"I don't have any opinion of what she 'should have' done. All are free to choose, I only objected to the term 'brave' describing it," Etheridge said in a statement to E! News. The "I'm the Only One" singer, who got diagnosed with the disease in 2004, previously said in an interview with Washington Blade that she would not call Jolie's choice to get her breasts surgically removed "brave."
"I have to say I feel a little differently [than Jolie]. I have that gene mutation too and it's [a double mastectomy] not something I would believe in for myself. I wouldn't call it the brave choice. I actually think it's the most fearful choice you can make when confronting anything with cancer," she said.
Etheridge added, "Plenty of people have the gene mutation and everything but it never comes to cancer. I would say to anybody faced with that, that choice is way down the line on the spectrum of what you can do and to really consider the advancements we've made in things like nutrition and stress levels."
At the "World War Z" premiere in New York City on June 17, Brad Pitt said that he had not heard news about Etheridge's statement. "I don't know. Somebody just said that," the actor told Us Weekly. Jolie's fiance, who invited Etheridge to perform at his wedding to Jennifer Aniston in 2000, added, "Melissa's an old friend of mine. I'm sure we'll talk on the phone. I don't know what it is."
Jolie revealed in an op-ed piece featured in the New York Times in May that she took preventive double mastectomy because she had 87 percent chance of contracting breast cancer. "I think it's an individual decision and I found it very empowering instead of scary," Pitt said after the news broke out. "I find Angie's choice, as well as so many others like her, absolutely heroic," he added to London's Evening Standard.