Angelina Jolie is drawing strength from her personal difficulties. The Oscar-winning actress recently made the brave decision to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed as a preventative measure. And in a new interview with Elle, the mom-of-six spoke in general about facing struggles and learning to overcome obstacles.
"I do believe in the old saying, 'What does not kill you makes you stronger'," Angelina explained while reflecting on Louis Zamperini – the inspiration for her film Unbroken. "Our experiences, good and bad, make us who we are. By overcoming difficulties, we gain strength and maturity."
Angelina Jolie: "Our experiences, good and bad, make us who we are" Photo: Getty Images
Angelina – who also had a double mastectomy in May 2013 to cut her risk of developing breast cancer - revealed that she has entered early menopause in a candid and deeply personal essay for The New York Times last month.
"I went through what I can imagine what thousands of other women have felt," wrote the star, after doctors found inflammatory markers that could have been a sign of early ovarian cancer. "I told myself to be calm, to be strong, and that I had no reason to think that I wouldn't live to see my children grow up and to meet my grandchildren."
She added: "The beautiful thing about such moments in life is that there is so much clarity. You know what you live for and what matters. It is polarizing, and it is peaceful."
Angelina Jolie celebrating at the Kids' Choice Awards with Shiloh and Zahara Photo: Getty Images
Just a few days after her piece was published, Angelina made a public appearance at the Kids' Choice Awards with daughters Shiloh and Zahara. The star was praised for the empowering speech she gave as she accepted the award for Best Villain for her leading role in Maleficent.
"I want to say that when I was little, like Maleficent I was told that I was different," Angelina told the excited audience. "And I felt out of place, and too loud, too full of fire, never good at sitting still, never good at fitting in. And then one day I realized something, something I hope you all realize: different is good.
She added, "So don't fit in. Don't sit still, don’t ever try to be less than what you are, and when someone tells you that you are different, smile and hold your head up high and be proud. And, as your villain, I would also say, cause a little trouble – it's good for you."
Angelina Jolie on stage after accepting her award for Best Villain Photo: Getty Images
Among those entranced by the speech was Katie Holmes, who was sat in the audience with her daughter Suri. "I'm such a fan of Angelina," she later told Entertainment Tonight. "I think she's incredible in all aspects of her life. I think she's just an inspiration. And her speech just, you know, topped it off."