The Maleficent star revealed that she had a preventative double mastectomy in February 2013 after discovering that she carried the “fault” breast cancer gene BRCA1. “My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman,” she wrote in a May 2013 New York Times essay.
Jolie then detailed her three months of procedures. “Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much as I could,” she explained. She had a “nipple delay” operation followed by a breast tissue removal surgery two weeks later. Nine weeks after that, she underwent breast reconstruction surgery with implants.
“I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer,” she pointed out, noting that her risk of developing the disease was reduced to five percent. “It is reassuring that they see nothing that makes them uncomfortable. They can see my small scars and that’s it. Everything else is just Mommy, the same as she always was.”
Other stars underwent the operation after being diagnosed with breast cancer. “Frankly, I would never have made this a public journey, but I kind of had to given the circumstances because our show [Veep] had to shut down for a period of time,” Louis-Dreyfus said during a March 2019 appearance on Good Morning America. “I think I reached a lot of people. I was able to raise a lot of money for women who have had mastectomies, who need reconstruction but insurance doesn’t cover that, and I was really happy to be able to do that. The outpouring of support was quite overwhelming.”
The Seinfeld alum now advocates on behalf of those experiencing the same illness. “It sounds kind of corny, but there’s something about after you’ve walked through something like this, which is such a crisis, to be able to help someone who’s then going through … It’s very, sort of, comforting to yourself in a weird way,” she said. “It really is something that I’m happy to do. It gives me a lot of energy and a good feeling, for sure.”
Scroll down to see which stars have undergone mastectomies through the years.