There is no denying that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have one of the strongest marriages in Hollywood, a deep, emotional, and supportive bond that is not only shown through their love of their six kids and each other, but also in times of immense difficulty, such as when Jolie underwent both a double mastectomy and surgery to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed. It was a period of time that was undoubtedly emotionally taxing on the actors, but one that strengthened Jolie and Pitt both as a couple and as individuals.
In a rare, new interview with Tom Brokaw that aired on the Today show on Monday, Pitt and Jolie sat down with the legendary reporter and discussed, at length, how they coped with the actress' decision to undergo a preventative double mastectomy as well as the removal of her ovaries and fallopian tubes. Jolie's choice, prompted by the fact that she carries a gene that makes it more likely she will develop breast and ovarian cancer, was one that forced both herself and Pitt to gather all the strength they had.
"I made the choices I made because I believed they were right for me," Jolie told Brokaw of her decision to have the surgeries. For Jolie — whose mother died of ovarian cancer and whose aunt died of breast cancer — these choices worked for her. To undergo such extreme preventative surgery was not an easy decision, but Jolie's bravery and confidence carried her through.
And though she obviously leaned on her husband for emotional support, these were procedures that she had to go through herself, with Pitt noting that the decision "was led by her dedication of, 'This is what I gotta do, this is what I'm gonna do.'"
"There was no vanity to my wife's approach. It was mature," he continued. "'This is our life and we're gonna make the best of it.' There was a strength in that. It was just another one of those things in life that makes you tighter, and she was doing it for the kids, and she was doing it for her family so we could be together."
It was clear that in addition to Jolie's courage, Pitt had to be strong as well, explaining that his role in his wife's battles with her health was "Support. Whatever's gotta be done to keep the family together and keep the family together as long as possible has gotta be done," he explained, revealing that he learned the news of her possible early-stage ovarian cancer and hopped right on a plane to be with her.
"Seeing my wife have to be her strongest and knowing that it's the scariest news is terribly moving," Pitt said. "And not being there is a horrible feeling."
Perhaps it is Jolie's statement about Pitt that is the most telling about both of their characters — and the power they have gained as individuals (and as a married couple) from this scary ordeal.
"For as much as he speaks about my strength, I knew that he made it very, very clear to me that what he loved, what was a woman to him was someone who was smart and capable and cared about her family," Jolie explained. "It wasn't about — it's not about your physical bodies. I knew through the surgeries that he was on my side and that I wasn't going to feel less of a woman because he wouldn't let that happen."
For the two actors, it's clear that their strength as individuals — and not just as a couple — is what makes their marriage so secure, so stable, and so supportive. A rarity in Hollywood for sure.