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This post was initially published in 2016 and has been updated with new information as it has become available.
In September 2016, news broke that Angelina Jolie had filed for divorce from Brad Pitt after 11 years together and two years of marriage. Following their split, the “Maleficent” actor’s attorney, Robert Offer, said her decision to end her much-publicized romance with Pitt was “for the health of the family.” Pitt released a statement of his own not long after, telling People, “I am very saddened by this, but what matters most now is the well-being of our kids.”
Six years later, Pitt and Jolie are still working to unravel their marriage, with recent revelations and allegations being levied at the former about a 2016 incident that preceded the couple’s split. Keep reading to get all caught up on everything that has unfolded between Pitt and Jolie.
Jolie files for divorce from Pitt. Jolie filed papers to end their marriage on Sept. 19, 2016, citing irreconcilable differences and requesting sole physical custody of their six children, Maddox, Pax, Shiloh, Zahara, and twins Vivienne and Knox. She also asked the judge to grant Pitt visitation rights.
Jolie’s attorney, Offer, releases a statement on her behalf. After their divorce news grabbed headlines on Sept. 20, 2016, Jolie’s attorney said her decision to divorce was made “for the health of the family” but did not answer any further questions.
Pitt releases a statement. The actor spoke out about the split in a statement to People that same day, making it clear that he was putting their kids first. “I kindly ask the press to give [the kids] the space they deserve during this challenging time,” he said.
More details about their divorce surface. In an exclusive report from Us Weekly, a source close to the pair revealed that “they fought a lot over the years and disagreed about many things. . . . The fighting got worse and they disagreed a lot about parenting.” The insider also noted that they would also “fight over their schedules and politics.”
Jolie’s manager, Geyer Kosinski, releases another statement on her behalf. Later that week, Jolie’s manager told E! News, “Angelina will always do what’s in the best interest of taking care of her family. She appreciates everyone’s understanding of their need for privacy at this time.”
Celebrities react to Pitt and Jolie’s shocking split. Once the news broke, it didn’t take very long for GIFs and memes to flood the internet. Stars also quickly chimed in, and Chrissy Teigen tweeted, “Brad and Angelina. How am I supposed to go to work today?” Meanwhile, their friend George Clooney found out about the breakup while attending the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees at the United Nations. During an interview with CNN, a reporter asked him to comment on their split, to which he shockingly responded, “What happened? . . . I didn’t know that. I feel very sorry then. That’s a sad story and unfortunate for a family. It’s an unfortunate story about a family. I feel very sorry to hear that.” Adele also dedicated her NYC concert to the couple, telling the audience, “I need to address to elephant in the room . . . But it’s the end of an era.” Courteney Cox said the divorce is “not about” Jennifer Aniston, and Jen’s husband at the time, Justin Theroux, made a similar comment about her inclusion being “nonsense.”
The New York Post released a cover featuring a laughing Aniston. On Sept. 21, 2016, people were furious when The New York Post released its Pitt and Jolie split cover, showing a massive photo of Aniston laughing hysterically. Not long after, Aniston’s pal, Chelsea Handler, spoke out about the breakup, saying, “Brad and Angelina always said they wouldn’t get married until everyone could get married and I always said I wouldn’t get married until they got divorced, so I’m officially accepting proposals. I’m ready.” She then continued, “There are rumors that part of the problem was that Brad was allegedly drinking and smoking too much weed. I wonder why he would need to self-medicate? Maybe because he could have been spending the last 12 years at Lake Como hanging out with George Clooney and Matt Damon instead of being stuck in a house with 85 kids, speaking 15 different languages. Oh yeah, and because he married a f*cking lunatic, that’s why.”
Marion Cotillard breaks her silence on Pitt and Jolie’s split. On Sept. 21, 2016, Cotillard used Instagram to announce her pregnancy with longtime partner Guillaume Canet and shut down rumors that she had an affair with Pitt in a lengthy post. “This is going to be my first and only reaction to the whirlwind news that broke 24 hours ago and that I was swept up into,” she wrote, adding, “Firstly, many years ago, I met the man of my life, father of our son and of the baby we are expecting. He is my love, my best friend, the only one that I need . . . And to all the media and the haters who are quick to pass judgment, I sincerely wish you a swift recovery. Finally, I do very much wish that Angelina and Brad, both of whom I deeply respect, will find peace in this very tumultuous moment.”
Pitt is investigated for child abuse. On Sept. 22, 2016, People reported that the actor was under investigation for child abuse by the Los Angeles Police Department and LA County Department of Children and Family Services after someone anonymously reported that he got “verbally abusive” and “physical” with one of his six children. The incident allegedly occurred on Sept. 14, 2016 on his and Angelina’s private plane, where the rest of the kids, as well as Jolie, were also present. The report also suggested that he had been drinking at the time of the incident. Not long after the news broke, the LAPD denied the report with the statement: “We have no criminal investigation that we are actively pursuing. To my knowledge, [Pitt talking to police] never happened. And right now, that is where our office is. We are not investigating any case, nor do we have any allegations against Mr. Pitt. We understand how rumors get spun up and hopefully we can put a few of them to rest. We have no investigation involving Mr. Pitt.” People later clarified that the DCFS was still investigating Brad for child abuse, but the LAPD had not been involved. TMZ also further reported that the child abuse allegations had been transferred to the FBI.
On Sept. 22, 2016, Pitt gets a lawyer. The Hollywood Reporter reported that the actor enlisted help from Lance Spiegel, a family law attorney from Beverly Hills, for his divorce.
The FBI releases an official statement. In a statement released to Us Weekly, the FBI responded to Pitt’s child abuse investigation by saying, “In response to your inquiry regarding allegations within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States; specifically, an aircraft carrying Mr. Brad Pitt and his children, the FBI is continuing to gather facts and will evaluate whether an investigation at the federal level will be pursued.”
Pitt backs out of an event and releases another statement. On Sept. 27, 2016, Pitt revealed he wouldn’t be attending a previously planned screening of Terrence Malick’s “Voyage of Time.” “I’m currently focused on my family situation and don’t want to distract attention away from this extraordinary film,” he said.
Pitt offers to take a drug test. Pitt reportedly agreed to a drug test, according to a report from Us Weekly on Sept. 28, 2016. A legal source confirmed that the test would not not be conducted against Pitt’s will, stating, “The DCFS [Department of Community & Family Services] wouldn’t compel someone to provide the urine sample for the drug test; it would be voluntary.”
Jolie hires the real-life Olivia Pope for her divorce. On Sept. 29, 2016, People confirmed that the actor hired famous crisis manager Judy Smith, who inspired Kerry Washington’s character in “Scandal,” to help with her divorce. “Judy has been asked to consult with those working with Angelina on divorce negotiations,” a source told the magazine. “Judy and her firm have a long history of handling issues that have unfortunately garnered too much attention in the public eye, and she knows how to push towards resolutions that are swift and discreet.”
Pitt and Jolie reach a temporary custody agreement. On Sept. 30, 2016, Us Weekly shared that the former couple had reached a temporary custody agreement, which would be in effect for three weeks before the LA County Department of Children and Family Services would draw up another arrangement or turn the jurisdiction over to the court. The agreement also stated that Jolie will get full physical custody of their children, and Pitt would have visitation rights, although hist first visit would be monitored by a therapist, who would determine if he is allowed to then have unsupervised time with the kids. Jolie and Pitt also had to attend individual counseling as well as family counseling with the kids, and Pitt had to take random drug and alcohol tests.
Pitt won’t be prosecuted for alleged plane incident with Jolie and Maddox. On Oct. 8, 2016, Us Weekly reported that the FBI never opened an investigation against Pitt because there was “no case,” though TMZ said the FBI was still working on gathering all the facts from the incident.
Pitt sees his kids for the first time since announcing the split. E! News confirmed that Pitt was able to visit some of his children on Oct. 8, 2016, with a therapist present to monitor his behavior. It’s not clear which of the kids were present and which weren’t, but a second source also told E! that the therapist would be there for all of Pitt’s visits through Oct. 20, 2016, and that the actor happily volunteered to complete drug and alcohol testing (even though it was not required).
Maddox Jolie-Pitt refuses to attend the reunion with his dad. While Pitt reportedly “wanted to make sure the meeting would be the most productive for the kids,” Maddox refused to attend the family reunion and stayed with Jolie, Us Weekly reported. According to a source close to Jolie, “He chose not to go and stayed with Angie,” adding, “It wasn’t full of joy and happiness.”
Jolie and the children are reportedly interviewed by the FBI. In an attempt to get to the bottom of the alleged physical altercation that happened between Pitt and Maddox on the plane, the FBI reportedly visited Jolie and the kids at their Malibu, CA, home on Oct. 19, 2016, according to Us Weekly. Law enforcement spent three hours interviewing everyone about the incident. Pitt was not present for the interview.
Pitt and Maddox reunite. After a month-long standoff, E! News reported that the two met on Oct. 20, 2016 with a therapist present.
Pitt and Jolie are selling Château Miraval. According to Us Weekly, Jolie and Pitt put their estate and vineyard in the village of Correns, France, up for sale. “The home has been valued and is going on the market any day now,” an insider revealed, adding, “It currently says Jolie-Pitt on the Château Miraval bottles, and the next season’s batch will have a new reprinted label with no names written on it.”
Jolie meets with the FBI. Per Us Weekly, Jolie reportedly met with two FBI agents in her rented home for four hours on Oct. 18, 2016, answering questions about the claims made against Pitt.
The investigation into Pitt is extended. On Oct. 25, 2016, Us Weekly reported that the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services had extended their investigation into Pitt. The investigators were reportedly looking into “whether there are additional incidents or a pattern that may suggest a history of abuse that involves more than one of Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s six children.” The investigation was initially scheduled to conclude on Oct. 20, 2016.
Pitt seeks joint custody. NBC News confirmed on Nov. 4, 2016 that the actor filed for joint physical custody of the children. Jolie initially asked for sole custody when they first split, just allowing Pitt visitation rights. Although that might have only been a part of the temporary custody agreement that was originally agreed to by a judge, the allegations made against Brad regarding child abuse certainly complicate things.
Pitt and Jolie reach another temporary custody agreement. On Nov. 7, 2016, Jolie’s rep told ET in a statement that “childcare professionals have encouraged a legal agreement accepted and signed by both sides over a week ago.” The agreement stated that “the six children will stay in their mother’s custody, and the children will continue therapeutic visits with their father . . . This has been determined by childcare professionals to be in the children’s best interest.” Her rep continued, “We are not in a position to discuss the details. We hope, now that it is clear that the events which led to the dissolution filing involved minor children and their wellbeing, there will be understanding of the sensitivity of the family situation. We believe that all sides are committed to healing the family and ask for your consideration during this difficult time.”
Pitt has been cleared in child abuse investigation. On Nov. 9, 2016, law enforcement sources confirmed to Us Weekly that Pitt did not abuse his son Maddox during a plane incident back in September of that year. TMZ also reported that the Department of Children and Family Services ruled out any reports of any patterns of misconduct on the actor’s part. Later that day, Jolie’s rep released a statement to TMZ, saying, “Angelina said from the beginning that she felt she had to take action for the health of the family and is relieved that after their eight-week involvement, the DCFS is now satisfied the safeguards are put in place that will allow the children to heal.”
The FBI closes Pitt’s child abuse investigation. On Nov. 22, 2016, the FBI closed its investigation into Pitt, NBC News reported. FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller released a statement saying, “The FBI has conducted a review of the circumstances and will not pursue further investigation. No charges have been filed in this matter.”
Pitt’s lawyers file a motion asking a judge to seal the children’s records as it relates to the divorce. On Dec. 22, 2016, news of the files were released, alleging that Jolie’s attorneys compromised their privacy in a bid to “undercut” Pitt during the custody battle. They added that Jolie releasing “the names of [the children’s] therapists and other mental health professionals” violated their initial agreement to protect the children’s privacy. “[She] appears to be determined to ignore even agreed upon standards relating to the children’s best interest,” the filing reads.
Pitt spends Christmas with his kids. According to Us Weekly, Pitt saw his children over the holiday weekend in 2016 for a gift exchange that Jolie organized. An insider told the publication that “[Brad] gave them presents and it was cordial.”
Jolie’s lawyer slams Pitt. According to TMZ, in January 2017, Jolie agreed to seal court documents related to their six children. The site also reports that the actor’s lawyer filed legal documents that claim Pitt only wants to keep the details private because he’s “terrified that the public will learn the truth.” “[Brad is trying to] deflect from [his] own role in the media storm which has engulfed the parties’ children,” the document reads. “There is little doubt that [Brad] would prefer to keep the entire case private, particularly given the detailed investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Dept. of Children and Family Services into allegation of abuse.”
Pitt and Jolie release a joint statement. After agreeing to seal their divorce and custody documents, the actors’ reps told Us Weekly in Jan. 2017, “The parties and their counsel have signed agreements to preserve the privacy rights of their children and family by keeping all court documents confidential and engaging a private judge to make any necessary legal decisions and to facilitate the expeditious resolution of any remaining issues. The parents are committed to act as a united front to effectuate recovery and reunification.”
Jolie opens up about her new family dynamic. During an interview with BBC World News in February 2017, the actor was asked about the split by reporter Yalda Hakim. “I don’t want to say very much about that, except to say it was a very difficult time,” Jolie said. “We are a family and we will always be a family, and we will get through this time and hopefully be a stronger family for it. Many, many people find themselves in this situation. My whole, my family . . . we’ve all being through a difficult time. My focus is my children, our children . . . and my focus is finding this way through . . . I am coping with finding a way through to make sure that this somehow makes us stronger and closer. It’s been a difficult few months. Right now, I’m going through a moment when just everybody’s in my room. Two dogs, two hamsters and two children at the moment. It’s wonderful. But, usually, I just wake up trying to figure out who’s going to get [the] dog out, who’s going to start the pancakes and did anybody brush their teeth.”
Pitt and Jolie are talking again. According to Us Weekly, the former couple were back on speaking terms roughly six months after their breakup. “They are in a place where they can put anger or hurt aside to focus on their children and how they plan to coparent.” Pitt also “lost a ton of weight” in the wake of their divorce, but it likely wasn’t all due to stress. “He’s focusing on himself again, watching what he eats and has a chef making him healthy meals. He’s exercising. He’s been outdoors a lot, hiking and walking. He’s had a lot of time to focus on himself,” an insider revealed.
Pitt opens up to GQ in a big way. In his first interview since the split announcement, Pitt talked about his divorce in GQ in 2017, admitting he was going to therapy, and speaking about his alcohol use. He also got incredibly honest about his family being “ripped apart” but only had good things to say about Jolie.
Jolie gets candid about her “difficult” split from Pitt. In Vanity Fair’s September 2017 issue, the actor opened up about her divorce from Pitt, saying, “Things got bad. I didn’t want to use that word . . . Things became ‘difficult.’ . . . [Our lifestyle] was not in any way a negative. That was not the problem. That is and will remain one of the wonderful opportunities we are able to give our children . . . They’re six very strong-minded, thoughtful, worldly individuals. I’m very proud of them.” She also revealed that in addition to hypertension, she developed Bell’s palsy (a condition resulting from damage to facial nerves), which caused one side of her face to droop. “Sometimes women in families put themselves last until it manifests itself in their own health,” she explained. Jolie credited acupuncture for her full recovery.
Jolie and Pitt reach a new temporary custody agreement. According to Us Weekly, the Superior Court of Los Angeles County determined that “not having a relationship with their father” would be “harmful” to their six children. The court said that the kids “are safe with their father” and that it is “critical that each of them have a healthy and strong relationship” with both of their parents. However, Maddox is essentially free to go with either parent because he’s older. The former couple was asked to arrange a phone call between them, their children, and two psychologists “to explain the Summer schedule.” Pitt had physical custody of the minor children (except for Maddox) for four hours a day from June 8, 2018 to June 17, 2018 in London, where Jolie was living at the time.
Jolie and Pitt’s custody battle takes a nasty turn. In court documents obtained by ET in August 2018, Jolie accused Pitt of not paying child support for a year and a half and stated that she’s planning to get a court order to demand that he pay it. “The aim of Angelina’s routine court filing is to provide closure to the marriage in a way that clears a path toward the next stage of their lives and allows her and Brad to recommit as devoted co-parents to their children,” Jolie’s spokesperson Mindy Nyby told the outlet. Pitt fired back, claiming he had paid Jolie over $9 million since their split. However, Jolie’s lawyer told People that “a loan is not child support.”
Jolie and Pitt’s custody battle heads to trial. According to documents obtained by E! News, the former couple’s trial started on Dec. 4, 2018. Retired Judge John Ouderkirk was appointed to the case, a continuous dispute over custody of their children. “They’re still working together towards an out of court settlement,” a source told the outlet. “Angelina is not seeking sole custody of the kids, she still supports the reconciliation of the children with their father.”
Jolie and Pitt meet up twice amid their contentious divorce. The former couple met up twice in January 2019 as part of their “ongoing process to work through things regarding the kids and the divorce.” According to Us Weekly, “they have established a foundation that is enabling the process to move forward in a much more thoughtful and peaceful manner.”
Jolie and Pitt become legally single. In April 2019, a judge ruled that the two could be legally divorced before they finalize their settlement.
Pitt confirms his sobriety. During a Jan. 2020 speech at the National Board of Review Awards, Pitt said he was still sober while thanking Bradley Cooper. Pitt said of Cooper, “I got sober because of this guy and every day has been happier ever since. I love you and I thank you.”
Pitt loses the additional custody time he was granted with his kids. Judge Ouderkirk awarded Pitt more time with his and Jolie’s five youngest children in May 2021. A three-judge panel disqualified Ouderkirk from the case just three months later, though, per People, alleging that the judge had hidden connections to Pitt’s attorneys. Pitt’s additional time privileges were subsequently revoked. A representative for Pitt told the outlet that “Brad believes there is overwhelming evidence that the current situation isn’t good for the kids. This just sets things back for everyone.”
Jolie sells her stake in her and Pitt’s winery. In August 2021, Jolie sold her stake in Château Miraval, the $164 million French winery she and Pitt owned, to wine company Tenute del Mondo. According to court documents obtained by People, Jolie was cleared to sell the shares a month prior to the sale.
Pitt sues Jolie for selling her stake in the winery. In February, Pitt sued Jolie over her decision to put her stake in Château Miraval on the market. Court documents obtained by People revealed that Pitt alleged he had not signed off on the sale. In another June court filing, he claimed that Jolie “sought to inflict harm” on him by moving forward with the sale.
New FBI records reveal more details about Pitt’s 2016 airplane incident. In August, multiple outlets revealed that using the name “Jane Doe,” Jolie requested the release of FBI investigative records about the 2016 flight that led to her divorce. The records, obtained by Rolling Stone, include an excerpt of an interview where Jolie alleges to authorities that Pitt “grabbed her by her head,” “pushed her into the bathroom wall,” punched the ceiling of the plane, and “poured beer on [Jolie] and the blanket she was under.” Jolie also alleged that she feared Pitt was going to attack the children and said she held him in a chokehold to restrain him. Her allegations did not lead to criminal charges, as previously detailed.
Jolie files a countersuit against Pitt. In October, Jolie’s former business Nouvel countersued Pitt for more than $250 million in damages, claiming that Pitt had been “waging a vindictive war” against Jolie since their 2016 divorce, per The New York Times. The documents alleged that Pitt had “masterminded a so-far-successful plan” to control Château Miraval. They also claimed that he had “frozen Nouvel out of Château Miraval and treats it as his personal fiefdom,” and said he had made last-minute demands of Jolie after spending months negotiating with her so she could sell her shares in the winery. The documents also contained more details about the plane incident, including an allegation that Pitt had “choked one of the children and struck another in the face.” A source speaking on behalf of Pitt told People, “This is just the latest in a series of deliberate efforts to misdirect, recycle and reposition the truth of what has happened over the last six years, thinking that reasonable people would be duped by these obvious misrepresentations.” Neither Pitt nor Jolie has responded to POPSUGAR’s request for comment about the latest lawsuit.
Jolie files case management statement after making a cross-complaint. The new court filing, filed in December and obtained by People, read: “Ms. Jolie contends that Plaintiffs’ causes of action are frivolous, malicious and part of a problematic pattern, and she has filed a Cross-Complaint for declaratory relief seeking confirmation of her related rights.” It continued: “In particular, Plaintiff Pitt’s allegations that he and Ms. Jolie had a secret, unwritten, unspoken contract to a consent right on the sale of their interests in the property is directly contrary to the written record and, among other legal defects, violative of the Statute of Frauds and public policy.”