Angelina Jolie says she developed bells palsy in the lead up to Brad Pitt divorce

"My body reacts very strongly to stress."

Angelina Jolie
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Angelina Jolie rarely talks about her private life, despite having one of the most high-profile A-List splits in recent times. In a rare interview, the Tomb Raider star has opened up about the 'stress' she experienced in the lead up to her divorce from Brad Pitt, fellow actor and the father of her six children - Maddox Chivan, Pax Thien, Zahara Marley, Shiloh Nouvel, and twins Knox Léon and Vivienne Marcheline.

The couple divorced in 2016 after an alleged argument on a plane, which reportedly involved their children. Neither party have ever opened up about the details of the incident. But it's clear that this was a painful period for the actress, who told WSJ. Magazine: "My body reacts very strongly to stress. My blood sugar goes up and down. I suddenly had Bell’s palsy six months before my divorce."

Bell's palsy is an unexplained episode of facial muscle weakness or paralysis, that is thought to be triggered by stress. Angelina went on to say how after the divorce, it took some time for herself and her children to 'heal'. 

"We had to heal," Angelina said regarding how she felt after the divorce, without disclosing any further details. "There are things we needed to heal from."

Since the divorce, the couple have been embroiled in a legal battle over custody of their six children, as well as their vineyard in the south of France, Chateau Miraval. The legal proceedings have proved hard for Angelina, who explained in the interview that her divorce has limited her freedom to "live and travel" as she wishes.

"It’s part of what happened after my divorce. I lost the ability to live and travel as freely. I will move when I can," she continued. "I grew up in quite a shallow place. Of all the places in the world, Hollywood is not a healthy place. So you seek authenticity."

Angelina went on to say that 'I wouldn’t be an actress today' explaining that in Los Angeles she 'doesn't really have a social life' and spends most of her time at home with her six children.

"They are the closest people to me and my life, and they’re my close friends. We’re seven very different people, which is our strength. I realised my closest friends are refugees. Maybe four out of six of the women that I am close to are from war and conflict."

Angelina Jolie is starring as Maria Callas in Maria, which is due to release in 2024.

Lauren is the former Deputy Digital Editor at woman&home and became a journalist mainly because she enjoys being nosy. With a background in features journalism, Lauren has bylines in publications such as Marie Claire UK, Red Magazine, House of Coco, women&home, GoodTo, Woman's Own and Woman magazine.


She started writing for national papers and magazines at Medavia news agency, before landing a job in London working as a lifestyle assistant and covers everything from fashion and celebrity style to beauty and careers.