Rare glimpses of the Jolie-Pitt family love story through the years (PHOTOS)

The news that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are filing for divorce (and figuring out child custody issues) shook the internet this week. Here: a glimpse back at the family they built together.

A glimpse into the past: Surrounded by their six children, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are all smiles as they arrive at Haneda Airport in Tokyo on November 8, 2011.  TORU YAMANAKA | AFP | Getty Images

In the wake of the recent news that the marriage of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, oft dubbed “Brangelina,” is ending in divorce, there are a lot of speculations flying, hashtags trending, and fingers pointing (some even outside the marriage, to actress Marion Cotillard and ex-wife Jennifer Aniston). Much of this conjectural flurry has been fueled by Angelina’s statement that the couple’s “irreconcilable differences” are somehow linked to protecting the health of the Jolie-Pitt children. Add that to the mysterious news that Brad was seemingly surprised by the divorce filing, and you’ve got a rumor mill that will keep the internet spinning for months … if not more.

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But, amidst the flurry of opinions and accusations, what most of us are ultimately feeling is heartbreak. Heartbreak over Brad and Angelina’s love, and the beautiful, caring, and—though made up of celebrities—incredibly private family of six children that they created together; a family that will need strength, and more love than ever to endure the tough times ahead. So we’re taking a moment not to judge or demand answers (as we have no business demanding them), but to respect that every family is its own deeply personal love story. Though public family sightings were rare, here’s a look back on some of the warmth and familial love inside the Jolie-Pitts’ story, as it grew from only-child Maddox to a hearty half-dozen:

 

2006: In full-on dad mode, Brad carries Maddox on his shoulders, while Angelina has Zahara on her hip as they pass near the Gateway of India in Mumbai. STR | AFP | Getty Images
2006: All bundled up, Angelina and Brad shepherd a vest-clad Zahara through the streets of New York. James Devaney | WireImage
2007: The apple of Brad’s eye, Zahara enjoys a lift from Dad while her brother walks. James Devaney | WireImage
2008: A growing family! On the arm of a dapper looking Brad, a very pregnant Angelina stunned fans in a flowing green gown at the 61st Cannes Film Festival. Anthony Harvey | Getty Images
2009: The arrival of biological twins bumped Brad and Angelina’s brood up to five children. Here, the babes have already made their first international trip, arriving snugly in Japan. Junko Kimura | Getty Images
2011: Now with a half-dozen children, the jet-setting parents returned to Asia, this time arriving in Tokyo. TORU YAMANAKA | AFP | Getty Images
2013: Out on the town for Brad Pitt’s World War Z movie premiere in London, Maddox (left) and brother Pax (right) look like stylish mini-mes of their parents. Dave M. Benett | WireImage for Paramount
2014: Brad Pitt exits the Los Angeles International Airport with his brood, and Angelina, in tow. This is the same year that the long-dating couple would marry, at a private ceremony in France. GVK | Bauer-Griffin | GC Images
2014: Angelina, looking chic in tall fall boots, shops in New York City while holding hands with children Shiloh and Zahara in cozy sweatshirts. Alo Ceballos | GC Images
2015: Angelina shares a bear hug with two of her little ones, Zahara (left) and Shiloh, at Nickelodeon’s 28th Annual Kids’ Choice Awards. Jeff Kravitz | FilmMagic

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Natalie van der Meer
Natalie van der Meer
Senior Editor Natalie van der Meer is a former editor for Redbook, Woman's Day, Reader's Digest and Allure, covering fashion, beauty, travel, family, book reviews, and much more. She lives in New York City.