Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie got married on Saturday. If it was 2006, this would be very big news.
Yet here we are in 2014, and the headlines still flew around the world when a spokesman for the superstar couple confirmed to the AP that Pitt and Jolie were married at Chateau Miraval in France over the weekend. It was a private ceremony with family and close friends only, with their kids serving in the wedding party. (Maddox, 13, and Pax, 10, walked Jolie down the aisle; Zahara, 9, and Vivienne, 6, were flower girls; Shiloh, 8, and Knox, 6, were the ring bearers, the AP reports.)
It’s anti-climactic, in a way, at least for all the tabloids who have been reporting this was happening for years — and then it never did. This low-key news, released on a Thursday morning by a wire service, is like a practical joke to all the magazines wishing for an exclusive.
Okay, so it’s done — and that’s actually a relief. Because even though the Pitt-Jolie relationship is one of the more epic Hollywood stories in recent decades, a marriage should conclude this era of madness. To fully appreciate why this is such a huge milestone in celebrity culture, let’s take a brief journey back in time and remember how the international sensation known as Brangelina all began.
It started in 2004, when “Friends” wrapped up its final season starring Jennifer Aniston, who was happily married to the world’s leading man, Pitt. From the outside, it looked so perfect. It was just a year after Jolie had split from husband Billy Bob Thornton, a favorite couple among the tabloids because they wore vials of of each other’s blood around their necks. Anyway, 2004 was when Pitt filmed “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” co-starring Jolie. They met and fell in love, though they wouldn’t confirm that until a few years later.
Aniston and Pitt divorced in spring 2005, and shortly after, Jolie and Pitt were photographed playing on the beach in Kenya with Jolie’s son, Maddox. It’s not an exaggeration to say this truly rocked the celebrity world, one incredibly beautiful person leaving another incredibly beautiful person for yet another incredibly beautiful person. The possible infidelity angle was irresistible. Neither of them ever commented on their relationship, but that didn’t stop the press from obsessing over every time they were photographed together.
The “Brangelina” nickname took hold and never let go — it upended Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez’s “Bennifer” as the combined celeb name of our time. Right around then, though, support for #TeamAniston was growing (even in a time before hashtags), especially when Jolie and Pitt took part in a W magazine photoshoot posing as a happy family — before the Pitt-Aniston divorce was even official. That led to Aniston’s famous quote to Vanity Fair about Pitt, saying, “There’s a sensitivity chip that’s missing.”
That summer, Jolie denied any wrongdoing during a “Today” show interview: “To be intimate with a married man, when my own father cheated on my mother, is not something I could forgive,” she said. “I could not look at myself in the morning if I did that. I wouldn’t be attracted to a man who would cheat on his wife.”
Then in the winter of 2006, Pitt moved to legally adopt Jolie’s children, Maddox and Zahara. A month later, they finally confirmed what everyone knew. Indeed, they were dating, and oh, Jolie was pregnant with Pitt’s baby. If the story was huge before that, it was absolutely nothing compared to what happened when little Shiloh Jolie-Pitt came into the world in May. Jolie gave birth at a hospital in Namibia to escape the press. Later, they sold the first pictures of Shiloh for reportedly $4.1 million to People magazine, and another $3.5 million to the British papers, donating it all to charity.
Fascination with the family only grew with their number of children: In subsequent years, the couple adopted Pax from Vietnam, and then Jolie gave birth to twins, Knox and Vivienne, in 2008. The Jolie-Pitts and their brood made headlines as they traveled the world for various film projects and charity work. There was an endless supply of the group all boarding and exiting planes together, which gave the media lots of time to speculate on their fashion choices.
The “love triangle” angle flared up again in 2008, when Jolie told the New York Times that she was looking forward to their kids seeing “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” explaining, “Not a lot of people get to see a movie where their parents fell in love.” That was considered a slap in the face to Aniston, and contradicted everything they said about not getting together until the Pitt-Aniston marriage was over.
Meanwhile, Jolie and Pitt continued to gain interest in their relationship by simply never getting married. Pitt said multiple times they wouldn’t tie the knot until gay marriage was legal everywhere. Still, they decided to get engaged in 2012, and kept the press at bay by simply saying their wedding would be “soon.”
And now, their actual marriage should really put a cap on this crazy story — what’s left to say? Even though Aniston still to this day can’t escape the “poor scorned Jen” angle in every tabloid story (though she’s engaged to Justin Theroux), it seems like this is the natural conclusion.
They’re married. The mystery is gone. Put away the “Team Jen” t-shirts. It’s time to wish the Brangelina scandal era an official farewell and let everyone (finally!) move on with their lives.