Jolie says that her decision to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed as a cancer prevention tactic was greatly influenced by her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, who died after a long battle with cancer. She told Tom Brokaw on Today that she even shared some of the same doctors and nurses as her mother.
"The doctor that did my ovary surgery was my mother's doctor. And apparently my mother had said to her, 'Promise me you will take Angie's ovaries out,'" Jolie explained. "So when we kind of got together, we both had a big cry, and she said, 'I promised your mother, and I gotta do this.'''
In 2013, eight years after Bertrand's death and months prior to the death of Jolie's aunt from breast cancer, the 40-year-old actress underwent a double mastectomy. In March of this year, after a blood test showed she may have signs of early-stage ovarian cancer, Jolie also had her ovaries removed.
"I was out in France, and Angie called me and I got straight on a plane to return,'' Pitt recalled of hearing the news of his wife's latest procedure. "Seeing my wife have to be her strongest and knowing that it's the scariest news is terribly moving. And not being there is a horrible feeling."
The actor applauded his wife for her courage. "There was no vanity to my wife's approach,'' Pitt said. "It was mature. 'This is our life and we're gonna make the best of it.' There was a strength in that. It was just another one of those things in life that makes you tighter, and she was doing it for the kids, and she was doing it for her family so we could be together."
Jolie also doted on her husband and his support during her health scares. "I knew through the surgeries that he was on my side and that this wasn't something where I was gonna feel less of a woman because my husband wasn't gonna let that happen,'' she said. "To face these issues together and speak about them and talk about what it is to be human, I think can be a beautiful thing."
The couple's TODAY show interview was a rare joint interview with the two that showcased their ease with one another. By the Sea will be the first movie the two have starred in since Mr. and Mrs. Smith in 2005.
"We were joking at one point,'' Jolie said. "We were saying, like...'See, this is the beginning. And then this is ten years later. This is what 10 years of marriage will do to you.'''
While they are touted as having one of the most solid relationships in Hollywood, Jolie admits that she's not as domestic as she'd like to be. "Every three months I'll say, 'Honey, I think I should learn how to cook,''' the mother-of-six quipped.
"I just humor it,'' Pitt responded. "But really, she has no business in the kitchen."