Actress, humanitarian, and health advocate, Angelina Jolie is one of the bravest when it comes to taking action for her body, so it’s no surprise her children would follow in her footsteps. In a new essay she wrote for Time in honor of International Women’s Day, the Oscar-winning actress revealed two of her daughters underwent surgeries. Although she didn’t call them by their names, Angelina specified by referring to them as her eldest (Zahara, 15) and her younger sister (Shiloh, 13).
“I have spent the last two months in and out of surgeries with my eldest daughter and days ago watched her younger sister go under the knife for a hip surgery,” she began in an essay. “They know that I am writing this, because I respect their privacy and we discussed it together and they encouraged me to write. They understand that going through medical challenges and fighting to survive and heal is something to be proud of.”
The First They Killed My Father star continued, “I have watched my daughters care for one another. My youngest daughter studied the nurses with her sister, and then assisted the next time. I saw how all my girls so easily stopped everything and put each other first, and felt the joy of being of service to those they love.” Angelina, who is also a mother to daughter Shiloh, 13 and sons Maddox, 18, Pax, 16, and Vivienne and Knox, 11, added: “I also watched them face fears with a resolute bravery. We all know that moment when no one else can help us, and all we can do is close our eyes and breathe. When only we can take the next step or breath through the pain, so we steady ourselves and do it.”
The director further expressed her thoughts on how the young girls’ “instinct to nurture and help others must be appreciated and not abused,” and that her wish on IWD “is that we value girls. Care for them. And know that the stronger they grow, the healthier they will be and the more they will give back to their family and community.”
The Maleficent actress concluded her essay, “And my message to girls is, fight on, little ladies. Your care for each other will be a large part of your way forward. Hold your nerve. Know your rights. And never let anyone tell you that you are not precious and special and, above all, equal.”