06:10 PM EDT 05/18/2013
Originally posted 05/18/2013 10:30AM
She was facing down the most frightening challenge of her life, but on Valentine's Day of this year, Angelina Jolie was focused on nothing more than dinosaurs, bugs and precious family time.
When the star visited the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles on Feb. 14 with fiancé Brad Pitt and their 4-year-old twins Vivienne and Knox, "the kids could barely contain themselves, but Brad and Angie spoke to them in quiet voices to calm them down," says an observer. "They stayed back and let the kids explore fossils and insects on their own. They all seemed to have fun."
Before Mom and Dad headed out for a romantic dinner later that evening, they gathered all six children together for a family gift exchange – the very sort of tradition Jolie's mom, Marcheline Bertrand, delighted in fostering during Jolie's own childhood. "The older kids had made art projects at school that they gave Brad and Angie," says a family source. "Every special calendar day sparks a big celebration for them."
It would be the last such celebration before the surgery that Jolie would quietly undergo just two days later: On Feb. 16 – and with Pitt, 49, by her side – the 37-year-old Oscar winner underwent a preventive double mastectomy at the Pink Lotus Breast Center in Beverly Hills. In a candid op-ed published in the New York Times on May 14, the actress explained the gut-wrenching decision as a "proactive" choice that was "not easy" but "is one I am very happy I made."
Originally posted 05/16/2013 11:15AM
Angelina Jolie's doctor marveled at the actress's spirit and optimism during the three months of surgeries needed to complete her double mastectomy, and says her speedy recovery was due in large part to her positive outlook.
"To a large extent, I believe recovery reflects expectation," Dr. Kristi Funk of the Pink Lotus Breast Center writes in a lengthy blog post offering step-by-step details of Jolie's BRCA diagnosis, surgeries and recuperation.
"On day four after her mastectomies, I was pleased to find her not only in good spirits with bountiful energy, but with two walls in her house covered with freshly assembled storyboards for the next project she is directing," Funk writes.
Originally posted 05/16/2013 10:00AM
After publicly supporting fiancée Angelina Jolie after her recent revelation that she underwent a preventative double mastectomy, it's back to business for Brad Pitt.
The actor stepped out to visit Paramount Studios on Wednesday, where he was photographed sporting aviators and an all-black ensemble.
On Tuesday, Jolie, 37, revealed in an op-ed for the New York Times that she had undergone a double mastectomy after genetic tests showed her to have a high risk of developing breast cancer. Her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, died of ovarian cancer at 56 in 2007.
Originally posted 05/15/2013 02:00PM
On Feb. 2, Angelina Jolie, 37, began the long, complex process of undergoing a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery – yet she still kept living her very full life without anyone around her the wiser. How did she do it?
Her father Jon Voight, 74, with whom she reconciled after a difficult relationship, told the New York Daily News that he was surprised along with the rest of the world to learn of his daughter's surgeries, saying that he understood her decision.
"I want the focus to be on the inspiration," he said.
Originally posted 05/15/2013 07:30AM
Angelina Jolie is one resilient mom.
The actress, 37, has experienced no complications since undergoing a double mastectomy in February and reconstructive surgery in April. "She is doing well," a source tells PEOPLE in this week's cover story.
But her medical odyssey is not done. The mother of six is also planning to undergo surgery to remove her ovaries. Because of her "faulty" BRCA1 gene, she still faces a high risk of developing ovarian cancer, which her doctors estimate at 50 percent. Some doctors recommend patients undergo the surgery by age 40 or when a woman is done having children, though it may trigger early menopause.
Originally posted 05/14/2013 03:30PM
After she revealed she underwent a preventative double mastectomy, Angelina Jolie's family members are voicing their support.
"We're so very proud of Angie, this means so much to our family especially our grandchildren. We love her dearly," Brad Pitt's mother, Jane Pitt, says in a statement.
Jolie's brother, James Haven, also spoke out about her decision to undergo the procedure.
"My sister like our mother always put her children first," he says in a statement. "I am so grateful to be her brother."
Originally posted 05/14/2013 11:00AM
The morning after Angelina Jolie published an op-ed in The New York Times that revealed her decision to have a double mastectomy, the man in her life is showing his support.
"Having witnessed this decision firsthand, I find Angie's choice, as well as many others like her, absolutely heroic," Brad Pitt said in a statement. "I thank our medical team for their care and focus."
"All I want is for her to have a long and healthy life, with myself and our children," Pitt continued. "This is a happy day for our family."
Originally posted 05/14/2013 10:55AM
She wanted to live – but not die – just the way her mother did.
Not much is known about the details of Marcheline Bertrand's seven-year battle with ovarian cancer. She was an intensely private person. But the actress's death in January 2007 was clearly a catalyst for her daughter Angelina Jolie's decision to undergo a double mastectomy.
Tellingly, Jolie began Tuesday's New York Times op-ed, in which she revealed and explained her course of preventive treatment, by invoking her beloved mother, who was 56 when she died.
Originally posted 05/14/2013 08:25AM
Even as Angelina Jolie began the process of having a preventative double mastectomy on Feb. 2, life for her six children with Brad Pitt has remained the same.
"Things have appeared normal. The kids have kept their schedules as usual," a source tells PEOPLE. "They have been in school during the day and have attended after-school activities like they always do."
Less than two weeks later, on Valentine's Day, Jolie and Pitt took their 4-year-old twins, Vivienne and Knox, to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, where the family explored the dinosaur hall and Discovery Center.
Originally posted 05/14/2013 02:00AM
Angelina Jolie has revealed she underwent a double mastectomy after genetic tests showed she had a high risk of developing breast cancer.
The 37-year-old actress had the surgery in February and completed the last of the follow-up procedures in April, she says in a New York Times op-ed piece called "My Medical Choice."
"I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy," says Jolie in the column appearing Tuesday. "But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don't need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer."
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