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Revealed: How Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie Kept Her Double Mastectomy Secret

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May. 23 2013, Published 6:40 a.m. ET

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Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie used early-morning medical appointments and rental cars to keep her recent health crisis secret, it's been revealed.

According to a new report, "Brad did everything he could to keep things secret and protect Angie," a family insider told PEOPLE.

And Jolie's doctor, Kristi Funk, told the magazine the 49-year-old actor was at Jolie's side for every surgery.

They even "managed to find moments to laugh together," she said, as Jolie wrote her op-ed for the New York Times titled, My Medical Choice. In the article, the the Academy Award-winning actress revealed that between early February and late April she completed three months of preventive surgical procedures to remove both breasts.

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Pitt's strength and devotion to Jolie, 37, has highlighted to unflagging bond between the pair, who met in 2004 and engaged in April, last year, much to the delight of their children -- Maddox, 11, Pax, 9, Zahara, 8, Shiloh, 7, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 4.

"In my mind, he's already married," Pitt's friend and furniture-design partner, Frank Pollaro, said in a new interview.

"This is an admirable person, a man with a deep love for his family."

"They are very loving and inspiring to each other," another colleague, Jeremy Kleiner, who is a long time executive at Pitt's Plan B production company and a producer on his upcoming movie World War Z, told PEOPLE.

"He would light up" on set "when his family showed up," added Kleiner. "It's just a very cool thing to see... Brad is passionate about his family. They're a great source of happiness for him."

Though Jolie is leaning on her family at this time, there is little rest, however: She's already planning to direct a movie, Unbroken, and was reportedly laboring over storyboard at home just a few days after her mastectomy.

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