You don’t have to look farther than the packed garage of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie‘s sprawling Hollywood Hills home to know who’s boss: Skateboards, stuffed animals and car seats vie for space with Dad’s motorcycles. A Snow White sticker adorns a Disney Princess bike, while nearby, an oversize green Incredible Hulk boxing glove sits in the back of a miniature black jeep. Taped to the jeep’s back bumper is a palm tree frond with a child’s handwritten sign: “This is Pax’s leaf!”
Welcome to Brad and Angelina’s place. The setting—an early 20th-century Craftsman-style mansion nestled on acres of lush gardens—may be grand, but an air of informality rules. Kids Maddox, 8, Pax, 5, Zahara, 4, Shiloh, 3, and twins Vivienne and Knox, 1, played in the family home, while Pitt, 46, turned up for his PEOPLE photo shoot Aug. 10 looking every inch the casual-chic dad. Also a very busy dad: He was in full movie-star mode an hour later, hitting the red carpet alongside Jolie, 34, for the Hollywood premiere of his WWII film Inglourious Basterds, opening Aug. 21. In the revenge fantasy, Pitt stars as the leader of a group of Jewish-American soldiers who set out to take down Nazis. “Brad was the guy [for the role]—I didn’t have a second choice,” says director Quentin Tarantino. “I feel like his iconic star persona is at its zenith right now.”
In a jam-packed day that also included three hours in a recording studio (for an upcoming movie project), Pitt—with an occasional assist from Jolie—stole a few quiet kid-free hours in a West Hollywood hotel room before his post-premiere party to answer questions from PEOPLE readers.
Do you think you and Angelina will ever get married?
CANDICE HEART, Las Vegas
When everyone who wants to get married can legally do so, we will consider the same.
I’m a mother of 19-month-old twins, and I know life gets hectic with kids and it’s hard to find time to spend alone with your partner. What are some things you do to keep your relationship with Angelina strong?
VIVIANA BOYER, San Salvador, El Salvador
Parenting can become hectic, but it is also great fun. In fact, it is the ultimate teamwork. But when all else fails, Mommy and Daddy need to hire a babysitter, go away and get dirty.
What kinds of celebrations do you have on the children’s birthdays?
SUE ROSS, Indianapolis, Ind.
Well, of course we’ve got a lot of kids, so what’s most important to us is that the siblings understand who the day is for, meaning their brother or sister. And to participate in the decorating of the cake and the picking out of a present or the making of the present.
When you and Angie decide to add to your family again, will you adopt any children from America? If not, why? What is it that prompts you to decide on a certain country or ethnicity?
TONI LINNELL, Portland, Ore.
Angie and I have always been open to [both] international and domestic adoption. And as strange as it may sound, it’s been proven to us that your children find you.
My husband and I have two children and are thinking of adopting. I’m afraid that maybe I won’t be able to bond with an adopted child. How did you bond with your adopted children, and is it different from your biological children?
DAWN PENMAN, Kent, Wash.
This is a very important question, Dawn, and I thank you for it. What I can tell you is, I love each of my children individually and equally and my life is all the richer because of them, and I could not imagine my life without them.
What was it like to work with Quentin Tarantino on Inglourious Basterds?
KATI VIKSTROM, Helsinki, Finland
Working with Quentin was as outrageous and irreverent and as entertaining as you’d expect, but the thing I love most about Quentin is that he’s a lover of all film and you will find no one more knowledgeable about the history of cinema. But I tell you do NOT fall asleep on a set. I’ll let someone else tell you what happens.
Who would I rather have babysit my children? I’m going to go with George Clooney because he doesn’t stand a chance against my kids. I’d also like to reiterate that Angie and I will not be getting married until George and his partner can legally do so. Thank you.
Having a house full of kids, with each kid having a unique personality, how do they all get along? Can you tell us a little about their personalities?
MARIA HUDSON, Sacramento, Calif.
Without getting into too much detail about our kids, I will tell you we try and foster each one’s individuality as much as we can no matter how wacko they may be.
You have six children, which must be chaos at bedtime. What are your tricks to get them to settle down and let you and Angelina get some sleep?
JANET POLE, London, Ont.
I’d like to say we’d have some genius technique to getting them to bed, but truth be told, they often get the best of us and end up in our bed. This is why I had to make a 9-ft.-wide bed. Just so we could get some sleep.
What is your and Angelina’s favorite activity to do with the children?
GWEN GEIER, Sidney, Ohio
Our favorite activity to do with the kids is anything creative. As of late we’ve been investigating the world of painting. Meaning we spread out a giant canvas and put out some buckets of paint and go all Jackson Pollock on it.
Angelina once said in an interview that being in a relationship with you changed her for the better. In what way has your partnership with Angelina changed you?
TYONNA ADAMS, San Diego, Calif.
Yeah, I’m sitting next to Angie [right now] and she denies that comment wholeheartedly. But thanks.
Do you think you and Angelina will ever slow your lives down and stay in one place for a while to allow your kids to have a “normal” childhood?
HILARY ROZEMA, Zeeland, Mich.
What’s “normal” for us is a tight, loving family unit no matter where in the world we are. Our belief is the greatest education we can give our kids is to raise them as citizens of the world.
My family lived in and near New Orleans for 30 years. Do you foresee New Orleans ever being able to return to its former self?
JANE CHRISTIE, Gilman, Ill.
New Orleans is alive and well and entering its new glory. This is because of the tenacity and the spirit of the people that has never died. And the music is still playing and you can still get a drive-through margarita. All is well.
What do you feel was the single most important piece of advice your mom and dad gave you growing up?
RENE WALLACE, Marion, Ky.
The single most important piece of advice my mom gave me didn’t come so much in words, but more in example. And that was to stay open to every experience around you. My dad’s greatest piece of advice was to make sure that I chose something to do with my life that I enjoyed doing.
What’s on your “bucket list” of things you want to do before you die?
CAROLINE AMENDOLA BYE, St. Paul, Minn.
What’s on my bucket list? I’m doing it!