In the six pictures featured in the July 11 issue, Jolie stands in a field near her Buckinghamshire, England, estate while a shirtless and bleached-blond Pitt rides a dirt bike with her safety helmet-clad son Maddox. Other photos show Pitt, Jolie and 3-year-old Maddox at Luton Airport outside London.
Larry Hackett, People's deputy managing editor, won't disclose how much the magazine paid for the photos, obtained from a photographer in Britain. But he told The Associated Press Thursday that the price tag was under $1 million and "there was no bidding war" with competitors such as Us Weekly and Star magazines.
"I think they're better photos than what have been out there of this couple," said Hackett. "They represent news about this relationship. For better or worse, people are interested in this."
For months, rumors have been circulating about the extent of Pitt and Jolie's off-screen relationship. In April, photos published by Us Weekly of the couple with Maddox on a beach in Africa fueled speculation about a possible romance, though Pitt and Jolie weren't shown being affectionate with each other.
Pitt and his wife, Jennifer Aniston (search), announced their separation in January, and Aniston filed for divorce in March, citing irreconcilable differences.
While promoting their new film, "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," Pitt and Jolie stayed away from each other during red carpet appearances, although they do appear as a dysfunctional 1963-era couple in an artsy W magazine photo spread for the July issue.
"She's a 30-year-old woman with a son," said Hackett. "He's a 41-year-old man who's just left a four-year marriage and is in the midst of a divorce. You know, you don't jump into these things, check it out, then split. I think they're being grown-ups. They're trying to figure out what's next."
"Mr. & Mrs. Smith" was produced by Twentieth Century Fox, which is owned by News Corps, the parent company of FOXNews.com.