Could Angelina Jolie's explosive new claims torpedo Pitt's career?

Could Angelina Jolie’s explosive new claims torpedo Brad Pitt’s career? The Oscar-winning star has always denied wrongdoing and his representatives have rejected the latest allegations… but in the post-MeToo landscape, they could be hugely damaging

The journey started with an argument on the way to the airport — and ended 6,000 miles away with a family torn apart.

Or, as lawyers for one of the world’s most famous actresses now bluntly put it: ‘On September 14, 2016, [Angelina] Jolie’s marriage came to an end.’

That was the day when Jolie and her then-husband Brad Pitt boarded a private jet with their six young children in the South of France, planning to return to Los Angeles after a two-week holiday at their vineyard in Provence.

Exactly what took place on that overnight flight has long been contested. What no one disputes is that the glittering ‘Brangelina’ roadshow — which had kept the world awed and entertained since 2005 — had ground to a halt by the time the plane touched down.

Upon arrival in LA, Jolie shepherded the children to a hotel, later telling authorities that Pitt, now 58, had behaved ‘like a monster’.

The resulting divorce has proved acrimonious even by Tinseltown standards.

The latest court filing provides startling new allegations, in particular Jolie’s accusation that her ex-husband, pictured with her in 2013,  who had reportedly been drinking heavily, punched and choked their children as well as assaulting her

The latest court filing provides startling new allegations, in particular Jolie’s accusation that her ex-husband — who had reportedly been drinking heavily — punched and choked their children as well as assaulting her. Left unchallenged, in the post-MeToo landscape, such claims could torpedo the career of Pitt, Oscar-winning star of Ocean’s Eleven, Fight Club and Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

Despite an FBI investigation into the incident, Pitt has never faced any charges over his behaviour that night. However, Jolie’s lawyers now claim that the FBI agent who investigated the allegations had ‘probable cause to charge Pitt with a federal crime for his conduct that day’.

Pitt has always denied wrongdoing and his representatives have rejected Jolie’s latest claims as ‘completely untrue’.

When the plane took off, the whole family — including the couple’s three biological offspring, Shiloh, Knox and Vivienne, and their older adopted children, Maddox, Pax and Zahara — were on it. The children were then aged between eight and 15.

According to court documents: ‘Throughout the long, overnight flight, Pitt was physically and emotionally abusive to Jolie and their children… after that flight, for her family’s wellbeing, Jolie decided to file for divorce.’

She says that Pitt’s ‘aggressive behaviour’ started even before the family got to the airport, when he had a ‘confrontation’ with one of the children.

After the flight took off, Jolie says she went up to her husband and asked him what was wrong. He ‘accused her of being too deferential to the children and verbally attacked her’, it’s claimed. An hour-and-a-half later, Pitt is said to have ‘abruptly’ walked over to Jolie, demanding, ‘Come here,’ and directing her to the back of the plane. The court filing continues: ‘He pulled her into the bathroom and began yelling at her. Pitt grabbed Jolie by the head and shook her, and then grabbed her shoulders and shook her again before pushing her into the bathroom wall.’

He then punched the ceiling of the plane ‘numerous times’, prompting Jolie to leave the bathroom, it’s alleged. As she left, one of their children asked, ‘Are you OK, Mommy?’ to which Pitt reportedly shouted back, ‘No, Mommy’s not OK’ and started raining insults on Jolie.

When one of the children spoke out to defend her, Pitt allegedly lunged at the child, whereupon Jolie grabbed him from behind to stop him.

To get his wife off him, her lawyers claim, Pitt threw himself backwards into the airplane’s seats, injuring her back and elbow.

Flying high: Couple in 2011 with their family at an airport in Japan

They continue: ‘The children rushed in and all bravely tried to protect each other. Before it was over, Pitt choked one of the children and struck another in the face.’

The court filing doesn’t identify which children were allegedly targeted, although sources long ago indicated it was 15-year-old Maddox, whom Jolie had adopted as a baby from Cambodia before she began her relationship with Pitt.

While some of the children pleaded with Pitt to stop, they were all frightened and many were crying, it’s claimed.

‘With nowhere to go to avoid Pitt’s wrath, Jolie and the children sat still and silent under blankets. Nobody dared to go to the bathroom. Pitt periodically emerged from the back of the plane to yell and swear at them,’ claim Jolie’s lawyers.

At one point, it’s claimed, he poured beer on his wife, while he also poured beer and red wine on the children. ‘After many tense hours, Pitt finally fell asleep,’ the court filing alleges.

Jolie then arranged for separate cars to pick them up in LA. After they landed, Jolie says she warned the children that no matter what their father did, they should not get involved.

New allegations: Pitt has always denied wrongdoing

Her lawyers say she then went to wake Pitt and told him that she and the children were going to a hotel. ‘Pitt once again screamed at her, and pushed her down yet again,’ it’s claimed. ‘He shouted that nobody was getting off the plane and prevented the family from deplaning for about 20 minutes.’

He finally relented, it’s claimed, when one of the children demanded to get off the plane. ‘Once outside the plane door, Pitt again physically abused one of their children.’

He also ‘grabbed and shook Jolie by the head and shoulders’, prompting one of the children to beg him: ‘Don’t hurt her.’ He let go of the actress but then called her a ‘b****’, adding: ‘F*** you, f*** you all.’ Jolie and the children then left and ‘made it’ to a hotel, say her legal team.

Five days later, Jolie filed for divorce — just after the second anniversary of their wedding — requesting sole physical custody of the six children.

A lawyer for Pitt said he had accepted responsibility for some things in his past but that he would not accept responsibility for things he did not do. Another source close to the actor dismissed Jolie’s account as ‘bulls***’ and claimed her story was ‘constantly evolving’.

The source added: ‘She continues to rehash, revise and reimagine her description of an event that happened six years ago by adding completely untrue information each time she fails to get what she wants.’

Pitt has accused Jolie, pictured with him in 2015, of violating his contractual rights by selling her half of their business to a subsidiary of the drinks company Stoli Group

The fateful flight has been revisited in court as part of the couple’s protracted legal battle over their French winery, Chateau Miraval.

Pitt has accused Jolie of violating his contractual rights by selling her half of their business to a subsidiary of the drinks company Stoli Group.

Jolie’s lawyers claim that negotiations to sell her share of the winery to Pitt broke down over his demand that she sign a nondisclosure agreement. This, they say, ‘would have contractually prohibited her from speaking outside of court about Pitt’s physical and emotional abuse of her and their children’.

Jolie’s lawyers claim she ‘has gone to great lengths to try to shield their children from reliving the pain Pitt inflicted on the family that day’ but had been ‘compelled’ to ‘publicly defend herself on these issues for the first time’ after he tried to ‘reassert control over her financial life’.

It is in this context that Jolie’s lawyers have released the devastating new claims of domestic abuse. In doing so, they have added substantially to what was already known about the flight from an FBI investigators’ report that was released in heavily redacted form to the media.

After being alerted to the incident by a ‘third-party witness’, the FBI launched their investigation soon after it took place. Two months later, they concluded that Pitt should not be charged.

The report revealed that Jolie had given an account of the flight to two FBI investigators, including a photo of a bruise to her elbow and a ‘rug-burn type injury’ on her hand. She said that she had seen Pitt have two or three drinks, but claimed he appeared articulate and not intoxicated.

The FBI report described Jolie, 47, as ‘conflicted on whether or not to be supportive of charges’ being brought against her ex-husband. Pitt said in 2017 that he had stopped drinking after ‘boozing’ too much in the past.

Pitt’s friends have claimed that Jolie, pictured with him in 2015, has been attempting to drag out their court battles to stop him obtaining equal custody of their younger children

In 2020, Jolie told a magazine she divorced Pitt ‘for the wellbeing of my family… it was the right decision. I continue to focus on their healing.’

The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services also looked into the events following an anonymous tip-off, but took the matter no further.

As for Brad Pitt’s version of events on that flight, this has largely been confined to rebutting the claims of his ex-wife. Shortly after the episode, a source close to the star said he was taking the matter ‘very seriously and says he did not commit any abuse of his children’, adding: ‘It’s unfortunate that people involved are continuing to present him in the worst possible light.’

However, the same source conceded to People magazine that Pitt ‘was drunk, and there was a row between him and Angelina’.

The insider went on: ‘There was a parent-child argument which was not handled in the right way and escalated more than it should have.’

Pitt insisted that he did not hit son Maddox in the face but only made contact around his shoulder. ‘He is emphatic that it did not reach the level of physical abuse, that no one was physically harmed,’ said the source. ‘He put his hands on him, yes, because the confrontation was spiralling out of control.’

Pitt’s friends have claimed that Jolie has been attempting to drag out their court battles to stop him obtaining equal custody of their younger children.

In their latest court skirmish, Jolie says Pitt told her that they didn’t need a legal agreement over ownership of their French winery as such things weren’t necessary between ‘two reasonable people’.

After six years of vicious courtroom warfare, ‘reasonable’ isn’t the word that springs to mind.

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