A long-running Angelina Jolie rumor has finally been confirmed

Angelina Jolie has always been a media conundrum. The “Maleficent” star is one of the biggest stars out there and had managed to land on pretty much every magazine cover in her day, but doesn’t seem to make it too much of a habit to speak to the press about her personal life .

Of course, one thing that really got her tabloids fodder was her infamous romance with Brad Pitt, when the two met on the set of “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” when Pitt was still married to his first wife, Jennifer Aniston. The global media had a big day speculating what, if anything, was going on between the two on set, with Jolie claiming nothing really happened until they finished filming. “I think it really wasn’t until the end of filming that we realized it could mean something more than we had previously allowed ourselves to believe. And they both knew the reality of it was a big deal, something that would take a lot of serious thought,” she told Vogue in January 2007. She then told the New York Times about her children, who are “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” saw: “Not many people see a movie where their parents fall in love.”

But how exactly did the world find out about Pitt and Jolie’s romance? Well, those long-standing rumors of what happened may just have been cleared up.

Angelina Jolie is allegedly behind these infamous Brad Pitt photos

You may recall that in 2005, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt released “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” sparked an insane media firestorm. The tabloids collapsed, speculating that there might have been more than friendship between Jolie and the then-married Pitt — and things only got crazier when they were snapped to spend time with their kids. For those who don’t remember (or just need a refresher, it’s been a few years now), Us Weekly got the news that Pitt and Jolie were really together by sharing candid photos of the two on a beach in Kenya with Maddox have published. A source even shared what they saw, claiming it was obvious that Pitt had formed a close bond with Jolie’s little boy and that he and Jolie weren’t hiding their PDA.

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But how did the paparazzi know to find the gang on vacation in Africa? Well, the rumor mill has been churning for years. But maybe we finally have our answer. Jann Wenner owned Us Weekly at the time and opened the big hit in his memoir Like a Rolling Stone, according to a preview published by Page Six. He revealed exactly who gave the outlet the massive tip; Jolie herself. Wenner made it pretty clear that the paparazzi snap was no fluke, noting, “We’ve got the photo, we’ve got the proof, we’ve had the worldwide smash, the debut of Brangelina.”

Spencer Pratt was on Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

Us Weekly caused a stir with these exclusive photos of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and ran them on the magazine’s cover and 12 pages inside (yes, a whopping 12 pages!) in May 2005 were briefed, and before Jann Wenner boldly claimed it was Jolie in his book, we had Spencer Pratt on the case. Yes, The Hills and The Hills: New Beginnings star Spencer Pratt.

The reality star was on the now-former couple ahead of the big reveal, and in July 2021 claimed he knew a couple appeared to have orchestrated the whole thing. Pratt claimed on “Hollywood Raw with Dax Holt and Adam Glyn” that his mentor, Us Weekly editor Peter Grossman, described how he was “in the setup with the pap. He was there for the magazine.” Pratt added that he and his wife Heidi Montag decided to create their own photos after seeing Brangelina apparently taking her snaps out there. “For example, go ahead, my two favorite fame hustlers set up their pretty fraudulent endorsement relationship setup staged photos. So after that, I was never surprised by anyone again.”

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The campaign reported that Us Weekly allegedly paid between $500,000 and $1 million for the US rights to the photos of Jolie and Pitt, who are now locked in a nasty feud following their divorce.

Did Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt really stage their debut photos?

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have never officially spoken out about whether these snaps were staged in Kenya or who tipped off the paparazzi, but many industry insiders have spoken out over the years. In addition to Spencer Pratt, Ben Widdicombe, author of the New York Times Style column “No Regrets,” has talked about the images in his book, “Gatecrasher: How I Helped the Rich Become Famous and Ruin the World,” and speculated that it may not have been all as it seemed. He confirmed the huge exclusivity of Us Weekly and revealed how the photos found themselves literally everywhere. “‘Us Weekly’ owned the images, which to me looked like they were staged by the actors, although the circumstances of the photoshoot were never revealed,” he wrote (although we seem to know a little better now). “But the magazine was happy for my column to break the story in exchange for a plug,” he added, referring to “Gatecrasher.”

Former Us Weekly and Star editor Bonnie Fuller perhaps put it best when she told the New York Times of Jolie in 2008, “She’s scary smart. But smart will only get you so far. She also has an amazing talent, perhaps more than any other star, for knowing how to forge a public image.”

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