Long ago, when many of you readers were merely children, in the magnificent lands of Hollywood, California, there lived a happy couple: their names were Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt. The two were immensely happy together and took pride in being the “hot couple” taking Hollywood by storm. However, destiny had another route for this couple: Brad Pitt was cast alongside Angelina Jolie in Mr. & Mrs. Smith, a dramatic comedy about a married couple set to assassinate each other. The movie was a hit and seemed so real to fans! Little did they know the chemistry between Angelina and Brad was all too real. Jennifer and Brad’s marriage dissolved in a heartbreaking split, and Angelina and Brad were free to spend their years in love with each other.
Then the fairy tale ended and the harsh realities of real life resumed. Brad and Angelina started dating back in 2004, got married in 2014, and have had six children together (both biologically and through adoption). Now, in September of 2016, the two are filing for divorce. What happened? Why is this iconic Hollywood couple, which has taken both the film industry and the international media attention by storm, splitting after so much time and love has been shared?
There’s a lot that goes on behind closed doors. There’s so much we all didn’t know. It’s time to get some of the facts straight, beyond what the paparazzi would have us believe. Here are fifteen things we all needed to know about Brangelina’s marriage (while it lasted).
15. Rumors Are… The Whole Marriage Was A Publicity Stunt
Some readers worship the celebrity icon couple as if “BRANGELINA” were a match made by the Gods that could not be torn asunder by the mightiest of foes. To them we say: first of all, you’re ridiculous and don’t understand how relationships work; secondly, it might never have been love in the first place, but good business. Ian Halperin, the biographer of many celebrities, released a book in 2009 about Brangelina after getting very close to the couple. Many friends and people he interviewed led him to believe that their relationship was a sham from the start, a meaningless publicity stunt that would rocket the two to the tops of their careers. He may not have been wrong. The couple status did boost both of their reputations and launch their careers to a more serious level, after all. It would be a shame if their fourteen year relationship was all a show but, hey, they both got the fame and attention they wanted.
14. They Rarely Spent Quality Time Together
Sure, Brangelina was one of the greatest power couples of the last couple decades, but they weren’t a power couple because they were constantly portraying “relationship goals” for their adoring fans. Brangelina was a worshiped celebrity couple because both Angelina and Brad never settled into their relationships. Angelina still traversed the world, her interests expanding from acting to directing and producing, not to mention her ever-expanding work with the United Nations, in child immigration, human rights, and women’s rights; Brad still branched into more serious and experimental films and took an interest in acquiring property. With all that time devoted to their careers and personal interests and so much of their extra time designated for the always-present responsibilities of parenting, this couple didn’t have a whole lot of time to devote to each other. Every successful relationship has time carved out to work on their relationship; it oughtn’t be a surprise that Brad and Angelina couldn’t make it work.
13. They Took Forever to Marry Because Of A Stance They Didn’t Stand By
Brad and Angelina started dating way back in 2004. They moved in together, purchased property together, had children together, and adopted children together… but they didn’t actually join each other in the union of marriage until 2014. Why not? It’s not necessarily because either of them didn’t enjoy being married. In fact, both had already been married before (Brad to Jennifer Aniston and Angelina to both Jonny Lee Miller and Billy Bob Thornton). In fact, their kids were incredibly anxious for them to officially tie the knot. So what took them so long? The couple made a public promise that they wouldn’t get married until everyone in the United States could legally marry whoever they wanted, a promise made in support of LGBT rights. It was entirely supportive and a strong stance, until they backed out of their promise and got married at their French chateau. They apologized for relenting, citing the wishes of their children as their reason for finally tying the knot.
12. They Never Split Before
As far as Hollywood relationships go, Angelina and Brad have done pretty darn well for a long time. Brad’s last marriage only lasted five years and his marriage ended due to alleged infidelity; Angelina’s previous marriages lasted a mere four and three years (with Jonny and Billy, respectively). As far as celebrity relationships are concerned, Brad and Angelina’s twelve-year relationship had a better shot than most. Furthermore, contrary to some paparazzi myths, the two never faltered in their relationship before. A few years ago, back in 2012, the very popular United Kingdom newspaper “News of the World” released a statement saying Brangelina was no more: the two had broken up. Of course, the news was all manufactured and the couple was fine. The two actually sued the newspaper and won the resulting lawsuit. They believed themselves to be stronger than ever and wanted to make sure the world didn’t question that.
11. They’ve Only Really Been Married for 2 Years
Like we’ve mentioned before, it’s not like this was some long standing relationship that was torn asunder by the typical challenges of marriage and parenting. Quite the contrary: this is a Hollywood relationship, which already indicates that most of their public date nights are intruded upon and that very little can be kept private. It’s also not like they’ve built an empire together over the course of a long and thriving marriage; Angelina had already adopted two off their children before Brad was ever in the picture and, even after he officially adopted all of her kids and fathered some with her, they didn’t actually truly intertwine their lives together until 2014. At their private family chateau in France, the family gathered with their children and closest friends and relatives in a private, nondenominational ceremony to wed. Two years later, the divorce papers are filed. While the relationship was certainly a longer one, this isn’t the domestic tragedy many make it out to be.
10. The Relationship Was Born Through Alleged Infidelity
A lot of people believe that you can tell a lot about a relationship from how it starts. For example, if the couple meets in a serendipitous run-in akin to the belief of “love at first sight,” the relationship may continue to demonstrate lasting patterns of impulsive romantic gestures and may have a generally saccharine tone. If it’s true that the start of a relationship can determine the course of it, we all ought to have expected that Brad and Angelina’s marriage would not only end early, but would have ugly causes and consequences. Brad and Angelina got together when they were filming Mr. & Mrs. Smith, when Brad Pitt was still married to Jennifer Aniston. Though details have always been a bit muddled about when a physical relationship began between Brad and Angelina, he has openly admitted to falling in love with Angelina on set. Their relationship was born of cheating and lying; can we really be surprised when such shady circumstances surround their divorce?
9. Brad’s Being Investigated for An Incident With Son Maddox
Angelina went to many pains to adopt her first son from Battambang, Cambodia after visiting the country a few times while filming Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Though she announced the adoption when married to Billy Bob Thornton, Angelina adopted him alone and maintained total custody after the divorce. Five kids later, Maddox is one of Angelina and Brad’s many children (Brad legally adopted Maddox and Pax, who were adopted legally by only Angelina). He’s fifteen years old now and the model of a celebrity teenager: rebellious and argumentative, but well mannered in front of cameras. However, things may not be as simple as they appear. Angelina filed for divorce merely days after Brad accrued unwanted attention in a heated argument with Maddox that may have turned abusive on their private plane. Though no one will comment on the matter, the FBI has been engaged in an investigation concerning the safety of the children. While friends vehemently defend Pitt and his wonderful parenting, we have to wonder… did Brad do something horrendous to warrant losing his family?
8. Their Divorce Was Foreshadowed by Their 2014 Movie, By The Sea
It’s kind of ironic that, in the same year this couple finally decided to tie the knot and settle down together, they created a film together depicting the fall of a long lasting marriage. By The Sea, which was actually released in 2015, was about a couple enduring the trials of marriage and daily life that travels to France as a last ditch chance at repairing their crumbling marriage. The movie, which was written and directed by Angelina Jolie, involved a lot of violent outbursts against each other, attempts to hide their anguish and discontent, jealous paranoia, and long periods of melancholia. As fans of the couple and of the amazing masterpiece depicting the trials and torments of divorce, we have to wonder; were they projecting their feelings about their own marriage onto a creative project? Or was it all Angelina’s truth screaming out for an ending to the marriage, and Brad was a little too dull to pick up on the meaning of the movie?
7. Angelina Wants Full Custody of the Kids
Angelina has obviously always loved kids. She adopted Maddox before even meeting Brad Pitt, and adopted Zahara technically independent from Brad. Since then, she went on to adopt Pax and give birth to Shiloh, Knox, and Vivienne. She adores her children and insists on taking them with her on most of her humanitarian and career related trips. Of course, Brad also is reputed to be a very caring and doting father, but certainly not to the extent Angelina is. When Angelina filed for divorce in September of 2016, she submitted a formal request for full custody of their six children, all of whom Brad Pitt is also a legal guardian of. We have to wonder if this is because there is some level of truth to the speculation that Brad Pitt was abusive towards Maddox but, of course, neither party has commented on the request beyond wanting to care for the well-being of their children.
6. Angelina Adopted Zahara and Maddox Without Pitt
Angelina just might win full custody of their six children. After all, Angelina didn’t even know Brad when she made the decision to adopt Cambodian Maddox Chivan. When she adopted Zahara Marley from Ethiopia, she did so legally and entirely separate from Brad Pitt to cover her bases in case things with Pitt didn’t last. Sure, she did have three biological children with Pitt and proceeded to adopt one more child with him (Pax Thien from Vietnam; though she legally adopted him independently as well, for legal purposes), but the initial wariness to keep her kids away from her relationship with Pitt is quite telling about how she felt about the earlier stages of their relationship. It’s certainly very important to note that the well-being and legal status of all of her children (from those not born in the United States to those born to other parents) has always been a major priority for Jolie, and more of an afterthought for Pitt.
5. Angelina Filed For The Divorce
We’ve mentioned it already but perhaps you don’t understand the significance of it. If a couple is mutually unhappy and recognizes that their marriage is not working, they can file jointly for a divorce. However, that’s not what happened for the Jolie-Pitt’s. On September 15, 2016, Jolie submitted court papers asking for full custody of the children in a divorce that Pitt seems to not want. Her lawyer, Robert Offer, insisted she wouldn’t be releasing a statement about the divorce yet, but he did state that the decision was made “for health of the family” (whatever that means). It’s very interesting that Jolie would choose to file for the divorce at this time, only two years after the couple married at their private French chateau and without talking with some of their closest friends about the decision in advance; the couple’s best friend George Clooney found out about the news while at a humanitarian summit!
4. Brad Doesn’t Want To Split
Though Angelina isn’t releasing any statements post filing for divorce and has locked herself away in seclusion with her children, Brad has come forward to share his feelings about the split. He told press sources that he is “very saddened by this, but what matters most now is the well-being of our kids.” He then politely and formally requested that press and media sources leave his family alone to grieve and process the decision to split up the family (which, of course, all media sources have flagrantly ignored). It would seem that, no matter what circumstances inspired Angelina to file for divorce independently of Brad, he is adamantly against this decision. While some of the rumors about the causes for the divorce implicate Brad as a cause (and a significant one, at that), it seems he may feel a deal of regret and remorse for the consequences of his potential actions.
3. Brad And Angelina Have TOTALLY Different Parenting Styles
As celebrities, Angelina and Brad do get the luxury of being “part-time parents;” they can afford the best nannies and childcare that money can buy. But just because parents can take more time away from their kids doesn’t mean they should! With six kids, parenting is a very important part of Angelina and Brad’s lives… or, at least, it should be. Angelina, when she is not in front of a camera (and sometimes when she is) or on a humanitarian mission (and sometimes when she is), will always be found with her kids. Brad, however, usually is only with his kids if Angelina is also. Brad seems to have a bit of a hands-off, Ferber method to parenting, while Angelina likes to be immersed in the lives of all of her children. Those approaches are very different, and may not have worked together well as they raised their kids.
2. Brad May Have Cheated
Rumor has it that a romantic relationship may have bloomed with Marion Cotillard as they worked side by side on the set of Allied, a movie slated to hit theaters in November of 2016 about spies that fall in love despite playing for opposite sides. Sound familiar? That’s because it’s essentially a historic and dramatic version of the plot for Mr. & Mrs. Smith, the movie that led to Brad’s infidelities with Angelina Jolie! Would it truly be a surprise if Brad adhered to his typical behavior and let his character work get the best of him? Marion, of course, denies the rumors since she has a long term partner herself who has fathered one of her children. “Many years ago, I met the love of my life,” she released, speaking of partner Guillaume Canet. “He is my love, the only one that I need.”
1. They’re Putting the Kids First
Through all the torture, chaos, and insanity that can accompany a divorce, especially a contested divorce like the one Brad and Angelina seem to be staring down the barrel of, the couple is keeping the most important thing at the front of their minds: their children. While Brad has not been able to see his children since Angelina filed for the divorce (about a week, upon the publication of this article), he’s asked media and press to give them privacy to process the change; Angelina has stayed out of the public eye to care for the children during this tough time. Divorce can ravage a family, sometimes permanently, but it seems that this couple is doing everything in their power to ensure that the children are coping well with the transition and have every resource they need to process the early stages of this mess. For that, we applaud the final actions of Brangelina.