Angelina Jolie has revealed that she developed Bell’s palsy last year, which is a paralysis or weakness of the muscles on one side of your face.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Jolie said that she developed Bell’s palsy, in addition to hypertension, as a result of damage to facial nerves, causing one side of her face to droop.
“Sometimes women in families put themselves last,” she said. “Until it manifests itself in their own health.”
After having a preventative double mastectomy, reconstructive surgery and later her ovaries removed, she says she immediately went into menopause.
“I can’t tell if it’s menopause or if it’s just been the year I’ve had,” Jolie joked about how the past year has taken a toll on her.
According to Health Link B.C., Bell’s palsy is paralysis or weakness of the muscles on one side of your face and nerve damage can even affect the sense of taste, as well as the production of tears and saliva.
Its onset can be sudden, often overnight, and tapers out on its own within a few weeks. It’s unclear what causes Bell’s palsy.
Its symptoms include paralysis on the face, drooling, eye problems, loss of ability to taste, pain behind the ear, and numbness on the affected side of the face.
Johns Hopkins Medicine suggests that it occurs most often in pregnant women and people who have diabetes, influenza, a cold or other respiratory ailments.
Jolie has taken her latest health obstacles in stride, saying, “I actually feel like more of a woman because I’m being smart about my choices and putting my family first, and I’m in charge of my life and my health. I think that’s what makes a woman complete.”
She continued, “I’ve been trying for nine months to be really good at just being a homemaker and picking up dog poop and cleaning dishes and reading bedtime stories. And I’m getting better at all three.”
Jolie is also speaking out about her public divorce from Brad Pitt.
“It’s just been the hardest time, and we’re just kind of coming up for air,” the 42-year-old actress said. “We’re all trying to do our best to heal our family.”
The pair called it quits after 12 years together in September.
“Things got bad,” Jolie said. “I didn’t want to use that word. . . . Things became ‘difficult.’”
The actress says that their globe-trotting lifestyle “was not the problem” that led to the divorce.
“[Our lifestyle] was not in any way a negative,” she says. “That was not the problem. That is and will remain one of the wonderful opportunities we are able to give our children . . . They’re six very strong-minded, thoughtful, worldly individuals. I’m very proud of them.”
Jolie admits the divorce has been hard on their six children, twins Knox and Vivienne, 8, Shiloh, 10, Zahara, 12, Pax, 13 and Maddox, 15.
“They’ve been very brave,” she says. “They were very brave.”
During a conversation with son Knox days before her interview, Jolie joked that things in their household will never fully be “normal.”
“He said, ‘Who wants to be normal? We’re not normal. Let’s never be normal.’ Thank you—yes! We’re not normal. Let’s embrace being not normal.”
Jolie also notes that she and Pitt are both “working towards the same goal” and that they “care for each other and care about our family.”