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Angelina Jolie Talks About Bell’s Palsy That She Developed During Divorce With Brad Pitt

Angelina Jolie Talks About Bell’s Palsy That She Developed During Divorce With Brad Pitt
Photo: Instagram/@angelinajolie

"My body reacts very strongly to stress. My blood sugar goes up and down. I suddenly had Bell's palsy six months before my divorce," said the actor.

Written by Prerna Mittra |Updated : December 7, 2023 3:01 PM IST

Divorce is a messy affair, especially for celebrities who are constantly in the public eye. The emotional and mental toll that divorces take can be detrimental to the overall health of a person. It happened to actor and humanitarian Angelina Jolie, when she was going through a messy divorce with ex-husband and fellow actor, Brad Pitt. Jolie opened up about it recently and said that the stress of the separation and the unravelling of her marriage ultimately affected her health and caused her to develop Bell's palsy.

In a recent interview with WSJ Magazine, the 'Maleficent' star said: "My body reacts very strongly to stress. My blood sugar goes up and down. I suddenly had Bell's palsy six months before my divorce."

According to an Independent report, the Academy Award-winner first talked about her Bell's palsy diagnosis in 2017, calling it a "difficult year" following her split from the 'Mr. & Mrs. Smith' actor. She had previously told Vanity Fair that she developed the facial paralysis condition because of "stress from her family and relationship issues".

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"Sometimes, women who have families put themselves last, until it manifests itself in their own health," she was quoted as saying at the time. The actor, however, said acupuncture helped her make a full recovery from the condition that causes one side of the face to appear lopsided.

According to hopkinsmedicine.org, Bell's palsy is an "unexplained episode of facial muscle weakness or paralysis" that begins suddenly and worsens over 48 hours. It results from damage to the facial nerve. There is some amount of pain and discomfort on one side of the face or head.

Bell's palsy can strike anyone at any age, but is most often seen in pregnant women, and people who have diabetes, influenza, cold, or another upper respiratory ailment. The condition is said to affect both men and women, and is less common before the age of 15 or after age 60.

What are the symptoms of Bell's palsy?

  • Disordered movement of the muscles that control facial expressions, such as smiling, squinting, blinking, or closing the eyelid
  • Loss of feeling in the face
  • Headache
  • Tearing
  • Drooling
  • Loss of the sense of taste on the front two-thirds of the tongue
  • Hypersensitivity to sound in the affected ear
  • Inability to close the eye on the affected side of the face

According to Mayo Clinic, symptoms "usually start to improve within a few weeks, with complete recovery in about six months". A small number of people, however, continue to have some Bell's palsy symptoms for life. Rarely does it occur more than once.

Jolie, now 48, filed for divorce from Pitt in September 2016 after just two years of marriage and 12 years of courtship. They share six children: Maddox, 22, Pax, 19, Zahara, 18, Shiloh, 17, and 15-year-old twins, Knox and Vivienne.