It’s been a rough year for actress and activist Angelina Jolie, who has been wading in the remnants of a messy divorce from superstar Brad Pitt.
The Hollywood power couple split last September for a slew of potential reasons, including rumored parenting issues, substance abuse, infidelity, and clashing politics.
After the news broke, Jolie’s attorney released a statement, asserting that the split was first and foremost “made for the health of the family.”
But a recent Vanity Fair cover interview with the “Salt” star reveals another story.
In the sit-down, Jolie spoke about the struggle of having to deal with divorce, co-parenting, and continue with life all, at the same time:
“It’s just been the hardest time, and we’re just kind of coming up for air. We’re all trying to do our best to heal our family.”
The 42-year-old revealed that after a 12-year relationship with Pitt, things were starting to get “difficult.” Unfortunately, it wasn’t just family issues that put the accomplished actress in such a tight spot — her personal health was failing, too.
Jolie added that in addition to developing hypertension, the Hollywood director made the announcement that she was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the disease is a “form of temporary facial paralysis resulting from damage or trauma to the facial nerves.”
Serially prioritizing her family over herself, Jolie believes, allowed her to become susceptible to the grave illness:
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“Sometimes women in families put themselves last […] until it manifests itself in their own health.”
And that’s not the last of her medical woes. According to People, Jolie immediately went into menopause after undergoing a preventative double mastectomy and hysterectomy.
But despite all this, she’s keeping a playful spirit about her storied year. She joked with Vanity Fair:
“I can’t tell if it’s menopause or if it’s just been the year I’ve had.”
People reported that Jolie has since recovered from Bell’s palsy, though she continues to adapt to the ongoing struggle of co-parenting six children and continuing a career.
Pitt and Jolie married in August 2014 in an intimate ceremony in Corrnes, France. Together they share a lively squadron of children, ranging from ages 9 to 15.