By Dagmar Dunlevy
It was back in 2005 that sparks flew – onscreen and off – between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Now, after nearly a decade together, Hollywood’s power couple has culminated their courtship by making things official with a summer wedding.
The parents to six children (Maddox, 13, Pax, 10, Zahara, 9, Shiloh, 8, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 6) are also back in front of the camera together as they film the 2015 romantic drama By the Sea.
It’s written and directed by Brad’s new wife. He and Angelina married in an intimate ceremony at their French home Château Miraval in August in a stunning family celebration they shared with Hello!
Brad, 50, has had no shortage of adventure lately. Just last month, he and his family met the Queen when she made Angelina, 39, an honorary dame. “That was just cool,” he tells Hello! “To see the kids bow and say ‘Your Majesty’ was an absolute delight.”
In our exclusive interview, Brad – who’s winning rave reviews as a tank commander in the war drama Fury – opens up to Hello! about romancing Angelina and how far he’s come in Hollywood:
Congratulations on your wedding. It seems like the world was waiting for that. Yeah, us too! [Laughs]
What’s changed since then?
I feel like a married man. Yes, I do. We have six kids and our kids were asking [about a wedding], so we thought it would be a lovely thing to do with our family, and it was. But I was surprised afterwards that it is more than just a ceremony. I was surprised by the furthering of the depth of commitment. That’s all I got. [Smiles]
While you worked on Fury, Angelina was in Australia directing Unbroken. How did you manage that time apart?
It was a unique experience for us both to be studying the war. We have email and we have Skype, but we thought it might be interesting to just write letters, as they had to at that time. They were gone for great amounts of time without communication with their loved ones, and we did that. I will tell you what’s amazing: you do communicate in a different way. It was an interesting and lovely surprise.
How do you manage your schedules?
We usually take turns. If someone is with the kids, you work behind the scenes while someone is in front. [With both of us working] I would have half the kids with me and she would have half with her and we would find ways to figure out the conjugal visits and all that, but it was logistically challenging. I don’t want to do it again, let me just say that.
How do you like spending time together as a family?
We always have dinner together. It’s our time to talk about the day and what everyone is feeling. We talk about everything.
Are your children excited about travel?
I had never even been on a plane until I was 25 years old, so everywhere I got to travel to, whether it was the Netherlands, Tokyo or Belgium, was all such an experience and so exciting for me at that time. Now, on this schedule, we have little time to indulge in a country. When we get to go as a family we’re trying to carve out days where we experience more of the culture of the country.
Do you think your children are getting a wellrounded sense of life outside of Hollywood?
They are getting it as they are travelling the world. They see how different people live and the conditions that people are challenged with. They are getting it and they will get it.
What led you to start living in France?
The first idea was to get our kids to a place where they can just be kids and explore. We also wanted everyone to learn another language. The kids just started and are all speaking French now, so they have a chance to expand their world view.
Why the south of France in particular?
It just felt right. I think my French is pretty good. My writer-director put a lot of French in the film we are doing now [By the Sea] and my writer-director, being my wife ...[Laughs] Well, it’s coming along, but I am determined to learn it.
Tell us about shooting Fury. Did you and your co-stars become close?
We are still a tight group. And when I look at the film, I see a dysfunctional family.
You play a tank commander. What sort of leader are you?
I’ve discovered that I don’t suck at it. Like being a father, sometimes you let them have their room. You know when they need to vent and when they need to get in line. I was the oldest one of the bunch, too, so they were looking at me for some kind of guidance.
What advice do you have for young actors like some of your co-stars in Fury?
With time you get to develop your craft and I worry for the younger guys because they are used up so quickly before they are able to develop it. I mean, there are guys who are smart and making their way through it. Shia LaBeouf is certainly one of them.
This film could put you in competition with your wife come awards season! [Smiles]
It’s great to make it there and it’s great when my friends make it there. She made an incredible movie (Maleficent). But we are not pitted against each other, and I hope it gets everything. It’s noteworthy and it’s definitely worth seeing.
You and Angelina are currently working on the romantic drama By the Sea. What kind of boss is she on-set?
She’s tough as nails, you must know that! [Laughs] There’s no hiding that. I am immensely proud. She’s got this. She’s good.
How would you describe your state of mind at age 50?
I am pretty clear about how I want to live my life, what I want from my kids, my family and my wife and that determines everything. I have never been one of those guys who thinks about the five-year plan or the 10-year plan. I have always gone by instinct and have great confidence in that. That’s been my guide. I will take wisdom over youth any day.
With all that you’ve achieved, what’s next?
We spend so much of our life trying to shake our own personal haunts and I like that about getting older. I’m just improving. It’s improving on film, fatherhood, as a husband and a partner.