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Angelina Jolie Kept Double Mastectomy Secret From Dad Jon Voight

Angelina Jolie and Jon Voight
Angelina Jolie and Jon Voight

The actor found out about his daughter's preventive procedure by reading her New York Times piece, along with the rest of the world.

Before going public Monday, Angelina Jolie kept her double mastectomy private from nearly everyone -- even her own father.

Jon Voight told the New York Daily News that he found out about her surgery on Tuesday, after reading her op-ed piece in the New York Times. He said he saw his daughter and her longtime partner, Brad Pitt, two days ago at a birthday celebration for his son and Jolie's brother, James Haven.

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"But I didn't know. It wasn't obvious at all," he said. "I found out (Tuesday) morning. I was as surprised as anyone and deeply moved by the way she's handled this."

He added that he respects her decision to keep the news private, even from him.

"I want the focus to be on the inspiration," he said, calling her "a very extraordinary person."

Voight said he talked to Jolie on Tuesday about her shocking revelation, during which she "explained to me and educated me on this stuff."

He added, "My love and admiration for my daughter can't be explained in words."

Voight and Jolie famously had a falling-out in 2002 when he claimed she urged her to seek help for "serious mental problems." For her part, she had previously criticized him for having an affair while still married to her mother and later filed to legally remove Voight from her name.

After several years of estrangement, the two began taking steps to reconcile sometime after Bertrand's death.

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In her NYT piece, Jolie wrote that she underwent the preventive double mastectomy because of her high risk of breast cancer. Doctors told Jolie -- whose mother, Marcheline Bertrand, died six years ago at age 56 after a 10-year battle with ovarian cancer -- that she carries a "faulty" gene, BRCA1. They estimated that she had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer.

"Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could," she wrote. "I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy. I started with the breasts, as my risk of breast cancer is higher than my risk of ovarian cancer, and the surgery is more complex."

Jolie underwent three months of medical procedures, which began Feb. 2 and were completed April 27. She kept the procedures, which included reconstruction of both breasts with implants, a secret throughout the process but opened up in the hopes of helping others.

She said it wasn't an easy decision for her to make, but her chances of developing breast cancer have dropped to less than five percent.