September 21, 2016 Posted at 10:08 PM
As I reported yesterday, Angelina Jolie got the jump on Brad Pitt. She filed for divorce. Laura Wasser is repping her. And her side of the story about Brad Pitt’s alleged drinking and “anger issues” was posted on TMZ first, before noon ET, which meant that Brad had to scramble to figure out his next moves because he hasn’t had to take the lead on PR in a long time. When they were together, she handled that for both of them, brilliantly.
Angelina, famously, doesn’t have a publicist. Which is what makes her media game even more impressive. I experienced a small slice of that when I interviewed her for Maleficent. She personally reviews and approves her press requests. And because she takes that on herself, it means she understands how press works, how press has evolved. You can see evidence of that in how she delivered the divorce drop– not through the magazines, which is how she used to do it, but via TMZ, online, so that it would blow up, quickly, on social media. This is a master at work. Note how she skillfully accesses exactly the right outlets fit for exactly the right messages. When it’s health concerns, she gets two op-eds in The New York Times. When she’s sharing wedding news, it’s PEOPLE and HELLO! Magazines. When she wants to get out first that she’s leaving her husband, it’s TMZ. Who else can navigate that kind of media territory without a publicist?
Brad Pitt, like Angelina Jolie, does not have a publicist. For years he worked with Cindy Guagenti but around 2008 or so, he decided he didn’t need a personal publicist anymore, not when Angie was managing their brand so expertly. So…now what? Now that he’s no longer the beneficiary of her media savvy, it’s going to be very interesting watching Brad Pitt go about this on his own. Or whether or not he recruits help. And who he ends up recruiting.
Last night, Brad started revealing what his next play might be. And he’s going through TMZ too. Last night TMZ reported that Brad is “furious” at Angelina for taking this so public instead of doing it the way he wanted which was “low key”. Brad’s sources are saying that Angelina’s “scorched earth” approach is reckless, because she’s now put a “bounty” on the kids and jeopardised their safety since all paps are on high-alert looking for them. Their home in Hollywood has been surrounded by photographers since news broke yesterday. No doubt, this 100% came from Brad Pitt. He’s used that language before, referring to his family as a “bounty” for the tabloid press in several past interviews, including this one with NPR and this one in 2008 with Larry King. So, what he’s doing here is implying that he’s not the one who poses a danger to the children but that Angelina just put them in danger by inciting all this hysteria over their split. Ummm…I don’t know about this strategy. Because the way he’s making it sound, it’s like no one ever wanted to take pictures of his kids, like ever, when they’ve been having their picture taken for their entire lives…which is why he called it a “bounty” in the first place in all those old interviews!
This is not very smart. In fact, it’s straight up weak. Like, she leaks that you might have a bad temper and you come back with the paps want pics of me and my kids when they’ve always wanted pics of you and your kids…? THAT’s what you’re coming with? I’m not sure Brad Pitt can do this alone. I think Brad Pitt may want to rethink handling his own publicity. We’ll have a better picture of what that looks like when we find out who his divorce lawyer is.
September 21, 2016 Posted at 3:53 AM
So it’s been bad for a while, well before my post in June. Brange have always maintained a sexy kind of tension between them. It was a passionate relationship. They fought, they made up. All these years my sources have never worried that that was a problem, because it was just the nature of their connection. But in June, it was different. “It’s never been this bad” was how they described it and that a separation was a real possibility, although they were nowhere near that decision at the time. At the time, Brange were still getting through it and working it out. But over the last year or so she has become more resistant to their former lifestyle and the players in her circle have changed. Arminka Helic is now one of her closest advisors. Two separate sources tell me that while Brad always got on with Angelina’s other friends, he isn’t as tight with Angelina’s current team as he’s been with her other circles.
Angelina was in Syria last week. Multiple sources tell me that before Brad left for Croatia, some major drama went down (nothing to do with cheating). Angelina’s allegedly been frustrated about some of Brad’s habits. The rumours about the drinking are consistent with what I’m hearing. The way one source put it, she “wanted him to get his sh-t together”. They say that when he left, however, even though the issue was far from resolved, he went away thinking that no definitive decision had been made about their marriage because there was still a lot of love there. Every source I’ve talked to today maintains that she was still in love with him but that for her, she doesn’t think he’s in a place where he can be “positive around the family”. All sources tell me that he was blindsided by her decision to file. And that the decision to file was made very recently. Like inside 10 days. When I pressed on what the urgency was, most of the sources declined to specify, with one source saying only that it was “very delicate, a really sensitive thing” and another explaining vaguely that she “would only have done it this way if it was a priority”. My response to that was, “Yeah but it’s not like she’s being quiet about it”. And the answer I got to that observation was that “she has her reasons”. More coming either later today or tomorrow depending on when I hear back.
September 21, 2016 Posted at 11:48 PM
I was asked last night why I thought Brange was so once in a lifetime, beyond the obvious: their looks, their matched mega-fame as individuals, the scandal that marked the inception of their relationship, and the internet. Also their family. The children. The Brange children were introduced to the world at a time when motherhood was reintroduced as a publicity strategy, coinciding too with the rise of the mommy blog. So whenever they stepped out, all four of them at first, and then five with the arrival of Shiloh, and then eventually a total of eight when Pax, Vivienne, and Knox joined the family, no one could look away. They knew we couldn’t look away. They made sure we didn’t want to look away. Brange gave us performative parenting, performative parenting while they were together and, now, performative parenting even while they break apart.
Angelina’s statements about the divorce have all been focused on the kids, the “health” of her kids, and specifically her need to protect them. Brad’s first statement too was about the kids. And TMZ reports today that Brad will fight Angelina for joint custody of the kids, with sources saying that Brad is as fit of a parent as she is. Sources are also telling PEOPLE that Brad “will not likely accept sole custody, as "sole custody for either of them doesn't seem like what's best for the children. Brad thinks Angelina is a great mother," the insider says. "But he is also a great father. There is no way he is going to be absent for any part of his kids' lives."
So, basically, performative SINGLE parenting is now the new game.
That brings us to the “incident”. As I reported yesterday, when I asked my sources about why Angelina filed so suddenly and so publicly, they would only say that Angelina was still in love with Brad but that the urgency was the result of something “very delicate, a really sensitive thing”. US Weekly is calling it an “incident”:
“The final divorce decision was only made one week ago,” the insider tells Usof Jolie Pitt’s resolve to permanently part ways with Pitt, 52. “An incident took place and prompted [Angelina] to act and file.” While details of the incident remain unknown, the insider tells Us that it “affected the entire family.” Though she may have acted hastily, pulling the plug on her relationship with the eternal heartthrob was not an easy call to make for Jolie Pitt, 41. “She still says Brad is the love of her life, and the decision has weighed heavy on her heart,” the source adds. “Her priority now is the children.” The Oscar-winning actress and director is presently in New York, according to the insider.
The “incident” that’s “very delicate, a really sensitive thing” appears to be how Angelina is countering any criticism that by going out with this so sensationally she’s making it worse for her children. Like, it wouldn’t have to be that way if whatever happened didn’t happen. Also note that this is coming from US Weekly and US Weekly had it in June that there was “tension” between Brange over Miraval and other issues. Their sourcing on this has been so far ahead of almost everyone else. Not even TMZ was able to confirm that Angelina was in New York yesterday, away from LA and all the paps surrounding the house that Brad is so worried about. So she stayed ahead of it, as she does, and got the f-ck out of Hollywood before this landed. Again, then, how is he going to keep up?
Inside Angelina Jolie's heatbreaking decision: Divorce 'is not something you do impulsively' https://t.co/KgwkKr4QxD pic.twitter.com/u3WRogcgmE— People Magazine (@people) September 22, 2016
09/21/2016 AT 11:00 PM EDT
After 12 years and six kids together, Angelina Jolie files for divorce from Brad Pitt just after their two-year wedding anniversary. Subscribe now for the real story behind the split, only in PEOPLE.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt may have had the ultimate Hollywood romance from the outside, but behind closed doors, their marriage was slowly coming apart.
After months of mounting tensions between the two, Jolie, 41, told Pitt she wanted a divorce, an end to their two-year marriage and 12-year relationship.
"Things built and built over time – it wasn't any one thing," a source close to the actress tells PEOPLE in this week's cover story, on newsstands Friday. "She's loved this man for several years, and [divorce] is not something you do impulsively."
Meanwhile, a Pitt source tells PEOPLE: "There was clearly a breaking point, where she'd just had enough," says the Pitt source. "He may have been broken himself and said he couldn't go on, and she reacted. This has been difficult for a while."
In the cover story, sources detail how Jolie told Pitt she wanted a divorce, why he "begged" her to wait and how their relationship began to crumble after their 2014 wedding. They faced increasing differences over parenting styles (with Brad taking a "stricter approach versus Angelina’s "more relaxed attitude," according to another insider), the direction of their careers and more.
A Pitt source says Jolie told Pitt she was moving forward with the divorce just two days before she filed papers in an L.A. court on September 19 – and Pitt was "wrecked."
"He was appealing to her to do this quietly – not to save the marriage but to consider the well-being of the children – and it was ignored," says the Pitt source. But Jolie – who said in a statement the decision was "for the health of her family" – did "what she needed to do," says a source close to her.
Still, both sides say Pitt and Jolie still love each other and expect them to find a way to "move forward in a dignified way," as a Pitt source puts it. Says a Jolie source: "They have six kids together and are always going to be in each other's lives."
The Sun has a poor track record for accuracy but Lainey's sources also mentioned friction with Helic which makes the articles (below) at least noteworthy. Both Helic and Dalton have been constantly pictured with Angelina in recent months and it appears they were also with her brother and three of the kids the day before the split became public. But irritation with his wife's assistants would not have the same impact on their relationship as issues relating to substance abuse and anger management. It would also not be the first time he clashed with her staff. He fired her former bodyguard no long after the got together.
Brad Pitt 'brands Angelina Jolie's close female friends a “coven”' https://t.co/0FZfihnKed pic.twitter.com/QFhG9FCPYW— Daily Mail Celebrity (@DailyMailCeleb) September 22, 2016
So close are the women that Angelina watched as Lady Helic was admitted to the House of Lords in 2014. They often travel together; recent trips include a visit to the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands and one to Burma at election time last summer.
I understand the baroness’s place in Jolie’s inner circle is so central that she was with her this week at the moment the news of her divorce became public. Officially, her job is to head Angelina’s charity Jolie Pitt Dalton Helic, known as JPDH. It is named after Angelina, Lady Helic and the peer’s friend Chloe Dalton, who writes speeches for the organisation.