EW Staff
December 23, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

When 2005 began, we were already in the thick of it: The invasion. The occupancy. And as the year dragged on, it became clear that this situation was going to be drawn out, painful, and quite possibly permanent.

So after a year of watching a percolating Brangelina explode all over the tabloids (what did you think we were talking about?), it came as little surprise when Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston’s fizzling marriage ended in divorce on Oct. 2. By this time, Pitt was said to be shacking up with his Mr. & Mrs. Smith costar, Angelina Jolie. Aniston, for her part, wandered off with Vince Vaughn to become part of the less semantically effective ”Vaughniston,” shot what seemed to be 97 movies, had a girls’ weekend at Oprah’s house, and shed tears during a Vanity Fair interview.

Brad and Jen initially separated on Jan. 7, but the real action began March 25: On the exact same day that Aniston filed for divorce, Pitt and Jolie lounged around at a sexy photo shoot for W magazine in which they played a 1960s married couple. Come April 15, Pitt left to do humanitarian work in Africa, where four days later he, Jolie, and her adopted son, Maddox, were seen frolicking on a Kenyan beach.

By mid-May, there was a report of loud animalistic sex, the rearranging of wax figures at Madame Tussauds in London, and PEOPLE’s usage of the word Brangelina, which sealed the deal. The duo returned to the States in June to promote Mr. & Mrs. Smith (the movie went on to gross $186 million) and began tentatively talking about their relationship. (Later that summer, an Arizona restaurant security camera reportedly caught the elusive money shot: the two smooching in public.) Soon after, Pitt joined Jolie on another trip to Africa so she could adopt Ethiopian-born orphan Zahara. Then, in December, he decided to make this thing official — with the kids, anyway — by starting the process of adopting Zahara and her big brother, Maddox.

Now Brangelina moves into a second year as a completely unofficial couple who are still not dating and are just ”close friends.” And we wish them all the luck all over the world.

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