The Little-Known Reason Shiloh Jolie-Pitt Had To Have Surgery

To the surprise of many fans, Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, the eldest of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's three biological children together, was photographed walking with the aid of underarm crutches on multiple outings in Los Angeles, California, in early 2020. While her A-list mom has been candid about her own health struggles over the years — including undergoing a preventative double mastectomy in 2013 and an oophorectomy in 2017, as well as a brief encounter with Bell's palsy in 2016 — it was less expected that Shiloh would be the one using an assistive device in public. The reason why Shiloh was using crutches wasn't as much of a mystery as it might have seemed at first glance, however.

Despite the circulating photographs, it wasn't actually the paparazzi who broke the news about Shiloh's health. Angelina revealed in an essay that she wrote to mark International Women's Day in 2020 that both Shiloh and her older sister, Zahara, had undergone surgical procedures earlier that year. The "Girl, Interrupted" star also stated that her daughters had given her their blessings to tell the public about their experiences in the essay.

Shiloh Jolie-Pitt underwent hip surgery

In a 2020 TIME essay to mark International Women's Day, Angelina Jolie began by writing, "I have spent the last two months in and out of surgeries with my eldest daughter, and days ago watched her younger sister go under the knife for a hip surgery." Although this statement could have applied to Angelina's youngest daughter, Vivienne, her words later clarified that it likely was not the case, since the actor mentioned, "My youngest daughter studied the nurses with her sister, and then assisted the next time." Additionally, paparazzi photos of Shiloh taken shortly thereafter showed the teenager walking aside her mom with the assistance of underarm crutches (as seen above).

While Angelina did not name Shiloh as the daughter who had hip surgery in her essay, this served as visual confirmation that it was Shiloh who underwent this operation rather than Vivienne. At the time that the paparazzi photos were taken, Shiloh was wearing shorts and although her hips were covered, she had neither visible bandages nor a spica cast. Based on this, the procedure might not have required a grueling recovery process, or she might've recovered significantly by the time she was photographed.

No support was lost for Shiloh amidst her recovery, either. Despite her parents' tumultuous relationship, Page Six reported that father Brad Pitt missed the BAFTAs that year due to a "family obligation." A source told the outlet that "the children come before anything" for the "Fight Club" star.

Shiloh Jolie-Pitt's dancing shows she's recovered well

Although she has had at least one hip operation of which the public is aware, it is difficult to tell from Shiloh Jolie-Pitt's dance videos. The star kid has surprised viewers with her hip-hop and jazz funk routines to songs such as Doja Cat's "Vegas," filmed by choreographer and dance teacher Hamilton Evans and posted to his verified YouTube channel, where Jolie-Pitt is credited as a dancer in the description of Evans' video as "Shilo Pitt." (It is unclear if this misspelling is accidental or a deliberate attempt to provide Jolie-Pitt with greater privacy online.) The description of the "Vegas" video gives its filming location as Millennium Dance Complex, a dance studio in Los Angeles, California, at which Evans teaches.

Other videos of Jolie-Pitt, such as an Instagram video posted by Millennium Dance Complex instructor Cristian Faxola to "The Other Side" by Justin Timberlake and SZA, have gone viral, especially on TikTok. While Jolie-Pitt's parents tend not to discuss much of their children's personal lives with the media, it is clear from her dance instructors' uploads that she is talented at multiple styles of dance — whether it's just simply a hobby for her or something that she plans to pursue as a career. Either way, we're rooting for her!

Recovery wasn't as easy for one member of the Jolie-Pitt family

Though it appears that things were smooth sailing for Shiloh Jolie-Pitt as she recovered from her hip procedure, this was not the case for her sister. Zahara Jolie-Pitt, who is Black, experienced racial discrimination from a nurse at least once during her post-operative recovery, which Angelina Jolie revealed during an interview on biases in the medical field with student Malone Mukwende in a piece for TIME.

Angelina recounted the incident in the interview, saying, "Recently my daughter Zahara, whom I adopted from Ethiopia, had surgery, and afterward a nurse told me to call them if her skin 'turned pink.'" While Angelina remained vague about the exact circumstances, she clarified that Zahara's skin would not have turned pink in that instance because of her darker skin tone, whereas the nurse who was treating her was basing her guidance on how a patient with lighter skin would have looked. 

Not much else was said about the recovery, though Zahara's surgery wasn't her first documented public health affliction. It was previously reported around the time of her adoption, Zahara was hospitalized for the treatment of a salmonella infection after fending off initial malnutrition (via People).