Just three weeks old, and they've already made £7m

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The Independent US

The first pictures of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's three-week-old twins have sold for a record $14m (£7m).

The US celebrity magazine People and British weekly Hello! bought exclusive rights to the images for a fee more than double the previous record of $6m which was paid for the photographs of the twins of Jennifer Lopez, the American singer, in February this year.

People and Hello! picture the babies in this week's issue, propped up in the Chateau Miraval in Provence, France. The two publications will split the bill.

The babies, named Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline, were born a minute apart on 13 July at the Lenval Hospital near Nice in southern France. Pitt, 44, and Jolie, 33 – known to the red-tops and glossies as "Brangelina" – have been living on the French Riviera since May. The actors said that they will put the photography fee towards their foundation to ease child poverty in the developing world.

The couple have four other children: two sons, Maddox Chivan, seven, and Pax Thien, four; and two daughters, Zahara Marley, three, and two-year-old Shiloh Nouvel. Maddox, Zahara and Pax were adopted from, respectively, Cambodia, Ethiopia and Vietnam.

The price of this week's Hello!, which has a larger print run than usual, was raised by 50p to £2.50. The magazine secured exclusive rights in Britain after winning a fierce bidding war with rivals. The firm responsible for taking the photos was Getty Images.

Called "the biggest exclusive of the year", it contains 17 pages of glossy images of the couple with their new arrivals, and will be on sale for a fortnight.

In the interview accompanying the pictures, Jolie says: "It is chaos but we are managing it and having a wonderful time. Shiloh calls them her babies. She and Zee pick their clothes and help change and hold them. It's sweet – they are little mummies."

Pitt, who claims to find fatherhood "absolutely heroic", says: "Viv is proving to resemble Ang in spirit, attitude and physicality ... And Knox, he's a bit of me." He adds: "This is Mad's fourth/fifth time becoming an older bro. He's asking us when we can have more."

Jolie denied the twins were conceived through in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), adding: "We have been fortunate never to have had fertility problems."

It is the second time that People has won the North American rights to the couple's first-look baby photos, and the third time the couple have worked with the two magazines in return for a hefty donation to charity.

Last year, Jolie and Pitt sold pictures of Pax to People and Hello! for an undisclosed fee. Two years ago, they sold rights to the first six photos of their first biological daughter, Shiloh, for a reported $4m. That edition of People sold 2.2 million copies.

Pitt and Jolie, the Oscar-winning daughter of fellow Oscar-winner Jon Voight, established their foundation in 2006. In June they donated $1m to The Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, an attempt to aid children among the 4.2 million internal and external refugees created by the Iraq war. Last year the couple donated more than $300,000 to support the International Rescue Committee's relief programme for refugees.

Pitt and Jolie were first linked romantically during the filming of the 2005 comedy movie Mr and Mrs Smith. At the time Pitt was going through a divorce from actress Jennifer Aniston, star of US sitcom Friends. Jolie denies instigating the divorce.

Best-selling front pages from Hello!

Princess Diana's funeral, September 2007– sold 1,123,727 copies

Princess Diana's death, September 2007 – 903,551

Madonna and Coronation Street, December 2000 – 722,903

Prince Edward/Sophie Wessex wedding, June 1999 – 679,193

Paul Gascoigne/Sheryl Failes wedding, July 1996 – 646,092

Duchess of York: "My story", November 1996 – 640,823

Peter Phillips/Autumn Kelly wedding, June 2008 – 617,421

Princess Diana, January 1997 – 588,832

Elizabeth Taylor wedding, October 1991 – 577,865

Christmas issue/Princess Diana frocks, December 1995 – 576,272 copies

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