Watching Angelina Jolie go undergo a double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery was understandably difficult for her longtime partner, Brad Pitt.
In a new interview with USA Today, the actor says he’s proud of the mother of his children – both for deciding to undergo the surgery (which dramatically reduced her chances of developing breast cancer) and for sharing her private story with the world.
“I’m quite emotional about it, of course,” Brad told the magazine. “She could have stayed absolutely private about it and I don’t think anyone would have been none the wiser with such good results.”
Brad said Angelina wanted people to know the treatment can actually be empowering, instead of robbing women of their femininity.
“It was really important to her to share the story and that others would understand it doesn’t have to be a scary thing. In fact, it can be an empowering thing, and something that makes you stronger and us stronger.”
The “World War Z” star also praised Angelina, 37, for courageously honoring her commitments while privately undergoing treatments, including a visit to New York to honor Pakastani teen Malala Yousafzai in the midst of her recovery.
”[That event] was during Stage 2 (when the double mastectomy was performed),” he said. “Literally it was just weeks after she’d had truly major surgery.”
Overall, Brad said the ordeal has been “emotional and beautifully inspiring,” and he’s thrilled the couple’s family will no longer have to live in fear of Angelina high breast cancer risk (due to her BRCA1 gene mutation).
“It’s such a wonderful relief to come through this and not have a spectre hanging over our heads. To know that that’s not going to be something that’s going to affect us,” he told the mag. “My most proudest thing is our family. This isn’t going to get that.”
As for how Brad and Angie handled the delicate situation with their six kids, the actor said they came up with ways to make the process as “fun” as possible.
“We set up our own little post-op recovery that became pretty fun. You make an adventure out of it,” he said.