On Sunday, March 8, Angelina Jolie revealed in a first-person essay in Time that her two of her daughters have faced “medical challenges” that resulted in surgery.
The essay, Why Girls Deserve Love and Respect on International Women’s Day, begins with Jolie sharing her family’s recent health issues: “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,” the 44-year-old actress wrote.
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“They know that I am writing this, because I respect their privacy and we discussed it together and they encouraged me to write,” she added. “They understand that going through medical challenges and fighting to survive and heal is something to be proud of.”
While Jolie referred directly to 15-year-old Zahara, she didn’t specify which of her two younger daughters underwent hip surgery. Recently, Jolie’s 13-year-old daughter Shiloh was photographed walking on crutches over the weekend while shopping with her mom and 11-year-old sister Vivienne.
Zahara was also spotted recently after her surgeries, attending Cirque du Soleil with her family, where she was seen wearing an IV drip.
“She’s been in her pajamas, in the pediatric ward, by their side,” a source told PEOPLE.
A different source said Jolie took Shiloh and Vivienne shopping for flowers on Sunday. “They all got flower arrangements. Shiloh looked like she was used to walking with the crutches. She was pretty quick and didn’t struggle. She only needed some help getting into the car. Vivienne was sweet and kept an eye on her. You could tell that the sister are close and care about each other,” the source said.
In her Time essay, Jolie went on to describe the sweet way all three of her daughters have stepped in to care for each other amid the surgeries.
“I have watched my daughters care for one another. My youngest daughter studied the nurses with her sister, and then assisted the next time,” the actress wrote. “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.”
The Maleficent star then praised her daughters for their strength and for facing challenges head-on.
“I also watched them face their fears with a resolute bravery,” Jolie wrote. “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 [sic] through the pain, so we steady ourselves and do it.”
The actress also gave her three boys – 18-year-old Maddox, 16-year-old Pax, and 11-year-old Knox – shout-out, writing how “supportive and sweet” they’ve been while taking care of their sisters.
An insider shared with PEOPLE that the two girls “look to be recovering.”
Jolie shared the news of her two daughters getting surgery as a social commentary for International Women’s Day, telling readers to “value girls” while emphasizing that their “softness, their openness and instinct to nurture and help others, must be appreciated and not abused.”
“My wish on this day 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 actress concluded her essay.
Jolie shares six children with her ex-husband Brad Pitt.