Angelina Jolie has opened up about the death of her mother Marcheline Bertrand in a heartfelt tribute. The 44-year-old actress was in a reflective mood when she penned an emotional op-ed for the New York Times on Mother's Day. Bertrand died in 2007 after losing her battle with ovarian cancer, aged 56.
Angelina wrote: "I lost my mother in my thirties. When I look back to that time, I can see how much her death changed me.
"It was not sudden, but so much shifted inside. Losing a mother’s love and warm, soft embrace is like having someone rip away a protective blanket.”
The Maleficent star, who is a mother of six, also wrote how her life was affected by her mother's split from dad, actor Jon Voight.
She continued: "When my father had an affair, it changed her life. It set her dream of family life ablaze. But she still loved being a mother," Jolie wrote.
"Her dreams of being an actor faded as she found herself, at the age of 26, raising two children with a famous ex who would cast a long shadow on her life. After she died, I found a video of her acting in a short film. She was good. It was all possible for her."
In the years after the death of her mother, Angelina had a small "W" tattoo which was a reference to the Rolling Stones song 'Winter' which was sung to Angelina as a baby by her mum. As the tattoo faded over the years, Angelina said that it helped with her "own loss."
She wrote: "As the ‘W’ faded on my hand, so did that feeling of home and protection. Life has taken many turns.
"I’ve had my own loss and seen my life take a different direction. And it hurt more than I imagined it ever would."
Angelina also wrote about how she empathises with "all the mothers and fathers with children at home," as families adjust to life amid the coronavirus pandemic.
She wrote: "It is a lovely thing to discover that your children don’t want you perfect. They just want you honest. And doing your best.
"In fact, the more room they have to be great where you are weak, the stronger they may become. They love you. They want to help you."
Angelina is a special envoy of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and she shared her thoughts on the mothers she has met around the world.
She added: "This Mother’s Day, I think of refugee mothers I have met, living in poverty and displacement.
"Everyone began her journey of motherhood with a promise to do all she could to protect her child. To lay down her life if necessary.
"And if she is defeated and silenced, few things are more tragic. Through refugees, I’ve come to believe that a mother is the strongest person on earth.
"The softness of her skin is deceptive. She is a force driven by love and loyalty. There is no one who solves more problems."
Jolie concluded: "When she has only love to give, it pours from her soul. When a mother comes to you for help and you do not provide it, she may weep. But she will never give up. When you deny her child safety and shelter, she may seek it in a hostile land where her body is vulnerable to abuse. Her heart will be sick with loss. But she will fight on for her child. Because she is a mother."