Angelina Jolie has always been a mega-babe and respected actress in Hollywood, but celebrities are just like us — they have health struggles and issues in life that the rest of us have to put up with, regardless of being insanely wealthy and recognized in every household around the world. Jolie herself has quite the impressive list of accomplishments under her belt, and while it seems from the outside like she can do it all, the actress has suffered some health scares that have changed her life forever.
Unlike some stars who keep this info under the radar, Jolie is open about it, and able to spread awareness on it. Her own mom died from ovarian cancer at only 56 years old, and since Angie is a mom of 6 herself, she’s prioritized herself.
Here are all the health issues that this seemingly perfect A-lister has had to deal with over the years, and how she’s inspired her community and the rest of us.
In 2013, Angelina wrote a guest essay for the NYT opening up about the double mastectomy surgery she had, and how it was a major way to prevent breast cancer. It involved multiple procedures that took three months to complete. Dropping cancer risks to under 5%, but many women with the same “faulty gene” as Angie put it in her essay, are scared to undergo this. The gene is known as the BRCA1 gene, which puts women at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer.
She wrote about it, so other women could see it as a viable experience, but also got another scare when her doctor gave her a call about concerning levels in her blood work. She had another surgery, ovary removal (otherwise known as a hysterectomy), which made a big difference. However, the hysterectomy does put a woman into forced menopause, which isn’t easy for anyone. The op-ed drew support from other celebrities such as Mindy Kaling and Kristen Bell, and she received significant public support as well.
Cancer scares isn’t all this strong woman has been through. She had naturally high blood pressure, and due to damaged facial nerves, Bell’s palsy caused Jolie’s face to droop. Acupuncture helped her heal, and she’s a poster-child for both preventative surgery and more holistic alternatives. It’s clear that Jolie is a woman who prioritizes her health, her family, and her general well-being, which is a beautiful message for other women out there.
While this isn’t exactly Angie’s own health problems, every mother out there knows that if it happens to their child, by extension, it feels like it’s happening to them as well. We can’t imagine what this felt like for Jolie. Zahara and Shiloh were the two that had to undergo surgery. Her eldest daughter went in and out of surgeries over the course of 2 months (she didn’t give more details) and said that her younger daughter also had to undergo hip surgery.
In a proud mom moment, Angelina shared that her kids encouraged her to write about this in an essay for Time, since their mom had taught them that undergoing medical challenges and fighting for survival is something to be proud of, and is an inspiring experience to share with others.
In America especially, women are treated like they don’t have autonomy and control over their own bodies. While it’s much easier for a famous person like Angelina Jolie to get treatment and deal with health scares, the star is sending a message that as women, we need to take charge and take care of ourselves, for the sake not just of us, but our families and support systems around us. She’s also encouraged women around the globe to take gene tests more often.
The celebrity’s breakup with Brad Pitt also affected her health, and it’s no surprise that stressful divorce negotiations don’t exactly have the best health repercussions. However, she’s all about putting on a strong face and being a good mom, first and foremost. Since she lost her own mom when she was only in her 30s, it makes complete sense that this would be her priority. Biggest lesson? Self-care is the best route to a healthy mind and a healthy body, so prioritize yourself!
In the words of Jolie herself, “Sometimes women in families put themselves last… until it manifests itself in their own health.”