father

This is Maddox’s court certificate which states that Angelina Jolie’s fixer in Cambodia Sarath was named as Maddox’s father

Sarath adds: ‘Cambodian people, we were proud and happy for him growing up in such a high class life. Many others in the population don’t get that chance. We’d love him to go back and understand his culture.

‘She was planning to return as much as possible, it was going to be the second home for Maddox.

‘He grew up in a modern life, if he could make a contribution back to his own people, that would be very nice. If he could learn about his heritage and culture, how he came to be in the orphanage – a horrifying part to his early life.

‘He could have turned out to be a street kid, a lot of them fall through the net and go out into drug addiction, glue sniffing. The orphanage system in Cambodia is not well managed, a lot of the kids are not protected, donor money only goes so far, and the government doesn’t do anything.

‘He is a lucky boy compared to many, many in Cambodia. It would be nice for him to come back and help the community.’

Recently, Maddox's adoption has received widespread publicity after The Sun revealed that fellow Cambodian adoptee Elizabeth Jacobs was making a documentary to find out the truth about adoptions at that time in the late 90s/early 2000s, entitled The Stolen Children

 Recently, Maddox’s adoption has received widespread publicity after The Sun revealed that fellow Cambodian adoptee Elizabeth Jacobs was making a documentary to find out the truth about adoptions at that time in the late 90s/early 2000s, entitled The Stolen Children

'Society is not much different since Maddox was adopted,' Sarath says of Cambodia. He fled the country and now lives in Canada

‘Society is not much different since Maddox was adopted,’ Sarath says of Cambodia. He fled the country and now lives in Canada 

Recently, Maddox’s adoption has received widespread publicity after The Sun revealed that fellow Cambodian adoptee Elizabeth Jacobs was making a documentary to find out the truth about adoptions at that time in the late 90s/early 2000s, entitled The Stolen Children.

‘People ask me if I know if Maddox’s parents are still alive and I have no clue,’ adds Sarath, a father-of-three, who now lives in Toronto.

His family was forced to flee the south East Asian country when the current prime minister Hun Sen banned the opposition party Cambodia National Rescue Party in 2017 and threatened to put its high-ranking members, such as Sarath, in jail.

‘Society is not much different since Maddox was adopted,’ he says.

‘But the political and diplomatic issues have got worse. I can never go back, unless the government changes. If they are still in a dictatorship, I can’t go back at all. That’s not just me, a lot of opposition members are exiled right now.’


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