Before she filed for divorce in September 2016, the actress tapped her husband Pitt, 53, as a lead actor in her 2015 project By The Sea, a film depicting marital drama in which she costarred and directed.
"We had met working together and we worked together well… I wanted us to do some serious work together… I thought it would be a good way for us to communicate," Jolie, 42, told The Hollywood Reporter's podcast Awards Chatter.
Jolie and Pitt met while working together on Mr. and Mrs. Smith in 2005 and in their 12 years as a couple, they welcomed six children. They also got married in 2014.
But despite their seemingly progressing relationship, Jolie suggests their private life was darker than fans expected. And though she planned for By The Sea to heal her relationship, it only made things clearer.
"In some ways it was, and in some ways we learned things," she continued. "But there was a heaviness probably during that situation that carried on and it wasn't because of the film."
"Whatever it was, maybe it didn't solve certain things, but we did communicate something that needed to be communicated to each other," Jolie said.
"Sometimes maybe it appears I am pulling it all together," Jolie confessed. "But really I am just trying to get through my days."
"I don't enjoy being single. It's not something I wanted. There's nothing nice about it. It's just hard," she added.
Since their September split, Jolie has taken over primary parenting duties of their children, Maddox, 16, Pax, 14, Zahara, 12, Shiloh, 11, and 9-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne.
As the couple claims their divorce proceedings continue behind closed doors, Pitt has been open about keeping the children at the head of their priorities.
"I heard one lawyer say, 'No one wins in court—it's just a matter of who gets hurt worse,' " he said during a candid interview with GQ this year. "And it seems to be true."
"You spend a year just focused on building a case to prove your point and why you're right and why they're wrong, and it's just an investment in vitriolic hatred. I just refuse. And fortunately, my partner in this agrees. It's just very, very jarring for the kids, to suddenly have their family ripped apart," he added.