It was the first official photo of Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt, who was born in Namibia on May 27, 2006, joining the worldly couple’s brood including Maddox, 4, and Zahara, 1. “Brad was with Angelina in the operating room the entire time and cut the umblical cord,” Dr. Jason Rothbart told PEOPLE.
After announcing her first pregnancy in January 2006, Jolie (with Maddox that May) traveled worldwide, but in the spring she and her family settled in Namibia. According to a local source, Jolie “fell in love with the country” when she filmed Beyond Borders there in 2002.
“I’m very lucky,” Jolie, 31, told NBC’s Ann Curry when the reporter visited her that April. “But I do feel some people just don’t have the chance to discover certain things.” During her pregnancy, Jolie took on a new cause: children’s education around the globe.
Before landing in Namibia, the family holed up in Paris after attending the Davos economic forum. “We’re just being a family,” Jolie (pictured in March 2006) told PEOPLE. “We’re gonna do that for a while.”
From the start, Pitt has been a hands-on dad. In France, he took the kids to the Cirque d’Hiver with Jolie and raced toy cars with Maddox at the Invalides Esplanade. “They have this incredible warmth for kids,” says musician friend Wyclef Jean.
Before the pregnancy, fans might not have realized just how close Pitt and Jolie were, judging by their public appearances. At their Tokyo premiere in 2005, the Mr. & Mrs. Smith costars posed separately after signing autographs. But back home they’ve always been a team: Pitt has adopted Maddox and Zahara, who now share the surname Jolie-Pitt (and the couple would later adopt son Pax).
Jolie has undeniably affected Pitt, 42. In November 2005, the pair delivered food to earthquake victims (left, in the village of Jabel Sharoon). “I’m sorry we’re in this situation,” said Jolie, a longtime goodwill ambassador for the United Nations’ refugee agency, “but I am so glad to be here for them.” (To help, go to www.unhcr.ch/donate.)
But it’s not all work and no play: The gang took a family day in fall 2005 on the beach near Pitt’s oceanfront home, where Jolie had been living since the summer. As Maddox played in the sand, the couple displayed a rare tender moment (right). Just a year earlier, Pitt told Oprah Winfrey that having a family was his “dream.”
Jolie’s political work has rubbed off on Pitt: In November 2005, the couple visited the nation’s capital, where they met with officials about issues in the developing world. (Pitt, said one senator’s aide, was “knowledgeable and gracious.”) They also checked out houses for sale, but a pal says that architecture buff Pitt just “wanted to look at buildings around Washington.”
Advocacy isn’t the only thing Jolie has gotten her man into: Pitt has taken up her other passion, flying. But the actor, who started lessons (below, on Oct. 27, 2005), will have a long way to go to catch up to Jolie (above, earlier that month), a licensed private pilot. She owns a $434,000 Cirrus SR22 airplane, and “is a completely competent, confident flyer,” says a source.
Even when they’re working their Hollywood jobs, they’re together. When Pitt was in Edmonton, Alta., filming The Assassination of Jesse James, Jolie and the kids lived with him in a rented house and visited the set daily. Meanwhile, Pitt stayed close to home while Jolie filmed the CGI-animated Beowulf in Los Angeles.
One thing that might draw Pitt and Jolie together? Their thrill-seeking natures. She’s not afraid to burn rubber alongside motorcycle-lover Pitt: In Edmonton, they hit the road on BMW choppers (left). Of course, Pitt isn’t exactly born to be wild: “He’s very solid,” Jolie told W magazine. “I think you know you can count on him.”
Still careful to keep their distance publicly, Jolie and Pitt attended their first event together outside Hollywood: the Clinton Global Initiative forum on Sept. 17, 2005. The event, hosted by former President Bill Clinton, brought together world leaders to discuss poverty, climate change and other global topics. “If celebrities have the ability to raise awareness,” Jolie has said, “then that’s what they should do.”
On the set of The Good Shepherd, Jolie showed off her latest addition: Zahara, then 7 months old and newly adopted from Ethiopia. Visiting days later, Pitt made one good shepherd himself, using both hands – and a pocket – to chaperone Maddox, Zahara and the baby’s bottle. “He seems like a natural dad,” says a source.
At Live 8 in summer 2005, Pitt introduced Annie Lennox at the London concert, while Jolie appeared at a showcase of African musicians in Cornwall. A shared cause is important to Jolie: “You can have great sex with somebody,” she told NBC’s Ann Curry, “(but) if you don’t wake up with a common purpose … it’s not going to work.”
After Pitt’s January 2005 split from Jennifer Aniston, the couple were snapped on vacation in April, with Pitt helping Maddox build sand castles. “If I were to bring a man into my life now,” Jolie told Britain’s Mirror last year, “he would have to be a father to Maddox and that would have to be permanent.”
Where it all began: Jolie and Pitt shared a laugh while on a break from filming Mr. & Mrs. Smith last year. Although both stars maintain that nothing inappropriate happened while Pitt was married, the spark between them was undeniable. “They have amazing chemistry onscreen,” says a source who worked on the Smith set. “They are insanely hot people.”