Their first child was dubbed, without any detectable irony, "the most eagerly anticipated baby since Jesus". So it may come as little surprise that the engagement of Brad Pitt to Angelina Jolie has sent Hollywood into the kind of media frenzy that might foreshadow the Second Coming.
No sooner had news broken that the two stars known as Brangelina – who have added five more idiosyncratically named young starlets to their brood since their first daughter Shiloh's arrival in 2006 – are to marry than Tinseltown went into meltdown.
"This is really a state wedding," gushed Stephen Galloway, the executive editor of features at The Hollywood Reporter. "This is America's equivalent to Prince William and Kate Middleton." Bradley Jacobs, of US Weekly, added: "We will not rest until we know when and where and how, and who's going to be there."
While no date or location for the "wedding of the century" has been announced, insiders said the multi-million-dollar matrimony would provide a welcome lift for the sector, with spin-offs across the industry.
Among the first beneficiaries is jeweller-to-the-stars Robert Procop. He designed the slender diamond-encrusted band whose appearance on Jolie's engagement finger at a low-key gallery opening in Los Angeles earlier this week led to the official confirmation that the couple were finally tying the knot.
The announcement coincided with reports that Pitt, 48, and Jolie, 36, are to star together for the first time since they met on the set of the spy saga Mr & Mrs Smith in 2004. The couple are said to be in talks to appear in Ridley Scott's new Cormac McCarthy-scripted project The Counsellor, starring Michael Fassbender as a drug-dealing lawyer.
Speculation was last night moving on to consider times, dates, places, outfits and the all-important guest list – matters that will, in some eyes, outrank the forthcoming presidential election. Unfounded rumours of wedding dates have made the front pages of supermarket magazines for years, and sent the world's media scurrying to places as far afield as Italy, India, southern Africa and France to stake out imminent "secret" ceremonies.
Among early contenders for venues is a reception hall being built behind a £35m chateau the couple bought in Provence, France, last year. Locals have said builders are working hard to have it ready for September, which, if it is the chosen wedding site, would have major economic implications for the region.
Jolie, the daughter of the actor Jon Voight, has had two previous short-lived marriages to the actors Billy Bob Thornton and Jonny Lee Miller.Reuse content