The news was a surprise, for however hard Jolie tries to keep her private life just that, the actress and her fiancé Brad Pitt are often front page fodder.
From her scandalous beginning with Pitt to her most current medical confession, see how Angelina Jolie went from wild child indie actress to celebrated humanitarian and arguably the most famous woman in the word.
Angelina Jolie was born in 1975 in Los Angeles to actor parents, Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand. She was raised primarily by her mother, who quit her career to raise Jolie and her brother, essentially as a single mother.
Jolie and Thornton announced the adoption of a son from Cambodia in 2002, but were divorced by 2003. Jolie has primary custody of son Maddox, who she adopted in 2002 at age 3 from an orphanage in Cambodia.
Jolie and Pitt became involved in a well-publicised Hollywood scandal when the two had an alleged affair while Pitt was still married to Jennifer Aniston.
The two didn't confirm their relationship until 2006, when Jolie told People that she was pregnant with Pitt's child.
After more than a decade of service as a Goodwill Ambassador, Jolie was promoted to the rank of Special Envoy of High Commissioner António Guterres in 2012 and represents the organisation at the diplomatic level. She has since won a slew of humanitarian awards.
On Tuesday, Jolie wrote an op-ed in the NY Times revealing she had undergone a secret, preventative double mastectomy.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.