How Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s divorce became Hollywood’s nastiest EVER as he sues her for 'selling' $164m vineyard

THEY were once Hollywood’s glittering power couple. 

But, for the last five and a half years, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have been very publicly airing their dirty laundry, in one of the messiest – and most expensive, at $1 million each in costs – divorce battles of all time.

Despite the divorce being finalised in 2019, the A-listers are still fighting over financial assets, and they’ve spent millions of dollars on court fees.

Brad was only “awarded joint custody” of their six children back in May 2021.

And, just this week, it was reported Brad is suing Angelina for allegedly secretly selling the couple's £116million French estate and winery to a Russian oligarch.

So how did Hollwood's once-golden couple get to this stage? We look into how their divorce became one of the messiest in history…

'Irreconcilable differences'

It was a shock to the world when Tomb Raider actress Jolie suddenly filed for divorce from Pitt in September 2016 – just two years after they wed and 12 years into their partnership. 

Citing "irreconcilable differences," she requested sole physical custody of their six children, Maddox, 20, Pax, 18, Zahara, 17, Shiloh, 15 and twins Vivienne and Knox, 13.

At the time of the separation, a rep for the actress said at the time: “This decision was made for the health of the family.”

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Child abuse allegations

Angelina accused Brad of child abuse towards their eldest son Maddox (left)Credit: Splash News

It soon emerged that an incident on the couple’s private jet led to a child abuse investigation into Brad – which he was cleared of.

It was claimed at the time that the Troy actor had been drinking and got into a fight with Angelina. Their son Maddox stepped in to stop it and got into an altercation with Brad.

Jolie ended up speaking to the FBI for four hours in their investigation. 

She told the BBC: “I don’t want to say very much about [the incident] except to say that it was a very difficult time and we are a family. 

“And we’ll always be a family.”

In November 2016, Pitt was cleared by the LA County Department of Children and Family Services.

The conclusion reached was there was “not inappropriate physical contact” between them.

The exes volunteered to have individual counselling and Brad agreed to have drink and drug testing – although not legally required to.  

Quit drugs and alcohol

The actor hasn’t made any comment about the allegations but has been open about his drinking and drug use. 

In a May 2017 GQ interview, Brad revealed he had quit drinking and smoking cannabis. 

He said: “I can't remember a day since I got out of college when I wasn't boozing or had a spliff, or something. 

“And I'm running from feelings. I stopped everything except boozing when I started my family. But even this last year […] I was boozing too much."

He added: “It's just become a problem. You either deny them all of your life or you answer them and evolve.”

For a while the exes seemed to live harmoniously, with Brad telling GQ Style in 2017: “We’ve been able to work together to sort this out.

“We’re both doing our best. I heard one lawyer say, ‘No one wins in court — it’s just a matter of who gets hurt worse.'

“And it seems to be true.”

'No child support'

But then money came into play. In 2018 Jolie claimed in a court filing that Pitt had paid no child support in their two-year separation. 

Her lawyer’s brief read: “[Pitt] has a duty to pay child support. As of present, [Pitt] has paid no meaningful child support since separation.” 

Pitt responded that he had loaned his ex millions of dollars and paid bills in an informal agreement. 

To make ends meet, Jolie has taken on a series of cinematic stinkers. 

In 2020, she made Those Who Wish Me Dead, which skipped a cinema release and made just £2million. 

The following year, Eternals became the lowest rated Marvel film of all-time – with fans panning the film and The Sun awarding it a paltry two stars.  

But in October 2019 the French vineyard became a bone of contention in the divorce. 

A source told Us Weekly: “The sticking point is the value of Miraval.

“Angelina wants to be awarded the property as hers entirely because it was her idea to purchase the property to begin with.” 

The following month Jolie made a threat to take their children abroad – despite a renegotiated custody agreement. 

She swiped at her ex in Harpers Bazaar: “I would love to live abroad and will do so as soon as my children are 18.

“Right now, I’m having to base where their father chooses to live.” 

New judge demands

With the divorce slowed down by the pandemic, in August 2020, Jolie accused the judge John W. Ouderkirk of favouring Brad Pitt and demanded a new judge. 

After the judge was removed, Pitt petitioned this. The same month he was spotted with his new girlfriend, model Nicole Poturalski.

In 2021, the abuse allegations resurfaced with Jolie filing allegations of domestic violence. A source told Us: "Over the past four and a half years there have been a number of claims made by Angelina that have been reviewed and not substantiated.

"The children have been used by Angelina to hurt Brad before and this is more of that behavior."

They continued: “Maddox has already given testimony as [an] adult in the ongoing custody dispute and it wasn’t very flattering toward Brad.

“He doesn’t use Pitt as his last name on documents that aren’t legal and instead uses Jolie. Maddox wants to legally change his last name to Jolie, which Angelina has said she doesn’t support.”

The judge granted a temporary joint custody order yet again.

A source said Jolie was fuming at the move: “She will never forgive him.”

For now, Brad is continuing to focus on his love life.

A friend said: "[He wants to] find that special someone to be with long-term."

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