"I love directing, but I had a change in my family situation that's not made it possible for me to direct for a few years," the 45-year-old told Entertainment Weekly. "I needed to just do shorter jobs and be home more, so I kind of went back to doing a few acting jobs. That's really the truth of it."
Jolie and Pitt split in 2016 but are still in the midst of their divorce and custody battle.
Jolie stars in the upcoming film Those Who Wish Me Dead, which will be released on May 14, and said that her directing experience has changed how she takes on acting roles.
"In very technical terms, I'm more aware of what the director needs, and what other challenges they're facing, and how many different pieces are moving," Jolie explained.
"Maybe when you're younger and you're having a huge day where you have to be cold and wet and emotional and crying, you're thinking about those things," she added. "Now you've directed and you're older, and you realize that while you are going to be freezing and crying, there's also pyrotechnics going on, or multiple other situations. It pulls you out of yourself."
Jolie added that she was excited to take on a grittier role than what she's used to. "There's nothing about this character that trained in martial arts or did anything special," she explained. "I get pretty beaten up through this."
Earlier this year, Jolie told British Vogue, "The past few years have been pretty hard." She added, "I’ve been focusing on healing our family. It’s slowly coming back, like the ice melting and the blood returning to my body.
"I’m looking forward to my fifties — I feel that I’m gonna hit my stride in my fifties. Though we were on the trampoline the other day, and the children said, ‘No, Mom, don’t do that. You’ll hurt yourself.’ And I thought, 'God, isn’t that funny?' There was a day I was an action star, and now the kids are telling me to get off the trampoline because I’ll hurt myself," the Maleficent star said.