Angelina Jolie diagnosed with Bell’s palsy following Brad Pitt split

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Kayleigh Dray

Angelina Jolie has opened up about her divorce from Brad Pitt in a candid new interview, admitting that the experience has taken a toll on both her emotional and physical wellbeing.

Speaking to Vanity Fair, Jolie confessed that she has been diagnosed with hypertension. And, shortly after her and Pitt’s split in 2016, she developed Bell’s palsy (a form of facial paralysis) as a result of damage to her facial nerves.

“Sometimes women in families put themselves last,” she says, “until it manifests itself in their own health.”

While the condition initially caused one side of her face to droop, the Mr & Mrs Smith star attended regular acupuncture sessions – and, now, she has made a full recovery. Yet, she has begun to notice other changes in her appearance and wellbeing: her skin has become drier, she reports, and she has extra grey hairs.

“I can’t tell if it’s menopause or if it’s just been the year I’ve had… [but] I actually feel more of a woman because I feel like 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. I think that’s what makes a woman complete.”

Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from husband Brad Pitt on 20 September, sending the world’s media into a tailspin.

It was later confirmed that she had asked law enforcement services to investigate an incident in September between Pitt and her eldest son, Maddox, on a private jet. This argument, she said at the time, had ended with Pitt intentionally (and without justification) striking the boy.

The Department of Children and Family Services have now completed their investigation, and have cleared Pitt of child abuse.

Speaking about her former partner, Jolie says: “We care for each other and care about our family, and we are both working towards the same goal.”

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Despite their commitment to being good co-parents, though, Jolie adds that she still finds it difficult to deal with the emotional fallout of their divorce. But, for the sake of their children – Maddox, Zahara, Shiloh, Pah, Knox, and Vivienne – Jolie has done her best to put on a happy face.

“I was very worried about my mother, growing up,” she says, “a lot. And I do not want my children to be worried about me.

“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.”

Earlier this year, Pitt revealed that he had begun seeing a therapist to help him to come to terms with his divorce, and went on to reveal that his split from Jolie had been a “huge generator for change” – even inspiring him to give up alcohol.

“I can't remember a day since I got out of college when I wasn't boozing or had a spliff, or something,” he said. “And I [was always] running from feelings. I'm really, really happy to be done with all of that. I mean I stopped everything except boozing when I started my family. But even this last year, you know – things I wasn't dealing with.

“I was boozing too much. It's just become a problem.”

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Pitt added that he and Jolie don’t wish to be involved in any of the “vitriolic hatred” often associated with divorce: instead, they are making a concerted effort to work together as a team, in order to provide the best support for their children.

“It's just very, very jarring for the kids, to suddenly have their family ripped apart,” he said.

“If anyone can make sense of it, we have to with great care and delicacy, building everything around that.

“So our focus is that everyone comes out stronger and better people—there is no other outcome.”

Images: REX


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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