In a candid new interview with The New York Times, the 40-year-old actress and director shows her vulnerable side, and admits to having insecurities about her body, particularly after undergoing a preventative double mastectomy in February 2013. Jolie opted for the surgery to reduce her chances of getting breast and ovarian cancer, which runs in her family.
"There were lots of scenes I wanted to change or cut," the Oscar winner tells the newspaper about her latest film, By the Sea, which tells the emotional story of a married couple who experience some heavy ups and downs in their relationship. "I realized it was going to be me [naked] in that bathtub. But I told myself, put all of that aside. Like, you can’t change or cut this scene because you've had a mastectomy, or because we're married and people are going to analyze this or that. That would be cheating."
Jolie has been incredibly open about her health while doing press for the highly anticipated drama. In a recent joint interview on Todaywith her husband, 51-year-old Brad Pitt, she revealed to Tom Brokaw that her decision to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed in March as another cancer prevention tactic was greatly influenced by her late mother, Marcheline Bertrand. Bertrand died in January 2007, after a nearly eight-year battle with ovarian cancer and breast cancer. She was 56 years old.
"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.'''
"I knew through the surgeries that he was on my side and that this wasn't something where I was going to feel less of a woman," Jolie said. "Because my husband wasn't going to let that happen. 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."
Still, despite their outward appearances, Jolie is quick to point out to The New York Times that she and Pitt don't have the perfect marriage. Not surprisingly, she acknowledges that directing her husband was often stressful.
"We know certain things about each other. At first it was a little uncomfortable," she admits. "You want to be careful what button you press and what you don't."
Undoubtedly, plenty of viewers will read into the couple's latest film as reflective of their real-life relationship. Jolie and Pitt have been together for 10 years, and tied the knot in a surprise ceremony last August.
"I think you have to accept that. But if people think these are our particular issues, well, that's wrong," Jolie comments. "But if they want to think we have terrible fights, are imperfect, have insecurities and can be depressed and emotional, of course that's true. We have problems, arguments. We are two very human, flawed people. And I think that's a good thing to show."
Pitt recently opened up about collaborating professionally with his wife to V magazine. "It's surprising how much I enjoy the direction of my wife," he gushed. "She's decisive, incredibly intuitive, and might I say sexy at her post. I trust her with my life."