By Todd Leopold
Angelina Jolie may not have been by Brad Pitt's side, but she was certainly on his mind.
Pitt attended the New York premiere of his new film, "World War Z," without Jolie, who was "getting ready for World Refugee Day," Pitt told the assembled reporters. But asked to describe his feelings for his fiancee, he didn't mince words.
"She has always been the brave, bold individual that I fell for -- and sexy as ever," he said.
Jolie recently announced she had undergone a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery after learning that she carried a mutation of the BRCA1 gene, which sharply increases her risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. Jolie's mother, Marcheline Bertrand, died from ovarian cancer in 2007.
Jolie was with Pitt at the London premiere earlier this month and said that she felt "great."
"I feel wonderful, and I'm very, very grateful for all the support. It's meant a lot to me," the actress told the BBC.
However, not everybody was 100% behind Jolie. In an interview with the Washington Blade, singer Melissa Etheridge said she believed Jolie had made a "fearful choice."
"I have that gene mutation too and (the preventive mastectomy) is not something I would believe in for myself. I wouldn't call it the brave choice," she said. "I actually think it's the most fearful choice you can make when confronting anything with cancer." Etheridge, a cancer survivor as well, said she prefers to focus on good nutrition and reducing stress levels.
Pitt, however, characterizes Jolie as "heroic."
He told USA Today in May that the past few months have been "emotional and beautifully inspiring."
"I'm quite emotional about it, of course," he said. He and Jolie have six children.
"World War Z" opens Friday.