While Angelina Jolie is a very private person, she’s made it a habit of opening up about her health over the years. The Oscar winner, 48, has had her breasts, ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to avoid getting cancer which killed her mom, Marcheline Bertrand. In 2017, Angelina revealed that she was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy. The Maleficent star recently told WSJ Magazine that she received the diagnosis shortly before her divorce from Brad Pitt, with whom she shares six children.
Here’s everything you need to know about Angelina’s health, how she’s doing today, and more.
Angelina Jolie Diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy
In a July 2017 interview with Vanity Fair, Angelina revealed she had Bell’s palsy and hypertension. “Sometimes women in families put themselves last, until it manifests itself in their own health,” she said.
The Eternals star addressed her Bell’s palsy again in an interview with WSJ Magazine on December 5, 2023. She revealed that the diagnosis was linked to her 2016 split from Brad. “My body reacts very strongly to stress. My blood sugar goes up and down,” she said. “I suddenly had Bell’s palsy six months before my divorce.”
What Is Bell’s Palsy?
Bell’s palsy is a condition that leads to paralysis of the facial nerve, the peripheral nerve responsible for facial movement, according to the Mayo Clinic. The muscles on the side of one’s face become weak, or in some cases, paralyzed. The condition only affects on side of the face at a time.
The exact cause of Bell’s palsy is unknown, though experts believe it’s cased by swelling and inflammation of the nerve that controls the muscles on one side of the face, according to the Mayo Clinic. Symptoms typically improve within a few weeks, with complete recovery in about six months. Bell’s palsy rarely occurs more than once, and only a small number of people experience the symptoms for life.
How Long Has Angelina Jolie Been Sick?
Angelina told WSJ Magazine that she had Bell’s palsy “six months” before her divorce. The actress notably filed for divorce from Brad in September 2016, meaning she would’ve been diagnosed with the condition in March 2016. As fans know, Angelina and Brad are still on bad terms as they’re locked in a custody battle.
Three years before her diagnosis, Angelina had a preventative double mastectomy following her mother’s death from cancer in 2007. She revealed in interviews that she got a genetic test and learned she carried the gene BRCA1, which predisposed her to cancer.
“I choose not to keep my story private because there are many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer,” Angelina said in an article for The New York Times in 2013. “It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested, and that if they have a high risk they, too, will know that they have strong options.”
Angelina later got her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed, as well. “I’m often asked how my medical choices, and being public about them, have affected me. I simply feel I made choices to improve my odds of being here to see my children grow into adults, and of meeting my grandchildren,” she said in an essay for Time magazine in 2019.
After getting the cancer preventative treatments, Angelina went into menopause. She told Vanity Fair in 2017 that she developed dry skin and gray hairs. “I can’t tell if it’s menopause or if it’s just been the year I’ve had,” she said at the time. “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.”
How Is Angelina Jolie Doing Today?
Angelina appears to be in good health today. She’s made no mention of any cancer scares since her preventative surgeries. She’s also seemingly no longer dealing with symptoms from Bell’s palsy.
In her December 2023 chat with WSJ Magazine, Angelina explained that she and her children “had to heal” after her divorce from Brad, though she didn’t clarify if she was speaking about her health. “There are things we needed to heal from,” she said.