Of course, this is just the story that the tabloids want to tell. Regardless of whether it’s true – or whether the "kids issue" is really what drew Hollywood’s Barbie and Ken apart – Mr. and Mrs. Smith has quickly become one of Hollywood’s sure-fire summer blockbusters because audiences can’t wait to see whether Pitt and Jolie’s onscreen chemistry is truly just acting.
The film focuses on an unhappily married couple – who are also undercover assassins – who find themselves falling in love all over again when each is assigned the task to kill the other. While all the Pitt-Aniston-Jolie publicity could harm the film (remember the effect the "Bennifer" publicity had on Gigli and Jersey Girl?), given the fact that the love triangle involves three of Hollywood’s most beloved stars – not to mention that details of the Pitt-Aniston divorce are slim to none – odds are in Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s favor that all the tabloid coverage will only increase the film’s box office gross. After all, who could really blame Pitt if he did happen to fall head-over-heels in love with the sexy and talented Jolie?
Since breaking into the industry with the 1998 television movie Gia, Jolie has not only been making waves in Hollywood as an actress (who could forget her Oscar win for Girl, Interrupted?), but with her off-screen behavior as well. From that point on, there was gossip about everything from that highly publicized kiss with her brother, Jamie, to her admiration for sharpened knives. All in all, there seems to always be something about Jolie that has the tabloids buzzing.
But vials of blood and tattoos aside, Jolie (who turns 30 on June 4) is actually quite normal. Maybe, similar to Madonna, motherhood changed Hollywood’s former "bad girl," or maybe Hollywood enjoyed building upon the wild stories about the California beauty because she’s so open about her life.
No matter what the topic, the press has always been fast to put some sort of bizarre spin on Jolie’s personal life. Her ex-husband, Billy Bob Thornton, said it best when saying, "Forget any kind of vials of blood we wear around our necks. If that were put in a movie, it would be romantic. But you do it in real life, they think you are weirdoes."
"You read crazy things about yourself, like dresses getting stolen and things that you don’t understand where they came from – things like that," Jolie says, reflecting on her celebrity status. "You just read lies about yourself, and it’s so weird."
What you don’t read much about, though, are Jolie’s contributions to other countries, like her $1 million donation to an Afghanistan relief fund after 9/11 or her $5 million donation to help build a wildlife sanctuary in Cambodia. Sure, the press covered Jolie’s generous donations, but not nearly as much as they reported on her ex-husband (Thornton) wearing her panties for a day.
Yet the biggest difference Jolie has made in someone else’s life has to be with her son Maddox, who the star adopted while on location in Africa filming 2003’s Beyond Borders. And while motherhood may seem Jolie’s most outrageous role to date, it’s clear just listening to the actress speak that she definitely has a new focus in life.
"Being a parent is harder than anything I’ve ever done, but it’s also the greatest thing in the world. It’s a very delicate balance," she says. "[Maddox] kind of makes everything worthwhile, so it makes it easy [juggling acting and parenting]."
It’s this attitude – coupled with Jolie’s natural beauty – that could have been the very reason Pitt and Aniston are calling it quits. Rumors have it that after "Friends" went off the air, Pitt (who turns 42 this December) was eager to start a family. However, after the success of Aniston’s Bruce Almighty and Along Came Polly, the actress turned her attention to the big screen instead of motherhood. Watching Jolie and Maddox every day on the Smith set may have been just enough to send Pitt’s biological clock into a whirlwind.
Or maybe parenthood had nothing to do with it. Maybe Pitt was just drawn to Jolie’s down-to-earth personality. Never one to shy away from speaking the truth, Jolie, when asked why she thinks she has such a dedicated fan base of both men and women who find her to be one of the sexiest people on the planet, replies: "Probably because I love women as well as men. I don’t really see the difference between loving a man and loving a woman, so women shouldn’t feel threatened by me.
"I love communicating with people. I need to share and I feel very connected to everybody. I think most people feel like they know me, and they actually do in many ways."
And unlike many other celebrities today, Jolie doesn’t take her celebrity status lightly.
"Being in the public’s eye, I understand the responsibility of being able to do things. I know that now I can be in Sri Lanka and do certain things that I feel are important, and that I can actually bring attention to it. I love that about being in the public’s eye – that’s a wonderful thing," Jolie states.
"The most important thing to me is when somebody comes up to me on the street and explains why they identified with something, and maybe how it helped them in their life. Even if it’s something as simple as an 11-year-old coming up to me who’s excited because he thinks I’m Lara Croft, then that’s really cool. That’s better than an Oscar, and that’s the truth."
Beautiful on the inside and out, Jolie, coupled with the recent Smith publicity, could be just enough to pack theaters nationwide and help the action-packed film steal the top spot on the box office charts. As for whether Jolie has stolen Pitt’s heart … audiences may have to wait a little longer for the ending to that Hollywood story.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith releases in theaters June 10.