STUNNING Neri Oxman may share a remarkable likeness to Angelina Jolie – but it is her PhD and not her film star looks which have captivated A-list actor Brad Pitt.
The professor may finally end the twice-married superstar’s quest to find his perfect woman after he said every break-up was a step towards “the one”.
Serial dater Brad has had relationships with some of Hollywood’s most famous beauties, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston and Angelina.
But pals are hopeful his relentless pursuit of love is over — as Neri, 42, has the exact combination of brains, charisma and beauty that the film hunk has been striving for.
An insider tells The Sun on Sunday: “Brad always does a lot of soul-searching after a break-up, analysing how he can find the perfect partner.
“Each time he goes looking for a new relationship, his wish list of demands gets longer.
“Friends joke that he is almost upgrading each time, until he finally settles for good.
“For years, he has been content to look within Hollywood for his next girlfriend. But after the split with Angelina, he was encouraged to look outside of the Los Angeles fame bubble.
“This has led to him falling for Neri. It is very much a meeting of minds first — it is not just physical attraction. Their chemistry is hot.”
The World War Z and Fury actor, 54, has been quietly dating the “rock star” professor for the past five months, sources confirmed to us.
They have been enjoying secret trysts across the US to her adopted home town of Boston, Massachusetts, where she works at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — commonly known as MIT.
Israeli-born Neri has an intimidating intellect that has seen her rise to the top of US academic circles.
Brad — described as Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor after his split with Mr & Mrs Smith co-star Angelina, 42 — had been lying low in LA following their messy break-up in 2016.
He locked himself away in an art studio and spent lonely nights making sculptures and listening to sad songs by Frank Ocean as he wallowed in divorce.
It was an extraordinary transformation from the former self-confessed pot-smoking, hard-drinking actor of old.
In a revealing interview with GQ last year, he said he had quit booze in favour of “cranberry juice and fizzy water”.
Talking about his quest for perfection, he added: “For me, every misstep has been a step toward epiphany, understanding, some kind of joy.”
He also divulged his new love for art and “making stuff”, a passion which led him to Neri.
The award-winning architectural designer, who studied her profession in London, caught his attention when he contacted her to say how he admired her line of 3D-printed chaise lounges.
But while Brad’s exes measure their fame in red carpets and awards, Neri’s achievements hang at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and are exhibited at the world-renowned Smithsonian.
After moving to the US in 2005, leaving her well-heeled family in the Israeli city of Jaffa, she joined MIT.
There, the trained architect led a number of eye-catching projects — including other 3D-printed pieces — which are displayed in museums the world over.
They include “wearable skins” which might one day allow humans to survive on other planets.
Her innovative designs have led her to conferences as far away as the Arctic Circle to discuss them.
It has also earned her the moniker of “rock star” professor at MIT, which is where Brad first met her after speedily organising a face-to-face.
The A-lister had been due to stay only for a few days but ended up spending a week on campus after they enjoyed dinner at her apartment.
A snap of their November meeting was even posted on Instagram, showing Brad in an all-black ensemble with a scarf, posing with Neri.
Stunned student Kathy Camenzind took another photo of the actor alongside other women at the lab and wrote: “Ocean’s six? #whatjusthappened #bradpitt #medialab.”
Our insider says: “Brad is besotted with Neri and cannot wait to shout their love from the rooftops.
“He is mesmerised by her intellect, her cool philosophy on life and of course their shared love of arts and design.
“He is also saying she’s the sexiest woman he’s ever laid eyes on.”
Brad is said to be “smitten” with Neri. He was initially anxious to take things slowly, focusing on sobriety as he thrashed out custody over kids Maddox, 16, Pax, 14, Zahara, 13, Shiloh, 11, and nine-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne.
But now Brad is keen to take things up a gear.
Angelina is also said to be back in the dating game, pursuing her own romance with a “handsome real estate agent”.
Our source adds: “Brad and Angelina made a pact when they split that they wouldn’t step out with other people until their divorce terms were formally agreed.
“That didn’t stop either of them from quietly dating other people but he has been very clear about not rubbing her face in it and vice versa.
“Of course, this goes beyond image. Their biggest concern here has always been the children.
“The last thing any of the kids need is to see Mommy or Daddy dating other people while they’re still technically married.”
Neri is also a divorcee, having married top Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov, now 57, in 2011. The pair, who do not have children together, split several years later.
She is said to have been dating a wealthy suitor when she met Brad but dumped him for the film star.
Our source adds that Brad is keen to introduce Neri to his six kids “at the appropriate time”.
The insider says: “Once the dust has officially settled on his and Angelina’s marriage, he will absolutely want them to be introduced.
“This is a sensitive subject and he will be respectful to Angelina but, make no mistake, he is seeing this as a serious relationship.
That will eventually mean she’ll meet his kids, for sure.”
She dumped a wealthy suitor for the movie star
For now, Brad is becoming a regular fixture around campus, flying in from his Hollywood Hills home on the west coast of the US to be with her.
He is even said to have let himself in — once surprising her with an unexpected romantic visit.
The source says: “He has been given a key and has been seen going into her apartment multiple times.”
Together they enjoy takeaways at her Boston love-nest, but he also likes to show off his cooking skills.
There may have even been a subtle hint about their blossoming romance.
Neri posted a cryptic tweet in January, which read: “Love doesn’t care about time. It times care.”
Emmerdale spoilers: Brenda Walker forces Laurel Thomas to end affair with Bob
Ed Sheeran’s home may have railings placed outside to stop rough sleepers
PASS THE TISSUES
Emotional moment Ant McPartlin & co-stars burst into tears in BGT first ep
‘I’ve met my match’
Love Island beauty Montana Brown, 22, says she regrets having sex on TV
‘not my story‘
Holly Willoughby reveals why she didn’t discuss Ant’s drink drive shame
The pair are even said to have travelled internationally together on a number of occasions, taking great care to remain under the radar.
That includes a design conference in South Africa in February, where Neri was a featured speaker.
It is leaving friends to speculate that unlucky-in-love Brad may finally have found his Hollywood ending.