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Angelina Jolie on Her Bell’s Palsy Diagnosis and Life After Brad: “We’re All Just Healing”

Life doesn’t always go according to plan, and it seems few people know that one better than Angelina Jolie. In an interview with Vanity Fair released earlier today, the actress and mom of six gets totally frank about the impact her surprising split from Brad Pitt last year has had on their kids behind the scenes. But the actress also pulls no punches when revealing just how the break-up and upheaval of her family life has impacted her, too — even resulting in a few recent health scares.

“It’s just been the hardest time,” the actress admitted, “and we’re just kind of coming up for air.”

But while Jolie doesn’t profess to be out of the woods yet, she seems to be holding it all together, as best she can — even if that sometimes means hiding her private pain from her children.

“I do not want my children to be worried about me,” the actress shared. “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.”

The last year has certainly been an adjustment for the famously tight-knit family. Jolie says she and her clan spent the first nine months of that time living out of suitcases in a rental home, but have since resettled into a permanent home in Los Angeles reportedly worth $25 million. And with it, she hopes will come a new and happy beginning.

“[This house] is a big jump forward for us,” she shared, “and we’re all trying to do our best to heal as our family.”

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While Jolie didn’t share what exactly caused the split, she was pretty candid about just how deeply the events of the last year have impacted everyone in the family.

“We’re all just healing from the events that led to the filing,” she shared. “They’re not healing from the divorce. They’re healing from some … from life, from things in life.”

But according to Jolie, they’re all doing well. The actress goes on to describe each of her kids as “very brave,” describing that their healing is a process, one that will unfold in its own way, and in its own time.

As a child of divorce myself, I know all too well that it takes time work through emotions and heal from the trauma of witnessing your family fall apart at the seams. But I also know that what often saves children during these difficult times is having parents who are simply there for them, while giving them a safe space to process their feelings.

And it seems that Jolie has been all that and more for kids — sometimes, to a fault. The actress admitted to Vanity Fair that the stress of the last year, coupled with her tendency to put everyone else first, has taken a toll on her health. Along with having bouts of hypertension, she was also diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, a temporary condition where the muscles on one side of your face become paralyzed or weakened, and begin to stiffen or droop. At first, Jolie says she wasn’t sure what was wrong, and brushed off the symptoms. And her reasons why are all too relatable.

“I can’t tell if it’s menopause or if it’s just been the year I’ve had,” she shared with Vanity Fair. “Sometimes women in families put themselves last until it manifests itself in their own health.”

Hell yeah we do; but it’s stories like these that serve as a wakeup call.

I actually feel like more of a woman because … I’m putting my family first, and I’m in charge of my life and my health.
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Still, it doesn’t seem as though the stress of the last year has gotten her down — if anything, battling through the hard stuff, and being reminded to put herself first again, has only served to empower the mom of six even more.

“I actually feel like more of a woman because 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,” Jolie shared. “I think that’s what makes a woman complete.”

It certainly does.

Hats off to Jolie for sharing her story and sending an empowering message to moms everywhere that although life doesn’t always go as expected, we are stronger than we realize, and have the power within us to make it work. We are all heroines at heart, and sometimes we have to reach our lowest points for our greatest strengths to be fully revealed.

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