Jolie twins doctor admits to pre-birth pressure

NICE, France Tue Jul 15, 2008 10:34am EDT

1 of 14. Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi (C) holds copies of the birth certificate of Angelina Jolie's son, Knox Leon, as her doctor Michel Sussmann (L) and hospital director Bernard Lecat look on in front of the Nice Lenval Hospital, southern France, July 13, 2008. The girl named Vivienne Marcheline, weighed 2.27 kg (5 lbs) and the boy named Knox Leon, weighed 2.28 kg, according to Sussmann.

Credit: Reuters/Chris Serrano

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NICE, France (Reuters) - The doctor who delivered Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's twins over the weekend has admitted to feeling the pressure of dealing with one of the world's most famous couples.

Oscar-winning actress Jolie gave birth to son Knox Leon and daughter Vivienne Marcheline by caesarean section at the Lenval hospital in the southern French city of Nice late on Saturday.

"For sure," Michel Sussmann said, when asked on Europe 1 radio whether he was nervous before the operation.

"It wasn't pressure on a medical level, because I have been practicing for a certain number of years, but it's true that there was pressure due to the couple's fame.

"I was assisted by a team that was totally competent, so things happened as I wanted them to happen -- simply and efficiently."

Dozens of reporters, cameramen and photographers have been camped outside the Lenval hospital on the glamorous Promenade des Anglais waterfront to report on the birth.

Several U.S. networks added to their ranks on Monday in preparation for a news conference scheduled for Tuesday and the couple's departure either by road or by air.

Nice Matin newspaper, which broke the news of the birth on Sunday, dedicated several pages to the event in its Monday edition and featured a photograph of Pitt and Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi signing the birth certificates.

Pitt, 44, was at 33-year-old Jolie's side for the birth.

Vivienne Marcheline weighed 2.27 kg (5 lbs) and Knox Leon weighed 2.28 kg. Marcheline was the first name of Jolie's mother, also an actress, who died of cancer last year.

"EXEMPLARY"

Sussmann said Pitt was "perfectly calm" during the operation and that the couple were "an exemplary father and mother.

"People of great simplicity, of great kindness since she is a patient who was totally obedient, very calm, very kind," he added.

Jolie's stay at Lenval hospital was far from ordinary, however. She arrived in late June by helicopter from the Provence villa where she and Pitt had been staying with their four other children -- Maddox, Pax, Zahara and Shiloh.

And according to sources at the hospital, the fifth floor of the building was sealed off for the couple and their entourage.

Nice Matin has reported that the couple sold exclusive rights to the first photographs of the twins to an unnamed U.S. magazine for $11 million and would give the money to charity.

Jolie and Pitt came to a similar arrangement with People magazine in 2006, when it reportedly paid $4.1 million for North American rights to the pictures. Experts estimated worldwide rights to those images were worth $5-7 million.

(Additional reporting by Francois Murphy in Paris, writing by Mike Collett-White in London, editing by Paul Casciato)

(To read more about our entertainment news, visit our blog "Fan Fare" online at blogs.reuters.com/fanfare)

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