On this day in 2006, in Swakopmund, Namibia, the actors Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt welcome the arrival of their first biological child, a daughter named Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt.
Talented and famous, Jolie and Pitt were both fixtures on Hollywood’s A-list by the time they starred together as married assassins in the action film Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005). Rumors soon began flying that the two had begun an off-screen affair, and intensified after Pitt and his wife, Jennifer Aniston (most famous for her role on the long-running TV sitcom Friends), announced their separation in early 2005. That spring, Pitt and Jolie (who had previously been married to the actors Jonny Lee Miller and Billy Bob Thornton) were photographed on a beach in Africa, where Jolie was working as a representative for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Though Pitt and Jolie refused to publicly acknowledge their relationship, they fueled speculation throughout 2005, notably by posing in a photo spread for W magazine. The press dubbed the couple “Brangelina” and obsessively chronicled their every move, noting Pitt’s growing comfort with Jolie’s two adopted children, Maddox (from Cambodia) and Zahara (from Ethiopia). On January 11, 2006, Jolie announced she was pregnant with Pitt’s child; barely a week later, the news broke that Pitt had successfully adopted Maddox and Zahara, whose surnames were legally changed to Jolie-Pitt.
Jolie gave birth to little Shiloh by a scheduled caesarean section that May in Namibia, an African country that had come under intense media scrutiny since the celebrity power couple decided it would be the birthplace of their first biological child. Pitt and Jolie held a press conference days after the birth, stating that Shiloh would have a Namibian passport; they had earlier announced a donation of $300,000 to refurbish hospitals there. Jolie had reportedly been attracted to Namibia after filming the movie Beyond Borders (2003) and meeting with aid workers there.
Shiloh’s first baby pictures went for a then-record sum of more than $4.1 million for the U.S. rights (paid by People magazine, which ran the photos in their June 19, 2006, issue) and $3.5 million for the international rights (picked up by Hello!). Pitt and Jolie donated those profits to charity. In February 2007, Jolie generated controversy for telling British ELLE that little blonde Shiloh was, as a newborn, like “a blob” and saying that she feels “so much more for [Maddox and Zahara] because they’re survivors, they came through so much.” That March, Jolie and Pitt adopted another son, Pax Thien, from Vietnam. When Jolie and Pitt’s biological twins, Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline, arrived in July 2008, People paid $14 million–another record-breaking sum–for images that adorned its cover and a 19-page photo spread inside the magazine. As before, the money went to charity.