Celebrity magazines racing to publish the first photos of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s infant daughter may have been beaten to the punch Tuesday when a supposed portrait of the couple and their baby surfaced on the Internet.
Even as People magazine announced it had landed exclusive North American rights to the first pictures of the baby, a purported image of the newborn Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt and her parents popped up on at least two Web sites as the cover shot for British-based weekly Hello!
The photo shows Jolie, 30, her hair swept back, lying sideways with her head propped on her hand, looking down at the sleeping infant beside her. A smiling Pitt, 42, is seen in profile, gazing down at the child from the opposite direction.
The headline beside the magazine’s masthead reads: “The biggest exclusive of the year. Angelina and Brad with their new Baby Shiloh Nouvel.”
The authenticity of the image could not be immediately verified, but others in the magazine industry said they presumed it was the real thing.
“Somebody from Hello! must have leaked it. ... I’m sure it’s a legitimate cover. I don’t know how it got there,” a spokeswoman for rival People magazine told Reuters.
No representatives for Hello! were available for comment, but the magazine’s online site carried a blank space at the bottom of its page with the message: “The most eagerly awaited baby exclusive of the year ... On sale from Thursday, June 8.”
People magazine, which broke the news of the March 27 birth in the southern African nation of Namibia, said its photos of the Jolie-Pitt baby would run in this week’s issue, which hits newsstands Friday.
People’s spokeswoman declined comment on a New York Post report that the magazine had outbid its North American rivals by agreeing to pay $4.1 million for rights to the pictures, making it one of the biggest such purchases ever.
She also refused to give any details of People’s photos, other than to say they had been taken in Namibia.
Pitt and Jolie announced Monday that they had agreed to let photo agency Getty Images market pictures of their newborn to other outlets, with all proceeds going to charities. Experts estimated worldwide rights to the pictures would range from $5 million to $7 million in all.
Getty Images spokeswoman Deb Trevino said lawyers for her agency were investigating how the baby image made it onto the Internet. The picture surfaced on celebrity-lampooning Defamer.com (http://www.defamer.com) and the LiveJournal gossip blog (http://community.livejournal).