The actress opened up about the diagnosis in a new interview with Vanity Fair. Jolie was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy and hypertension last year as a result of damaged facial nerves, causing one side of her face to droop.
“Sometimes women in families put themselves last, until it manifests itself in their own health,” she said.
Jolie revealed that she went into menopause following her preventative double mastectomy and oophorectomy (removal of her ovaries).
“I can’t tell if it’s menopause, or if it’s just been the year I’ve had,” she joked. “I actually feel more of a woman, because I feel like I’m being smart about my choices, and I’m putting my family first, and I’m in charge of my life and my health. I think that’s what makes a woman complete.”
Jolie also opened up about her high-profile split from Brad Pitt and how their six children are doing.
“It’s just been the hardest time, and we’re just kind of coming up for air,” Jolie said. “We’re all trying to do our best to heal our family.”
The couple were together for 12 years, for two of which they were married, before splitting in September. Jolie said that her marriage began to crumble last summer, way before they officially ended things.
“Things got bad,” she said. “I didn’t want to use that word. … Things became ‘difficult.’ ”
“[Our lifestyle] was not in any way a negative,” she continued. “That was not the problem. That is and will remain one of the wonderful opportunities we are able to give our children … They’re six very strong-minded, thoughtful, worldly individuals. I’m very proud of them.”
Yet she admitted the divorce has been tough on Maddox, 15, Pax, 13, Zahara, 12, Shiloh, 10, and twins Vivienne and Knox, 8.
“They’ve been very brave,” she said. “They were very brave.”
After Jolie filed for divorce, reports of alleged child abuse surfaced and prompted the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services and the FBI to launch an investigation. The investigation concluded that there was no evidence of abuse, and the former couple later released a joint statement expressing that they would “act as a united front” while moving forward in their divorce.
“We care for each other and care about our family, and we are both working towards the same goal,” she said of her current relationship with Pitt.
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