Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt Got Matching Tattoos Months Before Announcing Their Divorce
#TBT: Check in every Thursday as we throw it back to some of our favorite celebrity couples of all time.
Who: Oscar-winning actor Brad Pitt and Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie.
How They Met: Pitt and Jolie famously met while filming their spy thriller Mr. and Mrs. Smith in 2004, and while they had undeniable chemistry, Pitt was still married to Jennifer Aniston at the time, and Jolie said that she had no intentions of breaking up their relationship.
“I didn’t know much about exactly where Brad was in his personal life,” she told Vogue in 2006. “But it was clear he was with his best friend, someone he loves and respects. And so we were both living, I suppose, very full lives. … I think we were the last two people who were looking for a relationship. I certainly wasn’t. I was quite content to be a single mom.” (Pitt had recently split from ex-husband Billy Bob Thornton, to whom she had been married for three years.)
Though they denied relationship rumors at the time and kept their distance from each other when it came time to promote Mr. and Mrs. Smith, they later admitted that the set of the movie was where they "fell in love."
Why We Loved Them: Brangelina, of course, wasn't without controversy when they first got together. (Who else remembers the "Team Aniston" and "Team Jolie" t-shirts that flew off store shelves in the midst of the Pitt-Aniston breakup?) It didn't help that Pitt and Jolie posed for a W magazine spread titled “Domestic Bliss,” in which they played husband and wife, causing Aniston to say that there was a "sensitivity chip that's missing" when it came to her ex-husband.
Despite the initial negative press, Pitt and Jolie not only grew to become a Hollywood power couple, but also used their A-list status to advocate for good. Jolie, who was named UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador in 2001, was already a widely recognized humanitarian and activist, and Pitt's own philanthropic efforts grew once they got together. They founded the Jolie-Pitt Foundation, and made multiple sizable donations to causes including the Haiti earthquake relief in 2010 and to the SOS Children's Villages.
In 2006, Pitt told Esquire, "Angie and I will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able."
When They Peaked: Their lengthy relationship gave us plenty of "aww"-worthy moments, but nothing tops Pitt's unwavering support of Jolie when she underwent a preventative double mastectomy.
"I am fortunate to have a partner, Brad Pitt, who is so loving and supportive," she wrote in the New York Times. "So to anyone who has a wife or girlfriend going through this, know that you are a very important part of the transition. Brad was at the Pink Lotus Breast Center, where I was treated, for every minute of the surgeries. We managed to find moments to laugh together. We knew this was the right thing to do for our family and that it would bring us closer. And it has."
The two also appeared in a rare joint interview together to discuss the procedure, with Pitt saying, "There was no vanity to my wife's approach, it was mature, it was an excitement to where, this is our life, we're going to make the most of it. There's strength in that."
"I knew through the surgeries that he was on my side and that this wasn't something where I was going to feel less of a woman," Jolie said. "Because my husband wasn't going to let that happen."
At one point, they were so bonded that they got matching tattoos of Buddhist symbols using the same ink "to symbolically bind them as husband and wife"— though they ended up announcing their split months later.
The Breakup: In news that shocked everyone, Brangelina announced in 2016 that after roughly 12 years together, they would be splitting up. The couple, who share six children — Maddox, Pax, Zahara, Shiloh, Knox, and Vivienne — released separate statements, with Pitt saying that his focus was on their kids.
“I am very saddened by this, but what matters most now is the well-being of our kids,” he said. “I kindly ask the press to give them the space they deserve during this challenging time.”
Jolie, on the other hand, released a statement through her lawyer, who said, “This decision was made for the health of the family. She will not be commenting at this time, and asks that the family be given their privacy during this difficult time.”
Where They Are Now: After a long period of complicated divorce proceedings, Pitt and Jolie negotiated a bifurcated judgment earlier this year, which allows them both to have legal "single" status. And since then, their relationship has reportedly improved vastly.
Jolie was rumored to be dating an unnamed man last year, and Pitt was linked to MIT professor Neri Oxman (though both parties denied a realationship). Jolie and Pitt have otherwise remained staunchly private about their dating lives.
In addition to starring in movies like the upcoming Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Pitt has also gotten in touch with his artistic side; he's apparently taken up sculpting in the wake of the split.