Jolie and Pitt
Jennifer Mitchell/Splash News
12/12/2006 AT 10:20 AM EST
For the first time, Angelina Jolie has described what happened between her and Brad Pitt on the set of Mr. & Mrs. Smith
– and she insists she never had any intention of breaking up his marriage to Jennifer Aniston.
When she first met her costar on the set of the thriller in 2003, "I didn't know much about exactly where Brad was in his personal life," Jolie, 31, says in the January issue of Vogue,
according to excerpts published in the New York Post.
"But it was clear he was with his best friend, someone he loves and respects.
"And so we were both living, I suppose, very full lives. ... I think we were the last two people who were looking for a relationship. I certainly wasn't. I was quite content to be a single mom."
But "Brad was a huge surprise to me. I, like most people, had a very distant impression of him from ... the media," she says.
"Because of the film, we ended up being brought together to do all these crazy things, and I think we found this strange friendship and partnership that kind of just suddenly happened. I think a few months in I realized, 'God, I can't wait to get to work.' ... Anything we had to do with each other, we just found a lot of joy in it together and a lot of real teamwork. We just became kind of a pair."
They didn't start thinking about a relationship right away, she says. "It took until, really, the end of the shoot for us, I think, to realize that it might mean something more than we'd earlier allowed ourselves to believe. And both knowing that the reality of that was a big thing, something that was going to take a lot of serious consideration."
The two remained "very, very good friends" from the time the movie wrapped in 2004 until after Pitt and Aniston announced their separation
in January 2005, Jolie says.
Jolie says that the time she spent getting to know Pitt before his split was "not as exciting as what a lot of people would like to believe. We spent a lot of time contemplating and thinking and talking about what we both wanted in life and realized that we wanted very, very similar things.
"And then we just continued to take time. We remained very, very good friends – with this realization – for a long time," she says. "And then life developed in a way where we could be together, where it felt like something we would do, we should
In fact, it was her son, Madddox, now 5, who helped seal the deal. (Jolie and Pitt are also parents to Zahara, 23 months, and Shiloh, 6 months.) One day, Maddox "just out of the blue called him Dad," says Jolie. "It was amazing. We were playing with cars on the floor of a hotel room, and we both heard it and didn't say anything and just looked at each other. So that was probably the most defining moment, when he decided that we would all be a family."
Jolie also says she'd be willing to meet with Aniston, but "That would be her decision, and I would welcome it."
Pitt has said he and Jolie would not wed until all couples can legally marry
, and Jolie agrees that tying the knot is not a priority. "We both have been married before, so it's not marriage that's necessarily kept some people together," she says. "We are legally bound to our children, not to each other, and I think that's the most important thing."