'I'm as surprised as anyone': Angelina Jolie's father Jon Voight first learnt of her double mastectomy by reading it online

The veteran actor said he "absolutely" respected Jolie's decision not to tell him

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The Independent Culture

Angelina Jolie’s father Jon Voight revealed he first found out about his daughter’s double mastectomy by reading her article about the decision in the New York Times.

Voight, who was reconciled with his daughter in 2011 after a ten-year feud, said he was “surprised as anyone and deeply moved by the way she’s handled this”.

“My love and admiration for my daughter can’t be explained in words. I saw her two days ago with my son Jamie. We all got together for his birthday with her and Brad [Pitt]. But I didn’t know. It wasn’t obvious at all,” the veteran actor told the New York Daily News.

Voight said he “absolutely” respected Jolie’s decision to keep him in the dark for three months, adding “I want the focus to be on the inspiration.”

He said he spoke to his daughter after learning about the procedure but didn’t discuss the global reaction to her announcement. “She just explained to me and educated me on this stuff,” he said.

Jolie revealed in an op-ed article entitled "My Medical Choice" that she decided to undergo a double mastectomy after a gene test revealed she had an 87 per cent chance of developing breast cancer, the disease that killed her mother.

The actress said she had completed three months of medical procedures by the end of April, which she had so far managed to keep out of the public eye.

Jolie's own mother died of breast cancer aged 56 and Jolie found that she herself had the 'faulty' BRCA1 gene, which increased her chances of getting the disease to 87 per cent, and of getting ovarian cancer to 50 per cent.

Pitt called her decision to undergo a double mastectomy “absolutely heroic”. He added: “All I want for is for her to have a long and healthy life, with myself and our children. This is a happy day for our family.”

The 37-year-old Tomb Raider actress and humanitarian activist said the reason behind her decision was to reassure her children - of which she has three biological and three adopted - that the illness that took their grandmother would not do the same to her.

In the article, she wrote: ”I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer. 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.“

She also thanked Pitt, describing him as ”so loving and supportive“.

Following her surgery, which involved breast reconstruction with implants, the actress' chance of developing the cancer has dropped to under 5 per cent.

She says her decision to write about her experience came from wanting to reassure other women that they ”have options“.

”I choose not to keep my story private because there are many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer,“ she said.