Hello (August 2008)

Introducing the Twins

By Juliet Herd

Nestled together under a blanket and peacefully napping, newborn twins Vivienne Marcheline and Knox Leon are watched over by their proud parents Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

These are the first exquisite photos of the latest additions to the growing Jolie-Pitt clan. And while the world has been waiting to meet them, the babies, themselves, couldn’t be more oblivious of the fuss, keeping their eyes firmly shut during their debut photoshoot.

Not even the presence of their excited brothers and sisters, Maddox, seven, Pax Thien, four, Zahara, three, and Shiloh, two, could disturb their newborn slumber.

Each of the four older Jolie-Pitt children couldn’t wait for their turn to hold the twins with the two girls particularly keen. The bond that unites the family is clear to see; their every smile and gesture underpinned by a deep and enduring love.

Taken at the sprawling 17th century country estate that the Jolie-Pitts have been renting for the past few months in Provence, France, Hello!’s exclusive pictures give a fascinating insight into one of the world’s most famous families. They show just how hands-on Brad, 44, and Angelina, 33, are as parents as they give their full attention to their lively, expanding brood. What is also abundantly clear is just how close and supportive they are as a couple, and taking in their stride becoming a family of eight in just three years – with a remarkable six children under the age of eight!

‘Wanting a big family is one of the things that brought us together,’ Angelina tells Hello!. Motherhood certainly suits her. Wearing no make-up and with the long dark hair unstyled, the Wanted actress has never looked more naturally beautiful or content – despite her obvious lack of sleep.

The twins were born by Caesarean section on July 12 at the Fondation Lenval Hospital in Nice. Knox entered the world at 6.27pm followed by his sister Vivienne one minute later, with Brad cutting both babies’ umbilical cords.

The proud parents named their new daughter after Angelina’s late mother, French actress Marcheline Bertrand, and Knox was named after Brad’s maternal grandfather.

It was partly in tribute to her mother, who died last year, that Angelina and Brad choose France as the twins’ birthplace.

Of course, the couple, who are committed to helping disadvantaged and sick children around the world through their charity the Jolie-Pitt Foundation (which will receive all the proceeds from these photos), have made a point of creating their own international family, of adopted as well as biological children. They are rumoured to be planning to extend the family further.

For now, though, they are focusing on spending their time helping the twins settle in with their siblings. Despite their superstar status, the couple’s lifestyle in France is remarkably normal and unaffected.

There are several nannies, but no live-in staff, and the babies sleep in the same room as their parents, waking up for feeds every three hours. Although the surroundings may be grand – the 800-acre Chateau Miraval features a vineyard and moat – it is essentially a family home with all the chaos and mess that goes with having a young family.

Here, Brad and Angelina talk exclusively to Hello! about the birth of their twins and what life is really like in the Jolie-Pitt household.

First of all, congratulations on the birth of the twins. with six children, how chaotic is the Jolie-Pitt household these days?

Angelina: ‘Fortunately, Grammy and Papa (Brad’s parents) are here. So, yes, it is chaos but we are managing it and having a wonderful time’.

Brad: ‘Still a cuckoo’s nest!’

Is either of you getting much sleep?

A: ‘Of course we aren’t getting much sleep, though there is a point in the day when four out of six are asleep. And that’s the best time to nap.’

How do you manage feed times with two babies?

A: ‘They are on the same schedule. They eat every three hours and I’m getting better at holding them both for breastfeeding at the same time, so that helps. Usually the other kids come in and hold them when they finish. They help with the baths and the changing.’

B: ‘We try to get them to eat simultaneously for the sake of time management, but it gets a little crowded at the bar!’

What was your reaction when you found out you were having twins?

A: ‘We were in shock and could not stop laughing.’

B: ‘We burst into hysterics. My sister had made a joke about twins literally the night before, because my grandparents and sis both had twins. Angie was on the table during the sonogram, and we were in hysterics. we didn’t see this one coming.’

The wins are absolutely beautiful. How did you feel when you saw first Knox and Vivienne?

A: ‘I knew that like all twins they would be premature, so when I saw they were big and screaming with healthy lungs, I was at peace.’

B: ‘I felt an awe that words fail to describe.’

Where did the names Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline come from?

B: ‘The name Vivienne came to us earlym as if she named herself. She has always been Viv. And Marcheline is to honour Angie’s late mother. Knox is a family name – my grandfather’s – and Leon is a classic French name.

A: ‘Every time I see or say Vivienne’s full name I think of my mom. I look forward to the day she asks about her and I can tell her how special her grandmother was.’

Can you tell about their personalities and any similarities to each of you?

B: ‘I dare to say Viv is proving to resemble Ange in spirit, attitude and physicallity. She is quite elegant like her mother. And Knox, he’s a bit of me. He likes music like his dad. When he was born he looked like Putin!’

How did you prepare your other children for the twins’ arrival?

A: ‘There’s a Dora the Explorer where Dora’s mom has twins. A boy and a girl. They watched that a lot. They were excited.’

Did you give them each a special present when the babies were born?

A: ‘We had cupcakes to celebrate Knox and Viv’s birthday.’

Are the children fluent in French now?

A: ‘Mad speaks French better than any of us. His schooling is done 70 per cent in French.’

What is Maddox like as a big brother?

B: ‘This is Mad’s fourth and fifth time at becoming an older bro. He’s asking us when we can have more!’

Has Shiloh embraced being a big sister?

A: ‘Shiloh calls them her babies. She and Zahara pick out their clothes, help change and hold them. It’s sweet; they are little mommies.’

How do you manage to make time for each child every day?

A: ‘We do manage to make spcial time for each child. With six kids it takes up the majority of the day! Of course we get tired, but we made a decision to have a big family and support each other to make it work.’

Brad, how did you find the whole pregnancy/birth experience? You must have been incredibly roud of Angelina?

B: ‘I find the process absolutely heroic.’

Angelina, did you have any food cravings during your pregnancy?

A: ‘My only cravings was cheese and milk. Still is.’

Were the twins’ births relatively smooth and straightforward?

B: ‘Yes. We had a fantastic medical team at The Fondation Lenval under the steady hand od Dr Michel Sussman. We are forever in their debt.’

Which baby arrived first?

B: ‘Knox first, then Viv one minute later.’

Angelina, you spent the last two weeks of your pregnancy on bedrest in hospital. How did you pass the time?

A: ‘Brad and the kids came a few nights each week and spent the night. So we never went too long without seeing each other. I also watched The War by Kevin Burns. I had figured it would be the only chance I had to watch a 15-hour documentary!’

How is your recovery from surgery going?

A: ‘The first few days were a little difficult but we had a great team of doctors and they helped me feel better quickly.’

B: ‘She’s over-achieving.’

Did you always assume you would have children some day? Did you ever think you would have this many?!

A: ‘Wanting a big family is one of the things that brought us together.’

B: ‘Always said if I were to do it, I’d do it big!’

There were reports that the twins were conceived through IVF. Would you like to comment on that?

A: ‘If they had been conceived through IVF we would have been happy to discuss it. But we have been fortunate never to have had fertility problems.’

You have said that you treat all the children exactly the same. Did you worry that you might feel differently once you had biological children?

A: ‘Each of our children is unique and special to us. It makes no difference if they are adopted or biological.’

You were very close to your own mother, Angelina. What values did she instil in you and what have you carried forward from your own upbringing?

A: ‘My mom loved being a mom and made sure her children knew every day how much joy we brought to her. I hope to give that to my kids.’

Do you have any charity trips planned as part of your work with the Jolie-Pitt Foundation?

A: ‘The next trip for our Foundation will most likely be Asia to follow up on the situation in Burma and our work in Cambodia. The boys have been asking to go so we will take them when Knox and Viv are a little older.’

What are your next projects?

A: ‘We will be building a TB/AIDS clinic in Ethiopia. One we plan for Zahara to take over when she is older.’

Is it true you make it a rule never to work at the same time?

B: ‘Yes, we try to never work at the same time to keep the brood together.’





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