Angelina Jolie is on to the next phase of her life following the preventative surgeries she underwent to remove her ovaries and Fallopian tubes this past March. Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, the actress-turned-director said she "loves" being in early menopause. "I haven't had a terrible reaction to it, so I'm very fortunate."
Angelina, who turned 40 in June, added, "I feel older, and I feel settled being older. I feel happy that I've grown up. I don't want to be young again."
The Hollywood star, who wrote, directed and starred in her latest film, By the Sea, also opened up about the inspiration behind the movie's storyline, which focuses on a marriage in turmoil after the main character, Vanessa, suffers a miscarriage.
The story was inspired by her mother's death, says Angelina, and was a way of processing her own grief as well as questioning how we move on when our body has failed us.
"I went to the hospital to visit my mom when she was about to have her ovaries removed. She was very upset, feeling like they were taking out the parts of her that were female," she recalled.
"There was another woman down the hall who was wailing. I found out later she was a young woman who hadn't had children yet – and that put everything into perspective."
Angelina's mother, actor and producer Marcheline Bertrand, died at 56 in 2007 having battled breast and ovarian cancer.
Angelina herself had preventative surgeries after she learned she carried the BRCA1 gene, which increases her risk of cancer.
She also spoke of her supportive husband Brad Pitt, who "made it very, very clear to me that what he loved and what was a woman to him was somebody who was smart, and capable, and cared about her family; that it's not about your physical body.
"So I knew through the surgeries that this wasn't going to be something that made me feel like less of a woman because my husband wouldn't let that happen," she said.