Angelina Jolie revealed in a Vanity Fair interview Wednesday that she had been diagnosed with Bell’s palsy after the very public split from her husband Brad Pitt last year.

According to the health website Web MD, Bell's palsy “is a condition in which the muscles on one side of your face become weak or paralyzed. It affects only one side of the face at a time, causing it to droop or become stiff on that side.” This medical condition is caused by excessive trauma to the seventh cranial nerve, also called the “facial nerve.” This results in miscommunication between the brain stem and the muscles on either side of the patient's face, causing the latter to stop responding to neurological signals.

Bell’s palsy can be quite scary for first timers who are unaware of the existence of such a disease. This is due to the fact that the symptoms of the conditions resemble that of a heart attack or a stroke. Hence, most people might mistake the condition to be much serious than it is and rush to the nearest hospital in a fit of panic while, as it may turn out later, all they suffer from is facial paralysis.

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No single trigger has been pinned down as being responsible for causing Bell’s palsy. However, Jolie explained during the interview that she had been diagnosed with hypertension, or high blood pressure that caused her to suffer from the particular condition. "Sometimes women in families put themselves last," she told Vanity Fair. "Until it manifests itself in their own health."

More often than not, doctors have linked viral infections like herpes simplex 1 virus (which causes cold sores) to be responsible for causing Bell's palsy. "Once other potential causes of facial paralysis are excluded, including tumor, Lyme disease, and shingles, the specific cause of Bell's palsy is usually not identified," David Simpson, M.D., director of the Neuromuscular Division in the Department of Neurology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City said, CBS News reported. "The major prevailing theory concerning the cause of Bell palsy is that it is an immune reaction of the facial nerve in response to a viral infection."

Diagnosis of the mysterious disease that gives the patient no prior warning before occurring, is as difficult as treating it. MRIs and CT scans are often involved in eliminating other possible causes of facial paralysis, narrowing it down to Bell’s palsy.

Even though minor cases of Bell’s palsy normally gets resolved on its own within a few weeks, pain relievers or steroids might be taken to prevent excessive facial swellings if the condition persists for long. Electromyography might also be used by otolaryngologists to test nerve function and muscle reaction to electrical or neurological activation. For Jolie, it was acupuncture that did the trick.

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“I can’t tell if It's menopause or if it’s just been the year I’ve had. Sometimes women in families put themselves last until it manifests itself in their own health,” she said. “I actually feel like more of a woman because I’m being smart about my choices, and I’m putting my family first, and I’m in charge of my life and my health. I think that’s what makes a woman complete.”

The following are a number of celebrities who have been diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy in the past:

George Clooney

He was 14 when he was diagnosed with the disease and became terrified when he was suddenly unable to drink milk as it kept spilling out of the side of his frozen mouth. “I thought, 'Oh, my God, I have Lou Gehrig's disease,'" Clooney told CNN's Larry King in 2006, USA Today reported.

Pierce Brosnan

Even “James Bond” actor Pierce Brosnan suffered from facial paralysis when he encountered a virus while shooting a shirtless scene in a river in the 1980s. A side of his face drooped and he had to shoot all the scenes for the next couple of days from his left side, which was unaffected by the disease.