From Divorce to Lawsuits: The Undoing of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s Marriage

In 2016, the actors made headlines after Jolie filed for divorce. Here is a timeline of their turbulent divorce process and more.

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Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s divorce is by far one of the most shocking celebrity breakups. 

The high-profile couple called it quits in 2016, igniting a storm of public drama, allegations, and lawsuits that constantly gained media attention. 

Jolie and Pitt connected in 2004 as they starred in Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Simultaneously, Pitt was married to Jennifer Aniston, but their union ended after five years of marriage. Soon after his public split, Pitt and Jolie were spotted together for the first time, fueling controversial dating rumors. And the rest was history. The duo was undoubtedly inseparable, becoming a power couple in their own right for over a decade. 

The two share three biological children: Shiloh and twins Knox and Vivienne. Jolie adopted her first son, Maddox, in 2002. She adopted daughter Zahara in 2005 and son Pax in 2007. Jolie and Pitt wed in 2014 after being together for 10 years. Unfortunately, their marriage crumbled after two years when Jolie filed for divorce. 

In 2020, Jolie addressed her divorce in a Vogue India interview. She shared that their separation was the “right decision” for her and their children. “I separated for the wellbeing of my family,” she admitted. “Some have taken advantage of my silence, and the children see lies about themselves in the media, but I remind them that they know their own truth and their own minds. In fact, they are six very brave, very strong young people.”

Over the last few years, the two have found themselves entangled in a legal dispute regarding their French vineyard estate, Château Miraval. Legal proceedings have been ongoing since Jolie sold her stake in the property without Pitt’s consent. 

The divorce between the two entertainers has been far from peaceful. Here is a chronological timeline of Jolie and Pitt’s drama-laden divorce, from a whirlwind of allegations to their subsequent legal actions. 

Jolie filed for divorce from Pitt

Date: September 2016

What Happened: After two years of marriage and a 12-year relationship, Jolie filed for divorce from the actor in 2016. According to TMZ, Jolie’s legal documents cited that the split was due to irreconcilable differences. The filing also requested physical custody of their children, insinuating she only wanted Pitt to have visitation rights due to allegations of substance abuse, anger, and continuous conflicts regarding their six children. 

Sources told the outlet that allegedly Jolie expressed concern regarding Pitt’s use of marijuana and alcohol. She also claimed that Pitt has an “anger problem,” which she deemed dangerous for her children. In light of the couple’s shocking revelation, Jolie did not request spousal support. 

They announce their split 

Date: September 2016

What Happened: In response to Jolie’s filing, the two released a statement regarding their separation. Pitt told People that he was “saddened” by Jolie’s actions. “But what matters most now is the wellbeing of our kids. I kindly ask the press to give them the space they deserve during this challenging time,” he emphasized. 

Additionally, Jolie’s attorney addressed her client’s pending divorce. “This decision was made for the health of the family,” Jolie’s attorney said. “She will not be commenting at this time and asks that the family be given their privacy during this difficult time.”

Pitt investigated for child abuse allegations

Date: September 2016

What Happened: Amid Jolie and Pitt’s divorce news, an anonymous tip reported Pitt was abusive toward Jolie and his children on an airplane ride. People reported that the Division of Children and Family Services got involved and conducted an investigation into the incident. An inside source claimed that Pitt was “verbally abusive” toward one of the children, in addition to becoming physical with the child. Jolie was present on the plane along with their other children. Allegedly, Pitt was intoxicated while on the plane and did not return with the family to Los Angeles after the incident occurred, per TMZ

The source told the outlet, “The DCFS investigation is ongoing.” Pitt has been fully cooperative throughout the process as the case remains pending. 

The pair reached a temporary custody agreement 

Date: December 2016

What Happened: Jolie was granted physical custody of her and Pitt’s six children. As reported by ET, the family was to undergo “safe harbor therapy” together, which entailed doctor-approved therapeutic visitation from Pitt and weekly counseling sessions of the estranged couple and their children. 

In addition to the ruling, Pitt was set to maintain regular drug and alcohol testing. 

Pitt requests privacy during divorce proceedings

Date: December 2016

What Happened: According to ET, Pitt requested an emergency court hearing to solidify privacy in regards to his and Jolie’s divorce documents. Unfortunately, the judge denied the request. 

Pitt’s reasoning was due to their high-profile celebrity status. Pitt wants “to keep this custody battle out of the public eye to protect his children. Privacy is beneficial to the entire family,” per an ET inside source. 

Judge orders new temporary custody arrangement 

Date: June 2018

What Happened: As Jolie filmed Maleficent: Mistress of Evil in London, the judge granted the actor unrestricted phone calls with his kids, per People. According to documents obtained by the outlet, Pitt must have each child’s cellphone number so he can contact them whenever needed. 

In the legal file, the judge noted that Jolie-Pitt’s children’s lack of communication with their father is “harmful to them,” adding that they must maintain “a healthy and strong relationship with their father and mother.”

Additionally, ET reported that Jolie was ordered to grant more time with the children in hopes of repairing their relationship. Their eldest son, Maddox, was allowed to determine the visitation availability between him and his father due to “his age and maturity.” 

The legal documentation notes that if Jolie fails to do so, the court may reduce her visitation rights with Jolie while Pitt will be presumed to be the primary caretaker for the minors. 

They both become legally single

Date: April 2019

What Happened: A judge ruled that the two Hollywood stars are legally single. As reported by People, the pair filed for bifurcation in August 2018. A source informed the outlet that Jolie and Pitt are “focused on what’s best for the kids.” The ruling allows both parties to file taxes separately instead of as a married couple. 

Pitt granted custody

Date: May 2021

What Happened: Following a five-year legal battle with his ex-partner regarding their six children, Pitt was granted joint custody. Judge John Ouderkirk determined the decision. A source, cited by Page Six, said that the decision was “tentative” due to Jolie’s continued pursuit to contest the judge’s resolution. 

Jolie challenged Pitt’s custody arrangement and won

Date: July 2021

What Happened: Pitt’s custody win was short-lived after Jolie challenged Judge Ouderkirk’s ruling. News surfaced that a California appeals court had nullified all of Judge Ouderkirk’s verdicts, reinstating Jolie’s physical custody of their kids. In court documents obtained by ET, the decision was made because of Judge Ouderkirk and Pitt’s business relationship, resulting in an “ethical breach.”

Pitt takes legal action against Jolie regarding Château Miraval vineyard

Date: Feb 2022

What Happened: Pitt and Jolie’s ongoing divorce escalated after Pitt took legal action against his ex-partner for selling her share in their jointly owned Château Miraval vineyard in France. Documents obtained by People revealed that Jolie sold her interest without mutual consent, resulting in a breach of contract. 

Additional information surfaces regarding Pitt’s lawsuit against Jolie

Date: June 2022

What Happened: Later that year, Pitt was seemingly determined to retrieve his shares from Jolie’s sale. Per Complex, Pitt stated that Jolie “sought to inflict harm” by selling her shares. The actress sold her stake to Russian oligarch Yuri Shefler. In the filing, Pitt claims that Jolie “knew and intended that Shefler and his affiliates would try to control the business Pitt had built and to undermine Pitt’s investment in Miraval.”

Pitt accuses Shefler of a “hostile takeover” as he destabilizes “Miraval’s operations and seeks access to Miraval’s confidential and proprietary information for the benefit of his competing enterprise.” The actor implies that the sale was not a mutual agreement and gave her interests to a “stranger” with “poisonous associations and intentions.” 

Jolie filed a countersuit against Pitt

Date: October 2022

What Happened: In the wake of the two divorce proceedings and winery lawsuit, Jolie filed a countersuit against her ex. In the legal documents, Jolie provided additional information about the family’s airplane incident back in 2016, alleging abuse by Pitt. The filings stated that Pitt reportedly “choked one of the children and struck another in the face” and “grabbed Jolie by the head and shook her.”

Jolie continued claiming that Pitt threw beer on her in addition to pouring wine and beer on his children. Authorities investigated the incident, which ultimately cleared Pitt of the allegations. 

Pitt wins lawsuit against Jolie 

Date: February 2024 

What Happened: Pitt received a major win after a roller coaster ride of legal battles with his ex-wife. The Hollywood star argued that he should retain control over interest in the estate after Jolie sold her shares to Shefler. 

Initially, Pitt owned 60% of the shares, while Jolie was responsible for 40%. Once the two wed, Pitt gave his then-wife an additional 10% to make the estate a 50/50 ownership split.

Due to Jolie selling her interests, Pitt requested his original ownership of 60% back and remained in control of the French property. 

“He owned 60 [percent] and she owned 40 [percent]. When they got married, it was a conversation where everything was all roses [at the time],” a source said. “The agreement was for her to get 10 percent from him, a 50/50 agreement that they reached for one euro. It was symbolic of their partnership.”

Ultimately, the judge sided with Pitt, granting his request to receive his initial stake and control over the French estate. 

Jolie and Pitt are close to settling the divorce

Date: February 2024

What Happened: TMZ reported that Jolie and Pitt were nearing the end of their divorce. According to documentation obtained by the outlet, the two are currently in the process of exchanging final remarks regarding finances. This marks a significant step forward, as their divorce proceedings had been quiet for some time. 

However, the two parties must submit their final settlement to make their divorce final.

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