Angelina Jolie has shared new details of the 2016 plane flight that led to the dissolution of her marriage to Brad Pitt, describing alleged abusive behavior.
In a cross-complaint as part of an ongoing legal battle over the French winery the A-list former couple once co-owned, the actor filed papers in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Lawyers for the 47-year-old allege that negotiations for Jolie to sell her share of Chateau Miraval to Pitt broke down over his demand that she sign “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”.
The filing, first reported by the New York Times, describes an extended physical and verbal outburst by Pitt in September 2016 as the couple and their six children flew from France to California. According to court papers, “Pitt choked one of the children and struck another in the face” and “grabbed Jolie by the head and shook her”. At one point “he poured beer on Jolie; at another, he poured beer and red wine on the children”. Jolie filed for divorce days after the trip, which was investigated by federal authorities, who have jurisdiction over flights. The FBI declined to bring criminal charges.
A representative for Pitt told the Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday that Jolie “continues to rehash, revise and reimagine her description of an event that happened 6 years ago by adding completely untrue information each time she fails to get what she wants. Her story is constantly evolving.”
A redacted FBI report on the case that was obtained by several news outlets this summer states that an agent provided the US attorney’s office with “copies of a probable cause statement related to this incident”.
“After reviewing the document, representative of the United States attorney’s office discussed the merits of this investigation with the case agent,” the report said. “It was agreed by all parties that criminal charges in this case would not be pursued due to several factors.”
The report also said Jolie was “conflicted on whether or not to be supportive of charges” related to Pitt’s conduct on the flight.
Puck News reported in August that Jolie had tried to obtain a copy of the FBI’s report as an anonymous plaintiff in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. It was unclear if the heavily redacted report included the allegations of choking or striking two of their children.
The court filing details Jolie’s account of the incident, which she says began when Pitt accused her of being “too deferential” to their children and yelled at her in the bathroom. “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,” the filing states. “Pitt then punched the ceiling of the plane numerous times, prompting Jolie to leave the bathroom.”
According to court papers, when one of their children came to Jolie’s defense, Pitt lunged at the child, leading Jolie to grab Pitt from behind. Pitt “choked one of the children and struck another in the face”.
Jolie had “gone to great lengths to try to shield their children from reliving the pain Pitt inflicted on the family that day”, wrote Jolie’s lawyers. “But when Pitt filed this lawsuit seeking to reassert control over Jolie’s financial life and compel her to rejoin her ex-husband as a frozen-out business partner, Pitt forced Jolie to publicly defend herself on these issues for the first time.”
Pitt sued Jolie in February, alleging that she violated his “contractual expectations” when she sold her stake in their winery to Tenute del Mondo, a subsidiary of the Stoli Group. According to his lawsuit, Jolie “pursued and then consummated the purported sale in secret, purposely keeping Pitt in the dark, and knowingly violating Pitt’s contractual rights”, which he claims included an understanding that neither would sell their share without the consent of the other.
In September, Jolie’s former company, now owned by the Stoli Group, countersued Pitt and disputed his claim that the sale constituted a “hostile takeover”.
Jolie’s separate countersuit claims there was no mutual understanding as described by Pitt, and that he had in fact rejected the idea for a plan in case the couple separated.
Both parties, who purchased Chateau Miraval in 2008 and married there in 2014, shared differing accounts of how negotiations for the sale fell through. Pitt says Jolie exited talks after a judge in their long-running custody dispute ruled against her, prompting her sale to the Stoli Group. Jolie claims that Pitt pulled out after she refused to agree to his non-disparagement clause.
The Guardian has reached out to Pitt’s legal representative for comment.