- (Photo: Reuters/Fred Prouser)
Angelina Jolie paid tribute to her fiance Brad Pitt in an op-ed piece published Tuesday about her brave decision to undergo a double mastectomy.
The Oscar award-winning actress described herself as being "fortunate" to have a longtime partner who she says supported her decision to have both breasts removed. She claims the life changing procedure has ultimately brought them closer together.
"I am fortunate to have a partner, Brad Pitt, who is so loving and supportive. So to anyone who has a wife or girlfriend going through this, know that you are a very important part of the transition. Brad was at the Pink Lotus Breast Center, where I was treated, for every minute of the surgeries," Jolie wrote in a New York Times op-ed entitled "My Medical Choice."
Jolie, 37, chose to have a double mastectomy after doctors estimated that the mother-of-six had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. Her late mother, Marcheline Bertrand, died from ovarian cancer at the age of 56.
"We managed to find moments to laugh together. We knew this was the right thing to do for our family and that it would bring us closer. And it has," Jolie wrote.
Pitt, 49, reportedly proposed to Jolie in April 2012 after seven years together and the couple shares three biological and three adopted children.
Jolie began the initial removal on Feb. 16 and underwent the reconstruction surgery on April 20. She commended her children, Maddox, 11, Pax, 9, Zahara, 8, Shiloh, 6, and 4-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne for their bravery before and after her surgery.
"It is reassuring that they see nothing that makes them uncomfortable. They can see my small scars and that's it," she wrote.
"Everything else is just Mommy, the same as she always was. And they know that I love them and will do anything to be with them as long as I can," she added.
Hollywood celebrities flocked to social networking site Twitter to share support for Jolie. Breast cancer survivor Giuliana Rancic, from the E! network, led the way in commending the actress.
"Angelina Jolie reveals double mastectomy. Proud of her for using her incredible platform to educate women," Rancic, who underwent the same procedure as Jolie in 2011, wrote.
"Much respect & for sharing in classy way: Angelina Jolie on why she had a double mastectomy & how it can save lives," actress Elizabeth Banks tweeted.
"An admirable op ed by Angelina Jolie," actress Kristen Bell tweeted.
Jolie's decision also drew praise from breast cancer charities around the world. Richard Francis, who is Head of Research at the Breakthrough Breast Cancer charity in Britain, said education is vital when taking preventative measures.
"For women like Angelina it's important that they are made fully aware of all the options that are available, including risk-reducing surgery and extra breast screening," Francis told Reuters.