Angelina Jolie is "surprised" by how much she enjoys motherhood.

The 'Tourist' actress - who raises adopted children Maddox, nine, Pax, six, Zahara, five, and biological kids, Shiloh, five, and two-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne with partner Brad Pitt - never imagined having kids, and says her maternal feelings deepened further when she embarked on a relationship with the actor in 2005.

She said: "It's been one of the great surprises of my life. When I was younger I never imagined being a mother and then those maternal feelings really evolved and deepened once I began adopting and started living with Brad, which made me want to have children of our own.

"I feel truly at ease when I know I've helped give them a safe and hopeful life. A big family can generate a lot of chaos, but it's also a source of inner peace - the best feeling in the world. I'm much less anxious about life and so much more light-hearted and carefree."

In order to cope with the "chaos" of family life, Brad and Angelina have learned the best ways to share childcare.

She explained in an interview with Britain's OK! magazine: "Brad has always had a very close relationship with Mad and I tend to let him look after the boys and take care of discipline while I keep the girls in line!

"Sometimes they try to play one parent off against the other but Brad and I maintain a united front. It's the same rules whether it's mommy or daddy laying down the law."