Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie - a Hollywood couple like no other

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt arriving for the gala screening of the film Kung Fu Panda in Cannes, France, in 2008.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt arriving for the gala screening of the film Kung Fu Panda in Cannes, France, in 2008.PHOTO: EPA

NEW YORK (AFP) - Everything about Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt - from their unparalleled glamour to their brood of six kids - made them stand out in Hollywood for a decade and see their every move watched closely the world over.

Contributing to this mega-star status was the way they met, their good looks, offbeat lifestyle, demanding and successful careers and humanitarian work.

Indeed, the way the couple formed is the stuff of legend in Hollywood - and any gossip press reporter's dream come true.

In 2004, Jolie, then 28, met Pitt, 40 and married to Jennifer Aniston, while filming Mr & Mrs Smith", an action film in which they played a couple.

Rumours quickly started to fly and in March 2005, Pitt and Aniston divorced.

Jolie, who won an Oscar in 2000 and was seen as one of showbiz's sexiest women, then teamed up with another Hollywood giant in Pitt.

Weeks later, they appeared as a couple in an atmospheric photo shoot in the magazine W, in a throwback series evoking 1950s marital life - complete with five children. And the myth was born.

On Tuesday (Sept 20), it emerged that Jolie has filed for divorce from Pitt, spelling the end of a couple that came to be known simply as "Brangelina."


Over the course of their joint stardom, Pitt and Jolie maintained a carefully tended relationship with Hollywood and the news media, feeding them as necessary but also keeping them at arm's length.

On one hand, there was all the red carpet glitz of the Oscars and such, and a few blockbuster films and the occasional interview.

But they also lived like wealthy nomads, far away from Hollywood, and dabbled in arthouse cinema.

A good example of their unique relationship with fame is this: the couple sold photos of their three newborn biological children to several publications for a fortune. Then they donated the money to charity. They did the same thing when they finally married in 2014. They also have three adopted kids.

The couple's aura only grew as they got involved in non-acting projects, either individually or as a couple.

Pitt won an Oscar for best picture in 2014 as a producer of 12 Years A Slave. He also got into design and photography.

Jolie started directing movies, to relative critical acclaim. Her best known film was Unbroken, which came out in 2014.

The couple also made wine on a property in southern France which they started renting in 2008 and finally bought in 2012.

Although they were known as "Brangelina," it was Jolie who seemed to be in charge in this duo, one like few others in the world and with access to the highest spheres of power.

Jolie also got involved in humanitarian work, while Pitt tended to be a bit more low profile.

She acted as goodwill ambassador and then special envoy for the UN refugee agency, became an outspoken activist against sexual violence in war zones and also worked to protect threatened animal species.

One of the world's most visible symbols in the battle against cancer, she underwent a double mastectomy in 2013 and later the removal of her ovaries and fallopian tubes to prevent an aggressive form of the disease that killed her mother, grandmother and aunt.

Two years later she signed an op-ed piece in The New York Times in which she discussed her ovarian surgery and urged women to take preventive action against the disease as she did, saying "knowledge is power."

And to the end, the image of Jolie as leader of the couple remained: It was she, not Pitt, who filed for divorce and sought sole custody of the kids.