The custody battle between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie seems like it will never end. As these two fight over their kids, here’s a look at how these once-lovers ended up on opposite ends of a bitter, legal fight.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt split in September 2016, and four years later, an end might be in sight of their bitter legal battle over their children. Brad and Angie have gone back-and-forth over who gets to spend time with their kids – Maddox, Pax, Zahara, Shiloh, Knox, and Vivienne – and when, and it all came to a head in October 2020. Despite their best efforts to avoid a trial, Brad and Angie headed to court with a list of 20-plus witnesses, including Angie’s Girl, Interrupted co-star Jillian Armenante. Afterward, one of Angie’s lawyers removed herself from the case, and this might be a sign that this long legal war is at an end. But, how did these once star-struck lovers get to this point?
August 2016: Angelina Files For Divorce.
Brad and Angie’s custody battle began on Sept. 19, 2016, when Angelina filed for divorce. The split came less than a month after their two-year wedding anniversary, ending a relationship that began on the set of Mr. & Mrs. Smith in 2004.
September 2016: Angelina Gets Temporary Full Custody
Initially, Angelina requested full custody of their six children (Maddox, at the time, was still a minor), and she got it. In this temporary custody agreement, she got full custody, and Brad was granted visitation rights. However, these visits had to be done with a therapist present, and Brad could, at the time, be subject to a random drug test.
The Ad Astra star reportedly got into a “screaming match” with Maddox while the family was flying on a private plane. There were reports that Brad was “drunk” when he allegedly got into an argument with Angelina, prompting Maddox to defend his mother. Brad, in a 2019 interview with The New York Times, talked about how he got sober after the divorce and spent time in recovery with Alcoholics Anonymous.
November 2016: A Temp Agreement & Brad Gets Cleared Of Child Abuse
Two months after Angelina filed for divorce, the couple settled on a temporary custody agreement. The deal required both Angie and Brad to engage in group therapy with the kids and that Brad could only see his kids after getting approval from a court-appointed psychologist.
That month also saw Brad get cleared of any child abuse allegations stemming from the alleged “confrontation” with Maddox. The Department of Child and Family Services found that the children were safe, and Angie’s legal team issued a statement saying she was “relieved that after their 8-week involvement, the DCFS is now satisfied the safeguards are put in place that will allow the children to heal.”
January 2017: Documents Get Sealed
At the end of 2016, Brad requested to have all their divorce and custody documents sealed from the public. In his documents, Brad claimed that Angie was “determined to ignore” the “children’s best interest” by allowing these details to go public. Angie’s legal team fired back, saying that Brad was actually “terrified that the public will learn the truth.” Ultimately, both Brad and Angie reached an agreement to seal the documents.
June 2018: Angie Ordered To Repair The Kids’ Relationship With Brad
Things remained relatively quiet for over a year. However, tensions flared back up in June 2018. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County ruled that Angie was at risk of losing custody of her kids because she wasn’t doing enough to ensure they had a good relationship with their father. “It is critical that each of them have a healthy and strong relationship,” the court ruled, which resulted in a temporary “summer” custody agreement. Brad was given an increase in custody over the summer months, allowing him to text, call, and spend more time with the kids without Angie present.
August 2018: A Bitter Back-And-Forth Over Child Support
At the end of summer 2018, things heated up between Brad and Angie. First, she accused Brad of not paying “meaningful” child support for over a year and a half. Through his own legal documents, Brad responded by saying he loaned Angelina $8 million so she could buy a home and an additional $1.8 million to help with bills. Angie’s team then responded by saying, “A loan is not, however, child support, and to represent it as such is misleading and inaccurate.”
November 2018: A Custody Agreement Is Reached (For Now)
December 4, 2018. That was when Brad and Angie’s custody trial was supposed to start since the couple hadn’t worked out a custody agreement. However, right as the legal battle was supposed to start, the two hammered out a deal, sparring them – supposedly – a long, drawn-out public courtroom fight. In this new agreement, Brad got “less than 50% custody” but saw an increase in his “custodial time with the kids.” It wasn’t the 50/50 split that Brad wanted, but it was a good stopgap measure.
April 2020: Brad and Angie Are Legally Single
Nearly three years after splitting, a judge ruled that Angie and Brad were “legally single.” This legal status – called “bifurcation” – didn’t finalize the divorce or finalize the custody, but it was a step in the right direction.
August 2020: More Legal Drama
Despite reaching an agreement in November 2018, Angie and Brad were back at it again when the couple failed to reach an accord regarding the private judge they sought to adjudicate their divorce case. Angie requested that Judge John W. Ouderkirk be removed and replaced. She alleged the judge has a relationship with Brad’s attorney. However, attempts to get the judge replaced were denied.
October 2020: They Go To Court
Four years and countless clashes later, Brad and Angie ended up in court. He wanted 50/50 custody of their five children. The trial, which took place from Oct. 5 to 23, saw a list of 20+ witnesses take the stand, including former personal assistants, bodyguards, a security expert, medical professionals, a family friend, and the previously mentioned Girl, Interrupted co-star Jillian Armenante.