LOS ANGELES (AFP) — Iconic superstars, high-profile humanitarians and now proud parents of six children: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s romance could only have been forged in Hollywood.
The birth of Pitt and Jolie’s twins — a boy and a girl — at a hospital in the south of France late Saturday is the latest chapter in a story that has transfixed celebrity-watchers since the couple became an item in 2005.
The couple — who are among the highest paid stars in Hollywood, commanding 10-20 million dollars a film — share three adopted kids and three birth children, a multicultural family with multiple homes that celebrates the traditions of the birth-countries of all their offspring.
Pitt, 44, was by Jolie’s side for the births, by caesarean operation, of Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline at a clinic in Nice, reports said.
Gynaecologist Michel Sussmann told People magazine: “The babies are doing well. The operation went just perfectly.”
“Angelina is in very good spirits. Brad Pitt was at her side. He was there and all was well.”
The couple, who met while filming “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” in 2005, have seen their relationship flourish despite frenzied tabloid attention and relentless speculation about a possible split.
Much of that is attributable to the maelstrom that erupted three years ago when it became clear that Pitt and his ex-wife Jennifer Aniston were separating. Press immediately portrayed Jolie, 33, as the home-wrecking “other woman” behind the break-up.
But Oscar-winner Jolie has vehemently denied having an affair with Pitt while he was still in a relationship with Aniston, although in a 2006 interview with Vogue she admitted falling in love with her co-star during “Mr and Mrs Smith”.
“Whether it was shooting a scene or arguing about a scene or gun practice or dance class or doing stunts — anything we had to do with each other, we just found a lot of joy in it together and a lot of real teamwork,” Jolie said.
“And it took until, really, the end of the shoot for us, I think, to realize that it might mean something more than we’d earlier allowed ourselves to believe,” Jolie said.
A talented actress, Jolie is the daughter of actor Jon Voight, and is known for her full lips, quirky tastes and tattoos. She began her meteoric rise to stardom when she took home an Oscar for her work in 1999’s “Girl, Interrupted.”
After founding a family with Pitt, with whom she shares adopted children from Cambodia, Ethiopia and Vietnam, she began working as an activist for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
In December 2006 Jolie, becoming better known as a sensitive woman in tune with the developing world’s problems, and Pitt spent Christmas with Colombian refugees in Costa Rica.
They also announced they would try to put more focus on Cambodia, where Jolie filmed scenes from “Lara Croft: Tombraider” in 2000.
And Pitt , the drifter in “Thelma and Louise” and the thief from “Ocean’s Eleven,” officially gave his family name to kids Jolie began adopting when she was still married to actor Billy Bob Thornton: sons Maddox, 6; Pax, 4, and daughter Zahara, 3.
In May 2006 Jolie gave birth to daughter Shiloh in Namibia, where the couple found fairly isolated privacy.
Jolie and Pitt are also notable philanthropists, and have given away millions of dollars through their Jolie Pitt Foundation.
They delivered one-million dollar donations to Doctors without Borders and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, data show.
The couple even turned the tabloids’ fascination with getting the first pictures of their daughter Shiloh into philanthropy. Published in June 2006, the pictures may have raised as much as eight million euros (10 million dollars at the time) which were given to charity according to Britain’s Press Gazette.
Most recently, the couple have donated one million dollars to support the education of 8,000 children affected by the war in Iraq.
Pitt meanwhile has also been volunteering, particularly in New Orleans, where he has helped projects to rebuild homes destroyed in Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The couple remain coy about whether they ever plan to marry.
“People have made a lot out of it that we’re not,” Jolie told a recent interviewer. “But we both have been married before, and it’s very easy to get married, but it’s not easy to build a family and be parents together.
“Any maybe we’ve done it backwards, but we certainly feel married.”