Hollywood’s hottest couple to marry at last

Engaged at last: Brad and Angelina at their most glamorous at the Oscars earlier this year © Getty Images

It’s official: After a seven-year wait, and a full twelve months of planning, Brad Pitt has proposed marriage to his long-term partner Angelina Jolie. But why did it take him so long?

‘Yes,’ said a spokeswoman on Friday. ‘It’s confirmed.’ Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are engaged to be married.

Rumour had been running wild since Wednesday evening when Jolie – one of Hollywood’s most sought-after actresses – was spotted at an art gallery wearing a huge $250,000 diamond on the ring finger of her left hand.

But rumours of a ‘Brangelina’ betrothal have been almost weekly events in the pages of the celebrity press. In the seven years the couple have been together, the slightest whisper of wedding plans has had editors rewriting front pages, while frantic paparazzi scour the world for ‘secret locations’ where the ceremony might be held.

Now, however, the gossip columnists’ dream has come true. ‘We will not rest,’ said one journalist, ‘until we know when and where and how and who’s going to be there.’

A whole industry is already springing up around the event. Whoever designs the wedding dress will double their trade over night from the publicity alone. A single photo from the event could fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars, and a magazine exclusive would sell for millions. Forget Kate and Wills, the pundits say. This wedding will be ‘the media event of the century.’

Of course, Pitt and Jolie are significantly older than Prince William and his wife. Both have been married before. They have been together for seven years, and have six children. Their engagement – unlike that of the British royals – does not fit the template of the traditional fairytale romance.

But it does reflect the reality of modern marriage. Today’s young people are marrying later than ever before. The average bride in Britain is now 30 years old, and is more likely than ever to already have at least one child. Divorce rates are up too, which means more and more people will end up marrying two or more times over the course of their life.

Today’s couples are also more equal than ever before. Among today’s newly married couples, the wife is as likely as the husband to be the top earner.

Fast or slow

Despite these social changes, the ‘Kate and Wills’ marriage is still widely seen as being somehow ‘more romantic’ than the ‘Brangelina’. A perfect marriage, people say, should be the product of a whirlwind affair – an act of youthful passion, not mature calculation.

That model of marriage went out of date a century ago, others reply. Times have changed. We live longer now, and we want more from our marriages than the heady rush of infatuation. Brad and Angelina are forming a serious, grown-up bond. They took time to build their relationship before deciding to tie the knot – and quite right too.

You Decide

  1. Which wedding is more exciting: Kate and Wills? Brad and Angelina? Or none of the above?
  2. What age is the best age to get married?

Activities

  1. Design a wedding invitation for the marriage of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Remember, this is 'the wedding of the century'!
  2. Divide into two groups. One group should think up the five best arguments in favour of marriage. The other should find the five best arguments against. Which side is stronger?

Some People Say...

“Marriage is an outdated institution.”

What do you think?

Q & A

Maybe I don’t plan on getting married!
A perfectly legitimate plan – but you should know that marriage does seem to be a smart move in financial terms at least. Some studies suggest married people earn between ten and forty per cent more than their unmarried counterparts. Marriage may also help you live longer and stay healthier.
Really?
Well – this kind of fact should be treated with caution, especially when so many people have hidden political agendas around marriage. The truth is, it’s very hard to tell whether it's the case that married people get richer, or just that richer people get married!
Last thing: why did Brad take so long to propose?
At one point, Pitt and Jolie said they would not marry until gay marriage was legalised too. It appears, however, that they have given up waiting.

Word Watch

Brangelina
It is an odd habit of gossip writers to give couples a joint name, like ‘Brangelina’ for Brad and Angelina. Other famous examples include Bennifer (Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez), Wayleen (Wayne Rooney and Coleen McLoughlin) and even Billary (Bill and Hillary Clinton).
Kate and Wills
Also, and more properly, known as Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and his wife Kate were married in April last year in Westminster Abbey.
Average
Thirty is the mean age for a first marriage, i.e. the age you get if you add all the ages of brides at their first marriages together and divide by the number of brides. The median age (the age of the bride who is in the middle if you list all first-time brides in order of age) would be somewhat lower.

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