She is one of the most famous women in the world, and her marriage to Brad Pitt was one of the most talked about relationships in Hollywood. So, when her world came crashing down around her, and their marriage fell apart, it is no wonder that Angelina Jolie found herself at the centre of a media storm of unprecedented scale.
As accusations flew of child abuse, neglect and drinking addictions, the world focused on the scandal surrounding the couple, not the woman in the middle of the madness.
Now, Angelina Jolie was opened up to Vanity Fair (opens in new tab) in a raw and emotional cover interview in which she talks of rebuilding her life after her split from Brad, and a shock health diagnosis.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt had been together for 12 years when they announced their shock split in 2016. Jolie cited the sudden call for divorce as a decision, "for the health of the family," and requested sole custody of the couple's six children. Nearly 12 months later, the pair are still negotiating the terms of their divorce.
"It's just been the hardest time, and we're just kind of coming up for air" Jolie told Vanity Fair. "We're all trying to do our best to heal our family."
"We're all just healing from the events that led to the filing" she revealed. And speaking of the affect that the process has had on her children she confided, "They've been very brave. They were very brave."
Brad Pitt with children Pax Jolie-Pitt, Shiloh Jolie-Pitt and Maddox Jolie-Pitt
Following the announcement of their split, Jolie has been focused on putting her family first. Her children are her pride and joy. "They're six very strong-minded, thoughtful, worldly individuals" she told Vanity Fair. "I'm very proud of them."
After undergoing a preventive double mastectomy and reconstructive surgeryin 2013, Angelina Jolie had another cancer scare two years later. It turned out to be a false alarm, but her preventative surgeries meant she instantly went into the menopause.
Despite facing menopause in her thirties, Jolie has remained as brave and resilient about the subject as with any of the difficulties in her life. "I actually feel more of a woman because I feel like I'm being smart about my choices," she said. "I'm putting my family first, and I'm in charge of my life and my health. I thinkthat'swhat makes a woman complete."
The most candid Angelina Jolie Vanity Fair interview yet sees the actress open up about her health scares: "I'm in charge of my life and my health. I thinkthat'swhat makes a woman complete."
Despite putting her cancer-scare behind her, Jolie was hit with yet another health problem last year when she developed Bell's palsy. Bell's Palsy is a condition in which the facial muscles experience temporary paralysis.
"Sometimes women in families put themselves last," Jolie says, "until it manifests itself in their own health."The actress and film-maker puts her full recovery down to acupuncture.
After what has clearly been a difficult 12 months for the star, Jolie revealed that she is determined to continue to put on a show of strength for the sake of her children.
Angelina Jolie with two of her children, Zahara Jolie-Pitt and Shiloh Jolie-Pitt
"I do not want my children to be worried about me" she confessed. "I think it's very important to cry in the shower and not in front of them. They need to know that everything's going to be all right even when you're not sure it is."
Now, the devoted mum is working on a new Netflix movie about Cambodia's genocide, as well as focusing on her recoveryfrom Bell's Palsy and dedicating as much time as possible to her children.
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