Angelina Jolie‘s reveal in a New York Times op-ed piece that she underwent a voluntary double mastectomy came as a shock to the world, but it was clear she did share the news on her own terms. That’s why it shouldn’t come as a shock to discover that Jolie carefully calculated the release of the op-ed.
Dr. Kristi Funk, the doctor who performed Jolie’s mastectomy and subsequent reconstructive surgeries, discusses the process Jolie went through in a new interview with Los Angeles magazine. She says Jolie “waited to find the perfect timing in her personal and professional life, but I think most importantly in her soul” to share the news of her operation.
“She is intensely private, but she calculated the moment when she would be ready to reveal something so personal,” Funk says. “When someone who is arguably the most beautiful woman in the world removes the part of her body that is symbolic of femininity and sexuality, you have to say, ‘Why would she do that?'”
The answer is so Jolie could (hopefully) prevent herself from developing breast cancer, which she was at high risk for. Jolie’s mother, Marcheline Bertrand, died of ovarian cancer in 2007, and Jolie is also considering getting her ovaries removed to prevent having that same fate. But instead of undergoing her operations privately, Jolie wanted to share what she did so others would know getting mastectomies isn’t something to be scared of.
“She knew always that in her philanthropic core she couldn’t keep this a secret and be who she is,” says Funk. “She always knew.”