Ever wonder when Brad Pitt will get around to giving Angelina Jolie a ring? Well, quit wondering. Visiting Angel Gemas, a shop in the Dominican Republic capital of Santo Domingo on Jan. 10, the couple perused cigars (him) and jewelry (her) with a playful Maddox, 4, and baby Zahara, 12 months, in tow. When a pregnant Jolie—“she looked radiant,” says clerk Victoria Salcé—spied a gold ring made with larimar, a local blue volcanic stone,“[Pitt] said, It’s very pretty—do you want it?” ” recalls Salcé. Jolie said yes, and Pitt plunked down $48 for the bauble, which she quickly slipped on. If it wasn’t exactly a wedding band, in every other way, says an onlooker, “they seemed like a happy family.”
Thrilled is more like it. Not to mention growing, globe-trotting and deeply in love. Since Jolie revealed Jan. 10 that she and Pitt are expecting a child this summer, the couple—who never previously even acknowledged a relationship—have demonstrated just how close they are. First order of business: a goodwill trip to Haiti to visit programs supported by friend Wyclef Jean’s aid group Yéle Haiti—where Pitt, 42, and Jolie, 30, couldn’t help beaming when they caught each other’s eye. Jolie “wants to do good for those who don’t have anything, and she’s brought someone into her life who feels the same,” says a friend. Adds a source close to Pitt: “He found someone who is committed. This is a perfect situation.”
This time last winter, Pitt’s split from Jennifer Aniston appeared to put him further than ever from a dream of starting a family. Now, with a baby on the way and a petition pending to adopt Maddox and Zahara (a hearing is set for Jan. 19 in L.A.), he’s an overnight family guy—and sources have said that the role of husband is likely to follow the adoptions. “You know that twinkle in his eye that everyone talks about? That twinkle is real, and it’s because of Angelina,” says a source on the set of his recently wrapped movie, The Assassination of Jesse James. “He is thoroughly enjoying his new role as a father.” Adds his Jesse James costar Mary-Louise Parker: “He’s already a dad, so I think he’ll be wonderful [with the new baby]. He’s a great guy, conscientious and kind. I’m happy for both of them.”
How are the Jolie-Pitts making it work? By being surprisingly down-to-earth—if glamorous—parents. At home in California, Jolie drives Maddox to school herself; Pitt sometimes commutes to his production-company offices on his motorcycle. Apart from family outings to the beach and the local toy store, they tend to savor a homebody lifestyle.
That is, when they’re actually home. In the Dominican Republic, where the couple spent three days before going to Haiti on Jan. 13, Pitt played Mr. Mom while Jolie filmed scenes for the upcoming drama The Good Shepherd. At their Santo Domingo hotel, Pitt took Maddox and Zahara for joyrides in the glass elevators and let Maddox stroll a treadmill in the hotel gym, where their mutual affection was obvious. “Maddox is very talkative around [Pitt],” says an observer. “When he came into the health club, they were holding hands, and they were holding hands when they left.”
Comfortable as a dad, Pitt seems equally at ease as a supportive partner to Jolie, who struggled with nausea and discomfort in the 80° weather on the Shepherd set. “She was willing to do her job, and she was a complete professional,” says an on-set source, “but you could tell that she was pushing through.”
Still, pregnancy has done little to dampen Jolie’s activism—something Pitt has also embraced. Pre-Brangelina he directed much of his extracurricular energy into architecture and motorcycling; now he’s also sharing his girlfriend’s save-the-world ethos. (He’s followed her into flying lessons as well.) “She is very into all these causes,” says the source close to Pitt, “and he realizes he has the power [to help too].”
In Haiti the pair reveled in a visit to a Port-au-Prince school (see box). “They both seemed to fully engage with the kids,” says Hugh Locke, executive director of Yéle Haiti. “They were totally transported by the experience.”
Later, back at the hotel, the couple’s joy about their new baby was especially clear. “She looked so happy to be pregnant,” says an observer. And the dad-to-be? “Like the cat who swallowed the canary, all proud of himself.” So don’t be surprised if Pitt buys another ring for Jolie soon. “He’s the kind of guy who wants marriage,” says the source close to Pitt. “And it’s a great match.”
One Wild Year!
“…After seven years together we have decided to formally separate,” says a statement by Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. Still, they take a last trip to Anguilla. (Counting? It was 368 days before Jolie revealed her pregnancy.)
While at the ShoWest convention for theater owners in Las Vegas to promote Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Jolie and Pitt manage to appear together without appearing “together.”
The paparazzi catch the secretive couple on holiday at secluded Diani Beach in Kenya, where Jolie, a protective mom, was already allowing her new man to bond with her son Maddox.
“It’s a good story,” Pitt tells Diane Sawyer when asked whether or not Jolie is a “home wrecker” during an interview watched by millions on ABC’s Primetime Live.
Already settling down? In a photo shoot some criticize as insensitive to Aniston, Jolie and Pitt play the parts of ’50s-era Mom and Dad to a large brood for July’s W magazine.
Jolie adopts a little sister for Maddox. Ethiopian orphan Zahara Marley Jolie joins the family.
Mi Casa, Su Casa: Pitt and Jolie throw a 4th- birthday party for Maddox at Pitt’s Malibu house, which becomes the family’s home base.
The couple get cozy after a motorbike ride in Edmonton, Alta., where Pitt was filming.
Paradise lost: Pitt and Aniston’s divorce is made official under California law.
The couple celebrate Thanksgiving in Pakistan as part of their first joint humanitarian effort to highlight the plight of that country’s earthquake victims.
Papa Pitt: The actor files paperwork to adopt both Maddox, 4, and Zahara, 12 months, and to change the kids’ last name to Jolie-Pitt.
“Yes, I am pregnant,” Jolie tells a rep from the Yéle Haiti relief organization who had inquired about her expanding belly.