Jon Voight is an outspoken conservative Republican in an industry dominated by liberal Democrats. He has vigorously supported Republican presidents like Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump. This has made him a controversial lightning rod among more left-leaning actors and directors in Hollywood.
Voight’s Support of Donald Trump
Voight endorsed Donald Trump early in his candidacy in 2015. He continued to vocally back Trump’s policies and rhetoric throughout his presidency, even as Trump made inflammatory statements that outraged Democrats and some Republicans.
Statements Supporting Trump
Voight consistently praised Trump, calling him “an extraordinary fellow” who is “funny and has great charm.” He said Trump would “save our America” and “certainly has to change the course” left by President Obama.
|“He’s an answer to our problems… We need Donald Trump to fix this.”
|“He is even-keeled, patient. He gets frustrated when things don’t move fast enough.”
|“The left are radical. He’s not radical… He’s not the racist they try to make him up to be.”
This alienated anti-Trump Hollywood figures, who felt Voight ignored Trump’s offensive rhetoric and policies. They saw Voight’s staunch support as irrational and unfounded.
Hostility Towards Obama and Democrats
In addition to praising Trump, Voight frequently made inflammatory political statements about Obama and Democrats that outraged liberals in Hollywood and beyond.
Extreme Rhetoric About Obama
Voight called Obama a “false prophet” and accused Democrats of “bringing this country down in every way.” He starred in a controversial mini-series criticizing left-wing 1960’s activism called “Chicago 8.” This rhetoric made relations with Hollywood’s liberal establishment even more fraught.
Perception of Betraying Acting Skills for Politics
Some feel Voight sacrificed credibility as an actor to push partisan politics. Rather than focusing on his craft, he wades into divisive polemics unrelated to acting. This damages his standing among those who feel actors should not fixate on politics unrelated to their profession.
Rocky Family Relationships
Voight has been estranged at various times from his famous actor children Angelina Jolie and James Haven, as well as Jane Fonda, Jon’s co-star in several classic films. This estrangement stemmed in part from Voight’s infidelities during his marriages in the 1970s.
Difficult Divorce from Marcheline Bertrand
Voight divorced Jolie and Haven’s mother, actress Marcheline Bertrand, in 1980 after 10 years of marriage. The contentious split was painful for Jolie, driving an emotional wedge between them for almost a decade.
Damage to Relationship with Children
The fallout from Voight’s infidelity and divorce badly damaged his relationship with Angelina Jolie. She cut off contact, later saying “”My father [was] not very good to my mother, but he was my father.” This estrangement lasted until the early 2000’s.
Timeline of Reconciliation With Jolie
Though reconciliation took years, Jolie and Voight repaired their relationship after the death of her mother in 2007. Voight now has public friendships with both Jolie and his grandchildren.
|Voight appears with Jolie after 7 years of estrangement
|Bertrand dies, bringing Jolie & Voight closer
|Voight speaks of pride and love for Jolie
|Voight spends time with Jolie’s kids in Rome
Current Close Relationship
Though the reconciliation had a slow start, Voight now frequently expresses his love and admiration for his daughter’s accomplishments. They’ve presented together at the Oscars, acting like an affectionate father and daughter.
Perception He Is Obsessed With Fame, Money, and Politics Over Family
Some perceive that Voight damaged his family through selfishness – choosing fame, wealth, and conservative politics over being a loyal husband and devoted father. His family history fuels this resentment from some.
Neglect of Fatherly Duties With Young Children
When Jolie and Haven were young, some accused Voight of neglecting fatherhood. Director Hal Ashby allowed Voight to bring his children with him for a role, partially because Voight had trouble finding caregivers while away on film shoots.
Affair With Stallone’s Wife
In the late 1970s, Voight had a public affair with actress Stallone while married to Jolie’s mother. This became tabloid fodder, further contributing to perceptions Voight put his own desires before family responsibilities.
Fixation on Wealth Despite His Success
Though extremely successful, Voight’s obsession with money also irked some. He reportedly haggled over small billing and salary details despite earning millions per movie in films like Deliverance, Midnight Cowboy, and Mission: Impossible. This fueled an image of Voight as self-absorbed and money-grubbing.
Support of Other Controversial Figures
In addition to Trump, Voight has bonded publicly with other far-right celebrities despised in Hollywood, making colleagues uncomfortable embracing him.
Friendship With Dennis Hopper
Voight defended actor Dennis Hopper in the 1970s when Hopper struggled with substance abuse. Hopper became a figure of controversy for his extreme drug-fueled behavior and further alienated Voight from Hollywood moderates.
Connections to Controversial Republicans
Voight has associated himself with other controversial conservative figures:
- Ted Cruz
- Michele Bachmann
- Rush Limbaugh
This further polarized Voight’s reputation and made him unpopular with liberals.
Perception His Recent Work Is Driven More by Ideology Than Craft
Voight’s focus the last 20 years on overtly political films and TV movies makes some question his motivation and artistic vision. To critics, choices seem more driven by ideology than creativity.
The Five People You Meet In Heaven (2004)
His role as “Eddie” in this religious-themed drama struck critics as heavy-handed and overly earnest. They accused Voight of preaching rather than performing.
Reagan: Hostage (2005)
Voight’s uncritical portrayal of Ronald Reagan in this TV movie felt to some critics like propaganda rather than acting. Reviews accused him of lazy hagiography.
Roe v. Wade (2019)
Critics panned this controversial film as crude, biased agitprop. Voight’s acting came across to many reviewers as stilted and overtly politicized instead of nuanced and dramatic.
This weak acting work further cements Voight’s declining appeal to wider audiences beyond staunch conservatives.
Conclusion: Voight Remains Controversial With a Mixed Legacy
Despite age, Voight shows no signs of evolving politically or repairing frayed relationships among Hollywood’s liberal establishment. This cements his status as a divisive figure – beloved by Republicans but increasingly ignored by mainstream culture.
Voight’s early acclaimed acting work and reconciliation with daughter Jolie balance some of these clouds over his later career. But renewed fame with younger audiences seems unlikely given an insular focus on conservative polemics.
As with other stars whose politics overshadow their work, Voight evokes admiration from devoted fans but increasingly indifference from casual viewers. His evolving reputation remains complex and unresolved.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why did Voight divorce Jolie’s mother?
Voight and Marcheline Bertrand divorced in 1980 after 10 years of marriage, in large part because Voight admitted infidelity while away shooting films, causing lasting strife with Jolie.
What damage did the divorce cause with Jolie?
The contentious divorce severely damaged Voight’s relationship with Angelina Jolie. She was estranged and largely cut off contact for almost a decade, reconciling with her father only in 2001 after many painful years on bad terms.
What ended the estrangement between Voight and Jolie?
Voight and Jolie slowly reconciled over the early 2000s after bertrand’s death from cancer in 2007 helped close the emotional distance between daughter and father at a painful time. This rapprochement healed some of the scars from Voight’s inadequacies during her childhood.
Why do critics accuse Voight of putting politics overacting?
In divisive films like Reagan: Hostage and Row v. Wade, critics feel Voight is motivated more by conservative polemics than dramatic craft. To skeptics, he uses acting now mostly as a platform for right-wing ideology rather than artistry.