LOS ANGELES (AP) - Brad Pitt is extracting himself from the tabloid love triangle: The actor says his relationship with current flame Angelina Jolie began sometime after splitting from Jennifer Aniston.
In October, Jolie revealed that she and Pitt fell in love while making the 2005 film ``Mr. & Mrs. Smith.'' In November, Aniston called Jolie's comments ``really uncool,'' because she was married to Pitt while the movie was in production.
Pitt sets the record straight in a story posted on W magazine's Web site Wednesday, defending both women and insisting that his relationship with Jolie didn't begin until after he and ex-wife Aniston split in 2005.
``Jen is a sweetheart,'' Pitt tells the magazine for its Jan. 20 issue. ``I think she got dragged into that one, and then there's a second round to all that Angie versus Jen. It's so created.
``What people don't understand is that we filmed (``Mr. & Mrs. Smith'') for a year. We were still filming after Jen and I split up,'' he continues. ``Even then it doesn't mean that there was some kind of dastardly affair. There wasn't. I'm very proud of the way that it was handled. It was respectful.''
Pitt says he and Aniston ``still check in with each other.''
``She was a big part of my life, and me hers,'' he says. ``I don't see how there cannot be (that). That's life, man.''
The 45-year-old Pitt, who has six children with Jolie, was nominated for a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award for his starring role in ``The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.'' Jolie was nominated for those same awards for her starring turn in ``Changeling.'' Aniston can currently be seen in the family film ``Marley & Me.''