Friday, May 24, 2024

Angelina Jolie claims ex Brad Pitt had ‘history of physical abuse’ in new court filing

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Angelina Jolie is claiming in a new legal filing that ex Brad Pitt’s abuse “started well before” a highly publicized 2016 incident, in which the actor was allegedly violent toward his then-wife and children while aboard a private jet.

“While Pitt’s history of physical abuse of Jolie started well before the family’s September 2016 plane trip from France to Los Angeles, this flight marked the first time he turned his physical abuse on the children as well. Jolie then immediately left him,” reads a Thursday court filing by Jolie’s lawyers obtained by USA TODAY.

The motion to compel seeks communications from Pitt and his company Mondo Bongo related a nondisclosure agreement Jolie’s team says the “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” actor wanted her to sign as a condition of buying her shares. It was filed as part of the former power couple’s ongoing legal battle over Château Miraval, the French winery they once owned and where the former couple married in 2014.

Jolie’s attorney also accused Pitt of “unrelenting efforts to control and financially drain” her, as well as “attempting to hide his history of abuse, control, and coverup.”

“Mr. Pitt refused to purchase Ms. Jolie’s interest” in the winery “when she would not be silenced by his NDA,” Jolie’s lawyer, Paul Murphy, said in a statement to USA TODAY Thursday. “By refusing to buy her interest but then suing her, Mr. Pitt put directly at issue why that NDA was so important to him and what he hoped it would bury: his abuse of Ms. Jolie and their family.”

“After eight months of delays, this motion asks the Court to force Mr. Pitt to finally produce that evidence,” Murphy added.

Pitt’s representative did not respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.

The Los Angeles Times was first to report the news.

Angelina Jolie’s lawyers claim Brad Pitt feared evidence from custody battle would become public

The winery dispute stemmed from a lawsuit filed by Pitt’s attorneys in February 2022 alleging Jolie’s sale of her stake in the property to the Stoli Group was unlawful, and Jolie’s lawyers answered with a countersuit that claimed the two never had an understanding to only sell upon mutual agreement.

In the Thursday filing, Jolie’s lawyers said she went forward with selling the property after Pitt “‘stepped back’ from his agreement to buy Jolie’s interest in Miraval, and the deal collapsed.” Her team claims Pitt backed out after Jolie filed evidence under seal “detailing the evidence of Pitt’s domestic violence against Jolie and their children” in their ongoing custody battle.

“Jolie’s sealed filing, which included emails, summaries of the family’s expected testimony, and other evidence, caused Pitt to fear that the information could eventually become public,” according to the filing.

As a result, her team claims, “Pitt changed course and suddenly conditioned his purchase of Jolie’s share of Miraval on her agreeing to a greatly expanded NDA now covering Pitt’s personal misconduct, whether related to Miraval or not.”

What Angelina Jolie claims happened on the family’s 2016 flight from France

Pitt and Jolie’s dispute over the winery escalated in 2022 when Jolie opened up about abuse she said she and her children suffered at the hands of her ex-husband on a flight.

In her October 2022 filing, Jolie’s lawyers alleged 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,” during a flight from the couple’s Chateau Miraval winery in France to California.

The suit claimed Pitt started “deriding Jolie with insults” and, when one of the kids defended Jolie, the actor “lunged at his own child and Jolie grabbed him from behind to stop him.” Pitt then “threw himself backwards into the airplane’s seats injuring Jolie’s back and elbow,” the suit adds.

The suit continued, “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. Some of the children pleaded with Pitt to stop. They were all frightened. Many were crying.”

Jolie’s lawyers argued this alleged incident motivated the actress to sell her interest in the winery to Pitt.

Pitt’s lawyer said in a statement at the time that he would continue to respond in court to allegations from Jolie, saying the actor has taken responsibility for his actual actions but not aspects of her story that are not true.

“Brad has owned everything he’s responsible for from day one — unlike the other side — but he’s not going to own anything he didn’t do,” Pitt’s lawyer, Anne Kiley, said in a statement to the Associated Press. “He has been on the receiving end of every type of personal attack and misrepresentation.”

French winery legal battle: Brad Pitt accused of ‘looting’ winery assets, acting ‘like a petulant child’

Brad Pitt was not charged after alleged altercation on private jet

In September 2016, reports emerged of Pitt being under investigation by the FBI and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services for the in-flight altercation. In her divorce filing that month, Jolie listed the day after the alleged incident as the date of the couple’s separation.

Two months later, the FBI confirmed to USA TODAY that the agency had reviewed the allegations and dropped its investigation, and the actor was not charged. Earlier that month, Pitt was also cleared of child abuse allegations by the LA County Department of Children and Family Services.

Pitt and Jolie share six children – Maddox, Pax, Zahara, Shiloh and twins Vivienne and Knox – who were between 8 and 15 years old at the time of the alleged incident.

A Los Angeles judge declared Pitt and Jolie as divorced in 2019, but the two have since engaged in a protracted custody battle over their minor children.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, The National Domestic Violence Hotline (thehotline.orgallows you to speak confidentially with trained advocates online or by the phone, which they recommend for those who think their online activity is being monitored by their abuser (800-799-7233). They can help survivors develop a plan to achieve safety for themselves and their children.

Safe Horizon’s hotline (safehorizon.orgoffers crisis counseling, safety planning and assistance finding shelters (800-621-HOPE (4673). It also has a chat feature where you can reach out for help from a computer or phone confidentially. 

Contributing: Morgan Hines and Charles Trepany

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