Angelina Jolie's children are the "best friends" she's ever had.

Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie

The 42-year-old actress-and-director - who has Maddox, 16, Pax, 13, Zahara, 12, Shiloh, 11, and nine-year-old Knox and Vivienne with estranged husband Brad Pitt - has never found a source of support like her brood, and they all get along incredibly well.

She said: "They really help me so much. We're really such a unit. They're the best friends I've ever had. Nobody in my life has ever stood by me more."

The 'First They Killed My Father' filmmaker admits it has been a "very, very difficult" time in her household since she and the 'Moneyball' actor split but the children are slowly adjusting to the situation.

She said: "None of it's easy. It's very, very difficult, a very painful situation, and I just want my family healthy. They're getting better."

After splitting from Brad last September, Angelina and the children rented a house for nine months before she splashed out on a new pad in Los Angeles, and she admitted it took a while to make a decision about having to find a permanent new "base".

She told the New York Times newspaper: "It took me a few months to realise that I was really going to have to do it. That there was going to have to be another base regardless of everything.

"That there was going to have to be a home. Another home."

But the 'Salt' actress thinks their stunning new abode is just what the family needed.

She said: "It has a lot of moments. It's happy. Happy and light, and we needed that."

And while Angelina believes people don't always understand her, she doesn't care so long as her children do.

She said: "I never expect to be the one that everybody understands or likes. And that's OK, because I know who I am, and the kids know who I am."