One of the many delights of following celebrity kids as they grow is seeing how much they eventually end up looking like their famous moms and dads. And few children have better genes when it comes to the looks department than Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s daughter Shiloh Jolie-Pitt. She’s 11 years old now and starting to take on the features of her parents. But which parent does she actually resemble the most?
The Pitt-Jolie family is a large one. Shiloh has three older siblings – Maddox, Pax and Zahara – and two younger ones, the nine-year-old twins Vivienne and Knox. But Shiloh was the first biological child for Pitt and Jolie. Maddox, Pax and Zahara were adopted – Maddox from Cambodia, Pax from Ethiopia and Zahara from Vietnam. That didn’t stop the children from growing up as loving siblings, though.
The adoptions garnered a lot of media interest. Jolie had to jump through a variety of legal hoops to adopt Maddox, a process made all the more difficult when she separated from Billy Bob Thornton at around the same time. And when Jolie entered a relationship with Brad Pitt, it didn’t go unnoticed that he became the legal father of the adopted children. Yet the announcement that Jolie was pregnant with Pitt’s child whipped the media up into a frenzy.
This was hardly surprising considering the grip that “Brangelina” had on the world. Fans had followed every move the two A-listers had made since they had first gotten together on the set of their film Mr. and Mrs. Smith. The love triangle with Jennifer Aniston – the Friends actress who Pitt had divorced after meeting Jolie – only added to the drama and scandal of it all. A Pitt-Jolie baby was the final step. People couldn’t wait to meet the child.
Pitt and Jolie were so determined to have their new baby in peace that they actually left the country. A month before Shiloh was born, they temporarily moved to Namibia so they could avoid paparazzi and the media. But even though their army of fans couldn’t follow them there, they did get the news that they were hoping for. On May 27, 2006, Jolie gave birth to a healthy baby girl.
The Namibian authorities had cracked down hard on the paparazzi. Reporters weren’t allowed access to the area Pitt and Jolie were staying in without express written permission from the couple. Security screens were set up around their hotel. But even that measure didn’t entirely work: a South African photographer was arrested after twice trying to get past security to take pictures. Such was the power of Brangelina.
Pitt and Jolie remained in Namibia while the media back home went wild with speculation about Shiloh. What did the baby look like? When would the first pictures of her be released? Luckily, Pitt and Jolie had that covered. They sold Shiloh’s baby pictures via Getty Images with the proceeds going to charity. The magazines People and Hello! subsequently snapped up the U.S. and U.K. rights to the images for a record-breaking sum.
The fervor around Shiloh reached such a height that she even got her own wax figure at Madame Tussauds. The model baby was placed in a cradle beneath waxworks of her parents. “Even though she’s just a few months old, Shiloh is already an iconic figure in world popular culture,” Madame Tussauds manager Janine DiGioacchino told People at the time. It’s not everyone who ends up being a pop icon before they can even talk.
Eventually, Jolie and Pitt returned from Namibia and resumed their lives as A-list actors. They soon also set about giving Shiloh another sibling. On March 15, 2007, they adopted another child. This was three-year-old Pax Thien, from Vietnam. And in the December of that year, Jolie shared her thoughts on Shiloh’s place in the family. “Shiloh looks like Brad,” she told Look. “It’s funny because she’s almost going to be the outcast in the family because she’s blonde and blue-eyed.”
As Shiloh got older and was seen out and about more often, people began to compare her to her mother. And, as a toddler with long, flowing hair, Shiloh did look like Jolie. Meanwhile, the internet soon discovered that Shiloh looked remarkably like her mother in old pictures capturing Jolie as a youngster. However, as little Shiloh grew up, she began to look more like her other parent.
Shiloh’s blonde hair, her facial features, her eyes: they all came directly from Brad. When pictures of the two were set side by side, the resemblance was almost uncanny. The media found it adorable: a little girl looking like her father rather than her famously beautiful mother. But then they observed that Shiloh preferred to dress like her father, too.
When Shiloh was seen on the red carpet or out and about with her family, she was normally wearing a suit. Her mother and sisters wore dresses, but she preferred pants and shirts. She also kept her blonde hair cut short, like her father, as well. And the media couldn’t help but comment on this.
“Why Is Angelina Turning Shiloh Into a Boy?” asked the cover of Life & Style magazine in March 2010. The magazine’s coverage included the opinion of a representative of Focus on the Family, who claimed that there was a possibility that the lack of “gender distinction” could be harmful. A rebuttal soon came from the National Center for Transgender Equality. “Our society needs healthy, well-rounded children whose interests and tastes are as diverse as the children themselves and are not limited by outdated stereotypes of gender,” they told The Advocate.
People soon picked up on the idea that Shiloh might be transgender, even if she was too young to fully understand it. An interview Jolie did with Vanity Fair in June 2010 only added further fuel to these rumors. “[Shiloh] likes to dress like a boy,” she said. “She wants to be a boy. So we had to cut her hair. She likes to wear boys’ everything. She thinks she’s one of the brothers.”
In 2011 Chaz Bono – son of Cher and Sonny Bono and one of the most famous transgender men in the entertainment industry – said he would offer help to Jolie, Pitt and Shiloh if it was ever needed. “I would love to talk to them at some point,” he told E! Online. “[And] at least let them know we have this resource for them if they ever need it.”
But come 2016, Shiloh was in the news for different reasons. She and all her siblings were suddenly bystanders in a painful and extremely public separation. After a reported “altercation” between Brad Pitt and Maddox aboard a plane, Jolie filed for divorce from her husband. He wasn’t a fit father, was the implication across the media.
Although details of the “altercation” between father and son were kept as secret as they could possibly be, other rumors spread. Some anonymous sources claimed to celebrity gossip sites that Pitt’s drinking and drug use had gotten out of control. Others suggested that Pitt had been carrying on an affair with his Allied co-star Marion Cotillard, which she quickly denied.
In 2017, further anonymous sources claimed that the divorce had hit Shiloh very hard indeed. “Shiloh’s not the same bubbly kid she was before Brad and Angie split,” a source told Radar Online. “She doesn’t understand why Brad can’t be there on their family trips to Disneyland.” If true, it’s a testament to how close the father and daughter were.
“Shi’s the one who really takes after Brad. She’s the most complex and sensitive. Their bond is unbreakable, but the separation is taking a toll on both of them,” the source added. “Shi really misses hearing Brad’s bedtime stories… She’s asked to spend nights with Brad. But, so far, Angie is sticking to the court-ordered supervised group visitation since she has official custody.”
Luckily, however, Pitt isn’t entirely gone from the lives of his children. He still sees them, albeit not as much as he used to. Jolie has also spoken about her hope that they can remain a family in some capacity. There’s still a high possibility that Brad Pitt and Shiloh might walk the red carpet together someday in the future – and maybe then people won’t be able to tell them apart.