Angelina Jolie’s had a big year. Not only did she celebrate her 40th birthday and tie the knot with Brad Pitt, but she also revealed in March that she underwent surgery to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes to reduce her chances of developing ovarian cancer.
It’s the star’s second round of major surgery: She had a preventative double mastectomy in 2013 after a blood test showed she had an 87 per cent risk of developing breast cancer.
The actress’ mum died at the age of 56 battling both breast and ovarian cancer, prompting Jolie to prioritise her own health. And rather than keep her brave choices quiet, she’s shared them with the world in an effort to make more women with a high chance of developing cancer aware of their options.
After her second surgery, she opened up about her decision in the New York Times, writing, “I feel feminine, and grounded in the choices I am making for myself and my family. I know my children will never have to say, ‘Mom died of ovarian cancer’.”
One side effect of the procedure was that it triggered early menopause for the actress – which usually doesn’t start until a woman’s approximately 51 years old. But rather than struggling with it, Jolie has revealed that she’s perfectly happy.
“I actually love being in menopause,” she told Australia’s Daily Telegraph. “I haven’t had a terrible reaction to it, so I’m very fortunate. I feel older, and I feel settled being older.
“I feel happy that I’ve grown up. I don’t want to be young again.”
It helps that her husband’s been incredibly supportive, she adds.
“[Brad] made it very, very clear to me that what he loved and what was a woman to him was somebody who was smart, and capable, and cared about her family, that it’s not about your physical body,” she says.
“So I knew through the surgeries that this wasn’t going to be something that made me feel like less of a woman, because my husband wouldn’t let that happen.”