In an op-ed in the New York Times under the headline “My Medical Choice,” the Oscar-winning actress said she underwent surgical procedures to remove both breasts between February and April.
She said she went public with her procedure to help other women. Jolie's mother, actress Marcheline Bertrand, died from ovarian cancer when she was 56.
“She held out long enough to meet the first of her grandchildren and to hold them in her arms,” Jolie wrote. “But my other children will never have the chance to know her and experience how loving and gracious she was.”
Jolie said she he was happy with her choice.
“My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent,” she wrote.
Brad Pitt, Jolie’s partner for the last eight years, was with her "every minute" of the surgeries at the Pink Lotus Breast Center, she wrote.
Jolie has appeared in numerous films including 2010’s “Salt,” the “Tomb Raider” films, and 1999’s “Girl, Interrupted,” that earned her an Oscar.
[For the Record, 12:19 p.m. PDT, May 14: A previous version of this post said Marcheline Bertrand died of breast cancer; she died of ovarian cancer.]
The Associated Press contributed to this report.