Angelina Jolie Opens Up About Her Mother’s Death
In celebration of Mother’s Day, 44-year-old actress Angelina Jolie wrote an emotional tribute to her late mother Marcheline Bertrand.
Bertrand died in 2007 after being diagnosed with ovarian and breast cancer.
In her tribute for the New York Times, the Academy Award-winning star chronicled Bertrand’s devotion and sacrifice for her children, the loss of her mother and the inspiration she’s gotten from refugee mothers around the world in their fight to love and protect their children.
‘I lost my mother in my thirties. When I look back to that time, I can see how much her death changed me,’ Jolie wrote in the piece that was published May 9.
‘It was not sudden, but so much shifted inside. Losing a mother’s love and warm, soft embrace is like having someone rip away a protective blanket,’ she added.
She goes on to talk about her mother’s split from her famous father Jon Vought. How this split changed her mother’s acting career and life goals as she focused more on motherhood.
“When my father had an affair, it changed my life. It set her dream of family life ablaze,’ the actress explained.
‘But she still loved being a mother. Her dreams of being an actor faded as she found herself, at the age of 26, raising two children with a famous ex who would cast a long shadow on her life. After she died, I found a video of her acting in a short film. She was good. It was all possible for her.”
Several years after her mother’s death, Jolie got a small “W” tattoo on her right hand, in remembrance of the Rolling Stone song, Winter, that Bertrand used to sing to her as a baby.
‘As the “W” faded on my hand, so did that feeling of home and protection,’ the mother of six confessed.
‘Life has taken many turns. I’ve had my own loss and seen my life take a different direction. And it hurt more than I imagined it ever would.’
Jolie, who’s a special envoy of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, also reminisced about the strength she’s gotten from her many journeys to conflict zones around the world.
‘This Mother’s Day, I think of refugee mothers I have met, living in poverty and displacement,’ she said.
‘Every one began her journey of motherhood with a promise to do all she could to protect her child. To lay down her life if necessary. And if she is defeated and silenced, few things are more tragic.’
Those brave refugee mothers’ will to survive, at times for the sake of their children, has led her to believe ‘a mother is the strongest person on earth.’
‘The softness of her skin is deceptive. She is a force driven by love and loyalty. There is no one who solves more problems. When she has only love to give, it pours from her soul.’
She concluded by stating that there is ‘nothing more painful for a mother or father than to be unable to provide their child with the things they need,’ and how the COVID-19 pandemic has made that more of a reality for many families, including the US.
‘So to the mothers everywhere who feel helpless — yet who still give every last bit of energy, every last bite of food and the only blanket to their children — I honor you.’ she wrote.
‘And to anyone who is grieving this Mother’s Day, I hope you will find consolation and strength in your memories.’
Last month, Jolie opened up about being a parent herself in a special edition of TIME‘s Parents newsletter.
“I was not a very stable youth. In fact, I never thought I could be anyone’s mom,” said the actress, who is mom to Maddox, 18, Pax, 16, Zahara, 15, Shiloh, 13, and 11-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne. “I remember the decision to become a parent. It wasn’t hard to love. It wasn’t hard to dedicate myself to someone and something greater than my life.”