Brangelina: Price tag of $11m put on first pictures of the world's most famous children

From the hordes of paparazzi, camera crews and satellite trucks – and the security guards hired to contain them – it was obvious that a matter of great international importance was lurking within France's Lenval hospital.

But this was no medical breakthrough, no cure for cancer. The reason for the commotion? The birth of twins to one Angelina Jolie and her partner, Brad Pitt.

Called the world's most famous children even before they were born, Vivienne Marcheline and her brother Knox Leon, arrived into a world of scrutiny, tight security and a life already fraught with the perils of fame.

Jolie's French doctor, Dr Michel Sussmann, had tried to insist the 33-year-old actress was simply "a patient like any other", after she was taken in secret and by helicopter to the Nice hospital in late June from a luxurious 17th-century Provencal villa, where the "Brangelina" clan set up home for the birth.

But few expectant mothers are forced to take to the roof for a breath of fresh air to prevent causing a media frenzy and fewer still are able to sell the first pictures of their newly enlarged family for a reported $11m (£5.5m) to an unnamed American magazine. Like the first pictures of their biological child Shiloh, born in Namibia in 2006, the money is said to be destined for a charitable cause. The couple also have three adopted children, Maddox, Pax and Zahara.

"Everything is going well," Dr Sussmann said. "The mother, the babies, the father are doing marvellously well." He said the Caesarean operation was moved forward from its planned date "for medical reasons" so the babies could be born "in the best conditions". Pitt, 44, was at her side during the birth. Dr Sussmann said Vivienne weighed 2.27kg (5lbs) and Knox weighed in close at 2.28 kg.

The doctor added that he believed the baby girl's middle name was chosen in honour of Jolie's mother, actress Marcheline Bertrand, who died in January 2007 after a seven-year battle with cancer. She raised Jolie and her brother, James Haven, after divorcing their father, actor Jon Voight, when Jolie was a toddler.

Jolie is expected to stay a few more days in the hospital on the Promenade des Anglais waterfront drive, where her bright, spacious room on the fifth floor has a fine view of the Mediterranean.

News of the birth on Saturday night was broken by the local paper, Nice Matin, with Dr Sussmann saying the couple had decided this was how they wanted the story to emerge. He suggested this was a favour to the local paper, but thwarting the efforts of larger news organisations may have been in the couple's minds.

Last week, the hospital said it had coated the windows of Jolie's room with a special material to prevent paparazzi from taking unauthorised pictures of the star couple. Photographs in magazines and online that purported to show Jolie and Pitt in her room were fake, either manipulated or showing other patients, the hospital added. The name of Jolie's current film, Wanted, now feels more pertinent than ever for the star.

Nice was proud of its new arrivals. The Mayor, Christian Estrosi, promised that the twins would always be considered honorary citizens of the city, regardless of whether or not they take up French citizenship.

News of the celebrity births spread like wildfire in the streets of the city, where people were eager to offer their opinions. "Sleep when the babies sleep. That is definitely my main advice to them," said Nicole Stechmann, a visitor from Germany.

Actress's 'rainbow' family

The Brangelina clan now totals eight people with Vivienne and Knox, adding to Brad, Angelina and their four other children.

Maddox, Pax and Zahara were adopted while Jolie gave birth to Shiloh Nouvel in Namibia in 2006. The media interest in the birth became so intense that Namibia eventually revoked the visas of journalists sent to cover the story.

France's strict privacy laws may have made it a more attractive location second time round. Maddox, six, was adopted from a Cambodian orphanage in 2002 when he was seven months. Pax was born in Vietnam in 2003 and abandoned at birth. Jolie adopted the boy in March 2007 when he was three.

Zahara, three, was born in Ethiopia and adopted in 2005.

The new arrivals suggests a visit to a tattooist may be in the offing: Jolie has a tattoo giving the map co-ordinates of the places where all four of her other children were born.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Campaign Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency is currently ...

BI Analyst

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency in Central Lo...


£40000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: DBA, London,...

Web / Digital Analyst - SiteCatalyst or Google Analytics

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading publisher in...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform