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Angelina Jolie accuses Brad Pitt of emotionally and physically abusing their children

In a countersuit, the actress said her ex-husband choked one of their kids and struck another in the face during a 2016 plane trip

Brad Pitt y Angelina Jolie
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie with two of their children, Maddox Jolie-Pitt and Pax Jolie-Pitt, in London in 2013.Dave M. Benett

With the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard scandal in the past, the public’s appetite is now focused on two other great Hollywood stars that used to be married. On Tuesday, Angelina Jolie filed a cross-complaint in a Los Angeles court that accuses her ex-husband, Brad Pitt, of emotionally and physically abusing their children. The filing describes an incident that took place in September 2016, while the couple were flying back to California with their six children on a private plane. “Pitt choked one of the children and struck another in the face” and “grabbed Jolie by the head and shook her,” according to the document, which also claims that the Fight Club star poured beer and wine on the children and his wife.

Jolie filed for divorce in 2016, days after these events are alleged to have transpired. The filing states that the incident began when Pitt accused Jolie of being “too deferential” to their children and yelled at her in the bathroom. “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,” the document states. “Pitt then punched the ceiling of the plane numerous times, prompting Jolie to leave the bathroom.” According to the court papers, when one of the couple’s six children came to Jolie’s defense, Pitt lunged at the child and seconds later, struck another in the face. Since announcing the end to their 12-year-relationship, Pitt and Jolie have been engaged in a long-running custody dispute over their six children: Maddox, Pax, Zahara, Shiloh, Knox and Vivienne, who are between 15 and 21 years of age.

Jolie’s cross-complaint filed on Tuesday is part of a separate legal battle over a French winery the couple used to own. The winery, Château Miraval, is located in Correns, in the heart of the French Riviera. The French Riviera has a long history with the entertainment world: Pink Floyd recorded some tracks for The Wall there, and AC/DC, Sting and Muse have also used it as a recording location. Brangelina – as the couple used to be known – purchased a controlling interest in the 1,000-acre estate in 2009, got married at the estate in 2014, and then bought it in 2011 for $60 million.

In October 2021, following the breakup, Jolie sold her stake in the winery for $164 million to Tenute del Mondo, a subsidiary of Stoli Group, a spirits maker owned by Russian oligarch Yuri Shefler. In 2022, Pitt filed a lawsuit against Jolie, arguing that she violated his “contractual rights” when she sold her stake without his consent.

In her countersuit, Jolie said she only sold her share of the company after talks broke down over his demand that she sign “a nondisclosure agreement that would have contractually prohibited her from speaking outside of court about Pitt’s physical and emotional abuse of her and their children.” Her filing claims that the FBI investigated the incident on the private plane, and concluded in a report that “the government had probable cause to charge Pitt with a federal crime for his conduct that day.” The FBI closed the case in November 2016.

The New York Times verified the existence of the report, which was brought before a federal prosecutor. “It was agreed by all parties that criminal charges in this case would not be pursued due to several factors,” says the redacted FBI document, which states that Jolie was conflicted about moving forward with charges, largely due to media attention it would attract.

The Château Miraval features 35 rooms, as well as a spa, gym, swimming pools, a private cinema and a heliport. In 2010, Pitt and Jolie had a 200-year-old olive tree transplanted into one of the most important parts of the garden, where Saint Thomas Aquinas is believed to have spent several days in 1252. A thousand years later, it is the cause of a bitter fight between two Hollywood idols.

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