Angelina Jolie’s dad, actor Jon Voight, has revealed that he did not know about his daughter’s recent surgery, but completely understands why she kept it a secret.

Voight, the star of film classic Midnight Cowboy and Deliverence, was as surprised as the rest of us to learn that Angelina Jolie underwent a double mastectomy earlier this year after doctors warned her she carries the "faulty" gene Brca1.

He even spent time with his daughter and her family, including her hubby-to-be Brad Pitt this past weekend, to celebrate her brother’s birthday, yet Jolie didn’t mention a word about her private health battle.

Speaking to the New York Daily News the actor praised his daughter's courageous decision and hailed the actress as an "inspiration". He also insisted that he had "absolute" respect for her choice not to inform him about the surgery personally.

He said: "My love and admiration for my daughter can't be explained in words. I saw her two days ago with my son Jamie (Haven). We all got together for his birthday, with her and Brad (Pitt).

"But I didn't know. It wasn't obvious at all. I found out on Tuesday morning. I was as surprised as anyone and deeply moved by the way she’s handled this.

"She’s a very extraordinary person, the way she examined it and what she shared... I completely understand (her decision to keep her surgery secret and) I want the focus to be on the inspiration."