Angelina Jolie had her loved ones on her mind when she revealed her recent double mastectomy surgery in a moving, instantly quoted New York Times Op-Ed piece, "My Medical Choice": Her fiance Brad Pitt, their six children — and her late mother Marcheline Betrand, who died at age 56 in 2007 after a long battle with ovarian cancer.
The actress and ex-wife to Jon Voight, Jolie wrote, "held out long enough to meet the first of her grandchildren and to hold them in her arms. But my other children will never have the chance to know her and experience how loving and gracious she was," the Oscar winner wrote. (Jolie and Pitt share kids Maddox, 11, Pax, 9, Zahara, 8, Shiloh, 6, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 4.)
"We often speak of 'Mommy's mommy,' and I find myself trying to explain the illness that took her away from us," the Maleficent star continued, before detailing her decision — following the discovery of a "faulty" BRCA1 breast cancer gene — to undergo the drastic surgery.
Jolie tearfully remembered Bertrand in a November 2011 60 Minutes interview. "My mother was a full-time mother. She didn't have much of her own career, her own life, her own experiences," said the star, who mourned Bertrand with brother James Haven, 40. "Everything was for her children."
Admitting that Bertrand was her "soft spot," Jolie said she struggled to match her mother's own maternal example. "I will never be as good a mother as she was. I will try my best, but I don't think I ever will be," Jolie said.
"She was the most generous, loving woman," she said tearfully, choking back tears. "She's better than me."
Back in January 2010, on the third anniversary of Bertrand's death, Jolie and Haven posted a tribute video to their mom: With Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's version of "Over the Rainbow" playing, the 1981 clip showed Jolie (then around 6 years old) and her brother playing with their mom on a Hawaiian beach, with Bertrand demonstrating a hula dance.
"We miss you Mom – with Love, Angelina and James," read a message at the end of the clip.
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on Youtube!