Angelina Jolie makes first public appearance since announcing double mastectomy

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 June, 2013, 8:58am

Angelina Jolie made her first public appearance since announcing her double mastectomy, joining fiancé Brad Pitt on the red carpet in London for the premiere of his new movie.

The Oscar-winning actress has managed to stay out of the spotlight since announcing her operation in a column in The New York Times last month.

When she's faced with a problem ... she takes it by the horns ... She's a badass
Brad Pitt

The decision was made after finding she carried a gene giving her an 87 per cent chance of getting breast cancer.

The preventative surgery had cut that risk to 5 per cent.

The 37-year-old, praised for her courage in publicly revealing her surgery, is now reported to be planning another operation to remove her ovaries as the BRCA1 gene also gives her a 50 per cent chance of ovarian cancer.

On the red carpet on Sunday for the world premiere of Pitt's zombie film World War Z, Jolie said she welcomed the debate on women's health that the surgery had sparked. She also praised her partner as "a wonderful man and a wonderful father".

Wearing a long black, backless Yves Saint Laurent dress, Jolie said: "I'm very grateful for all the support … and I have been very happy just to see the discussion of women's health expanded and that means the world to me.

"After losing my mom to these issues, I am very grateful for it."

Pitt said he had nothing, but admiration for Jolie's decision to have both breasts removed.

"When she's faced with a problem - and we have known this was coming for some time - she takes it by the horns," said Pitt, 49. "I'm super proud of her. She's a badass."

Jolie's mother, actress Marcheline Bertrand, died from ovarian cancer in 2007 at the age of 56 and her aunt, 61-year-old Debbie Martin, died last week as a result of breast cancer. Both carried the BRCA1 gene.

Jolie missed her aunt's funeral to accompany Pitt to London for the premiere of World War Z, an adaptation of Max Brooks' 2006 apocalyptic zombie novel.

Pitt said Jolie's mastectomy and public announcement about it had been "a moving experience" for the couple, who have six children.

"I have such respect for her," he said. "The fact that she would not be frightened of this - what she would have to go through to take this spectre away from our family and ensure that she would be there longer for our family, and the kids - I get very emotional about it."

He added: "I did not expect what a tipping point it would be, how much it would mean for others to hear her stories - others that might be wrestling with the same things."

Pitt said the scale of the reaction to Jolie's surgery had been unexpected.

"What it means to others has really surprised me," he said. "The beautiful thing is that for us, life will go on. It certainly brought our family tighter together."

Asked how important it was to have her on the red carpet with him, Pitt said: "It's just more fun to do these things with each other. More fun when she's around and same for her."

Additional reporting by Associated Press