Jolie's mother, Marcheline Bertrand, died of ovarian cancer at age 56 after fighting the disease for a decade, and doctors said Jolie had a 50% chance of developing the same, the actress revealed in an op-ed this week in the New York Times.
The 37-year-old mother of six said she and her children have often discussed "Mommy’s mommy."
"I find myself trying to explain the illness that took her away from us," she wrote. "They have asked if the same could happen to me. I have always told them not to worry, but the truth is I carry a 'faulty' gene, BRCA1, which sharply increases my risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer."
During the period from February to late April, when Jolie had double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery, "life was normal" for the kids, a source told People.
Brad Pitt explained his fiancee's decision to go public with her ordeal in an interview with USA Today and praised how she went on with her work while the process was in progress.
"She could have stayed absolutely private about it and I don't think anyone would have been none the wiser with such good results. But it was really important to her to share the story and that others would understand it doesn't have to be a scary thing. In fact, it can be an empowering thing, and something that makes you stronger and us stronger."
He and the kids dealt with Mom's surgeries in their own way, he said.
"We set up our own little post-op recovery that became pretty fun. You make an adventure out of it."