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Brad Pitt Lauds Angelina Jolie Over Her Double Mastectomy: 'It's A Scary Decision'

11/02/2015 08:10 EST | Updated 11/02/2015 11:59 EST

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are opening up about her double mastectomy, two years after she came forward about the procedure.

It's a subject that had both of them appearing emotional as they spoke with Today's Tom Brokaw, in an interview that was posted to YouTube Monday.

In the interview, which came as the pair promote their upcoming film "By the Sea," Brokaw spoke about Jolie's double mastectomy, and her subsequent operation to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes.

They were carried out to reduce her risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer. Her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, died of the latter in 2007, at the age of 56.

Asked how he felt amid Jolie's operations, Pitt said they were inspirational.

"It's a scary decision," he said. "There's many things that can go wrong and it can go in many different directions, but it was really led by her dedication, this is what I've got to do, and this is what I'm going to do."

Pitt added that there was "no vanity" in Jolie's decision: "It was just another one of those things in life that makes you tighter. She was doing it for her kids and she was doing it for her family so we could be together."

Jolie, meanwhile, had plenty of praise for her husband: "I think that he 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 our family, that it's not about your physical body."

"By the Sea" is a film that Jolie directed and stars in alongside her husband. They filmed it while on their honeymoon in France in August 2014.

It tells the story of an ex-dancer and her writer husband, who traverse the French countryside and struggle to keep their relationship from falling apart.

The film has grief as its theme, and it was inspired by Jolie's own feelings after her mother died.

"When I went to visit my mom in the hospital when she found out she had cancer the first time, she was going to have her ovaries removed, she was very upset, and feeling like this was them taking out her parts that were female," Jolie told Brokaw. "There was a woman down the hall that was wailing. I later found out it was a young woman who had not had children yet, and that put everything into perspective."

Jolie added that she and her mother had some of the same nurses and doctors. Before she died, Bertrand had made her doctor promise that she would remove Jolie's ovaries.

"When we got together [with the doctor] we had a big cry, she said, 'I promised your mother, I've got to do this,'" Jolie said.

Since Jolie went public about her procedures, many more women are having mastectomies in order to prevent breast cancer, says research from the cancer centre at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto.

The trend has been called the "Angelina effect."

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