Jon Voight Learned Of Angelina Jolie's Mastectomy Online: 'I Was As Surprised As Anyone'

05/15/2013 09:30 am ET | Updated May 15, 2013

Jon Voight learned Angelina Jolie underwent a double mastectomy after reading about it online.

The 74-year-old actor did not know his daughter had gotten surgery, even though he saw her just days before her op-ed in The New York Times was published.

"My love and admiration for my daughter can't be explained in words," Voight told the New York Daily News about Jolie. "I saw her two days ago with my son Jamie. We all got together for his birthday, with her and Brad [Pitt]. But I didn't know. It wasn't obvious at all. I found out [Tuesday] morning. I was as surprised as anyone and deeply moved by the way she’s handled this."

He "absolutely" understands why she kept him in the dark for three months. “I completely understand. I want the focus to be on the inspiration," he added, saying that they spoke on Tuesday after the news went public.

Jolie and Voight have had a rocky relationship. The actor cheated on Jolie's mother, Marcheline Bertrand, with another woman in the 1970s. The two later got divorced and Bertrand raised Jolie and her brother, James Haven.

"I grew up fighting with him over things, usually regarding her [Bertrand]," the 37-year-old explained to "60 Minutes" last year. "There was a certain point where it just got to a breaking point. Things were said and things went too far. I decided that I felt it was an unhealthy relationship because it was making me feel sick, and it was making me feel bad and it was making me too emotional. So I stepped away and called my mother and said, 'He and I will not be speaking anymore.'"

In 2001, Voight went on "Access Hollywood" and tearfully pleaded for Jolie -- whom he was already estranged from -- to seek help for her "serious mental problems." Seven years later, Voight and Jolie reconciled while she was pregnant with twins Knox and Vivienne in 2008.

Jolie began speaking to her father because it was best for her family. She again put her family first when she decided to get a double mastectomy after finding out she carries the breast cancer gene, BRCA1. She said she never wants her six children to be fearful of losing their mother, since she lost her own to cancer in 2007.

"We knew this was the right thing to do for our family and that it would bring us closer," she wrote, referring to herself and fiance Brad Pitt. "And it has."

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