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Angelina Jolie recalls period of her life when she felt 'broken'

Jolie recalled the anguish she felt when her mom, Marcheline Bertrand, died of cancer in 2007.
/ Source: TODAY

Angelina Jolie believes the trauma she's experienced in her own life has helped her to prepare for her new movie, "Those Who Wish Me Dead."

While chatting with Entertainment Tonight, the 45-year-old actor revealed that she's felt "broken" at times, just like her character, Hannah Faber, a veteran smokejumper who experiences tragedy on the job.

"We all have times in our lives where we feel broken, and I was in a period like that," Jolie said. "I've had my share of things that made me feel... you know, hard to speak too much about it, but just overwhelming or broken."

Angelina Jolie, center, chats with her mom, Marcheline Bertrand, left, and British star Jacqueline Bisset, right, in 2001.Lucy Nicholson / AFP via Getty Images

Jolie said she felt "lucky" to have the opportunity to play Faber, who ultimately triumphs over her devastation to find the strength to go on. "I wish all women could have this at times in their lives," she said.

The Oscar winner recalled to ET the anguish she felt when her mom, Marcheline Bertrand, died in 2007 after a nearly eight-year battle with breast and ovarian cancer.

"I've had this many times in my life. When my mom passed away ... It's a part of something when you feel you just want to kind of hide under the covers or you're not sure what you got left in you," she shared.

Jolie added that challenging herself with new opportunities has helped her to heal from emotional pain — and she encouraged others grappling with grief to embrace new challenges too.

"Go somewhere, see what you got in you. Put yourself against the elements, or try something you've never tried and kind of try to rediscover that strength within," she advised.

Jolie also said she always feels better when she makes herself useful to others.

"I think that's what I try to tell my kids," said Jolie. "It's you can try a bit of this, you can do this with your life, but at the end of the day, what's your contribution? What's your contribution to others, you know?"

Jolie shares six kids — Maddox, 19, Pax, 17, Zahara, 16, Shiloh, 14, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 12 — with ex Brad Pitt. Jolie filed for divorce from the actor in September 2016 after nearly 12 years together.

In a candid essay she wrote for the New York Times in May 2020, Jolie opened up about how she draws on her late mom for her strength.

"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," Jolie wrote. "But now, with my girls growing up and being the ages I remember so well as a daughter, I am rediscovering my mother and her spirit… She was a woman who loved, even after loss, and never lost her grace and her smile.

Jolie went on to say she felt a new connection with Bertrand, and had learned, like her, how to put on a brave face for her kids.

"I now know what it’s like to be alone and to wrap my coat around those I love," she explained. "And I know the overwhelming sense of gratitude at being strong enough to keep them safe and warm. When your children come into your life, they immediately and forever come first."