Angelina Jolie has sued ex-husband Brad Pitt, detailing in public court filings for the first time abuse by him of her and their children that she says led to their divorce.
In a legal dispute over a winery they once owned together, Jolie details in a countersuit filed Tuesday an altercation in 2016 on a private plane during which she says Pitt “choked one of the children” and “struck another in the face” while verbally assaulting them. “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,” states the lament.
The suit claims that Pitt tried to strong-arm Jolie into signing 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.”
Lawyers and representatives for Pitt didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The accusations are the newest wrinkle in a legal fight instigated by Pitt for control of French winery Château Miraval, which he and Jolie bought in 2012. He accuses Jolie of reneging on an unwritten agreement that they would not sell their stakes in the business without the other’s consent.
Jolie says Pitt’s aggressive behavior started before the family got to the airport, with Pitt confronting one of their children. When asked by Jolie what was wrong, he “verbally attacked her” for being too deferential.
When one of the children defended Jolie, a physical altercation ensued.
“Pitt lunged at his own child and Jolie grabbed him from behind to stop him,” the complaint states. “To get Jolie off his back, Pitt threw himself backwards into the airplane’s seats injuring Jolie’s back and elbow. The children rushed in and all bravely tried to protect each other.”
At one point, Pitt poured beer on Jolie; at another, he poured beer and wine on the children, the complaint alleviates.
Once the flight landed, Pitt screamed at and pushed Jolie down when she told him that she and the children were going to a hotel, according to the complaint. “He also grabbed and shook Jolie by the head and shoulders, causing one of the children to beg, ‘Don’t hurt her,’” the complaint reads. “He let Jolie go, but then called her a ‘bitch,’ before adding, ‘Fuck you, fuck you all.’”
Jolie filed for divorce five days later.
The FBI launched an investigation over the incident but declined to press charges. A redacted report on the case leaked in August states that investigating the agent found there was probable cause to pursue a criminal case but that charges would not be filed due to “several factors,” according to The New York Times. It described Jolie as being “conflicted on whether or not to be supportive of charges.”
Jolie says she began to seek a more active role in the winery once she realized that most of her assets were tied up in Château Miraval after the divorce, but that Pitt essentially froze her out of the business. He allegedly cut her off from receiving information about its finances and reinvested all of its profits back into the winery and his own projects without her approval.
Resigned that Pitt would not share control of the winery and growing increasingly uncomfortable with her participation in an alcohol-related business given the impact of “Pitt’s acknowledged problem of alcohol abuse on their family,” Jolie decided to sell her share of the business.
The two sides allegedly reached a $54.5 million deal for Pitt to buy out her stake, but negotiations broke down when Jolie claimed in closed court proceedings in their child custody case that Pitt abused her and their children. He later returned with a demand that Jolie be “bound by a broad non-disparagement clause that would prohibit Jolie from discussing outside of court any of Pitt’s personal conduct toward her or the family.”
“Coming on top of the traumatic breakup of their family and the years spent trying to heal their family — during which time she never spoke publicly about the events that led to their separation — Jolie could not take any more abuse,” the complaint states. “In an effort to preserve her own mental health and well-being, Jolie decided to turn over the negotiations to her designated representatives and let them decide how best to finalize any sale.”
Jolie’s representatives sold her 50 percent interest in the winery to a subsidiary of Stoli Group, an international beverage company, for $67 million.
Jolie had been seeking information about the FBI’s decision not to press charges under the Freedom of Information Act. The US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, which covers Los Angeles, declined to comment.
In 2016, the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services cleared Pitt in an investigation over alleged child abuse.