The legal drama surrounding Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s winery has taken an especially concerning turn. Amid Pitt’s ongoing lawsuit against Jolie for intentionally “[seeking] to inflict harm” by selling her stakes in their shared winery to a Russian “stranger” earlier this year, a cross-complaint filed by Jolie on Tuesday offers new details about Pitt’s allegedly abusive behavior toward her and their shared kids.
The details zero in on a now-infamous 2016 plane ride the family took from France to California. According to unsealed FBI records made public in August, Jolie said Pitt was intoxicated and got violent during an argument with her and one of their kids. On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that in Jolie’s latest court filing, she claims Pitt didn’t just verbally assault and shove Jolie—he also assaulted their kids:
“According to Ms. Jolie’s account of the 2016 flight in the court papers, the dispute began when Mr. Pitt accused Ms. Jolie of being ‘too deferential’ to their children and then began yelling 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.’
When one of the children came to Ms. Jolie’s defense, the court papers said, Mr. Pitt lunged at the child, prompting her to grab him from behind. Amid the altercation, Mr. Pitt ‘choked one of the children and struck another in the face,’ the suit said.”
In the aforementioned FBI report, Jolie alleged Pitt shoved her and spilled drinks on her, and also lunged at one of their kids. She told officials she felt like “a hostage” on the flight and claimed that when she suggested she take their children to a hotel to rest, Pitt replied: “You’re not taking my fucking kids.” But Jolie’s cross-complaint on Tuesday is the first time she’s publicly alleged that Pitt physically harmed their kids, who would have been between the ages of eight and 15 in 2016.
Shortly after the plane ride, Jolie filed for divorce, and the incident was investigated by the FBI. Last October, Jolie sold her stakes in Chateau Miravel, the former couple’s winery, to the Russian “stranger.” And in September, court filings from Nouvel, the company Jolie founded to manage her stakes in the winery, claimed she made this decision only after Pitt derailed negotiations by demanding that Jolie sign an NDA about their marriage, as one of his conditions for buying her stakes. (Nouvel also alleged that Pitt blocked Jolie from managing the winery for years and severely mishandled its funds, squandering the tens of millions she’d invested in it.)
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Jolie’s latest court filings allege that Pitt demanded the NDA around the same time that an FBI agent, who’d been investigating the plane incident, told her he’d “concluded that the government had probable cause to charge Pitt with a federal crime for his conduct that day.” However, as the previously sealed FBI report stated in its conclusion: “It was agreed by all parties that criminal charges in this case would not be pursued due to several factors.”
Notably, the FBI report had said Jolie was “conflicted on whether or not to be supportive of charges” related to the case. In Tuesday’s court filings, her lawyers suggested she was hesitant in order to protect their kids: “[Jolie] has gone to great lengths to try to shield their children from reliving the pain Pitt inflicted on the family that day,” they wrote. According to her legal team, Jolie is addressing what happened on that plane because of Pitt’s legal maneuvering regarding Miravel: “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.”
Despite being tight-lipped about what led to their 2016 separation, even prior to the FBI records going public, Jolie previously alluded to experiencing domestic violence while advocating for the Violence Against Women Act. She hinted that Pitt had mistreated her in a 2021 interview with the Guardian. Meanwhile, Pitt’s camp seemed to contest the claims put forth by Jolie in the FBI report: In August, a “source” close to Pitt dismissed news about the FBI records by claiming Jolie and “her team” are “desperately trying to find something,” and “this is all for show.” Pitt, who’s recently been romantically linked with the vocally feminist model Emily Ratajkowski, has yet to comment publicly on the cross-complaint filed by Jolie on Tuesday.