Saving the world while remaining impossibly attractive can put a lot of stress on a couple. And so we learn that raising six kids while traveling the globe shooting films and winning Hollywood awards is not as glamorous as it seems in romantically staged Vanity Fair portraits.
After two years of marriage and 12 years together, Angelina Jolie has filed for divorce from Brad Pitt. Your aunt and Us Weekly are going to be very concerned about this. We’re mostly just bummed.
He was the high school quarterback, she was the prom queen. In this crazy end-of-summer rager we call celebrity-obsessed life, we just liked to sip our warm keg beer and gaze off at those PYTs, imagining them living a long, happy life together. A happy life with six kids and three Oscar wins? Sure. We’ll say we predicted that. But a happy life just the same.
But we all have to go off to college. The real world’s tough. Life comes at you fast. Divorce happens, even to the special envoy to the United Nations and New Orleans’s sandy-haired hero. And wouldn’t you know it, it’s that Jennifer Aniston who’s getting her happily ever after, after all.
Details of the divorce are sparse, and we likely won’t get more details until Jolie gives the classiest post-split interview there’s ever been to Vogue in about a year, casually dropping bombs of profundity about the maturity it took to realize they were growing apart and how divorcing was the best thing for the kids and isn’t that what’s most important anyway?
And Pitt, who will be on the Oscar campaign trail promoting his World War II drama Allied, will give a fleeting soundbyte to Access Hollywood while rushing through a red carpet. “Of course, we’ll always love each other, Nancy! This is what’s best right now.” We’ll all swoon and write 9 dozen thinkpieces about it.
For now, though, we know that it’s Jolie who filed the papers, citing irreconcilable differences. (Has she also had enough of that beard?) TMZ says she’s also asking for physical custody of the children, with Pitt being granted visitation. That she’s seeking only joint legal custody, not joint physical custody, is the juiciest part of this whole thing.
She lists the date of separation as September 16, which means these cool cats have been on the market for four whole days and no one told me to reactivate my Tinder account.
In the wake of this news there will be jokes about orphans around the world weeping gently to themselves. Reports are that Giuliana Rancic’s head has literally exploded off her body, her nervous system sent into such a tizzy in an attempt to the process the news.
Proclamations will be made that love is dead, as is always pronounced in the aftermath of celebrity divorce. This time it’s even deader than it was after Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, and I hear it was pretty dead that time.
Oh, and the rumors will fly. They will fly like a coven of witches on turbo-powered broomsticks attempting to attach any and all salaciousness for us to cling to during brunch gossip this Sunday.
In this corner, we have the witch brewing rumors of Pitt reuniting with ex Gwyneth Paltrow. (We normally wouldn’t reprint the tabloid nonsense, but this one is too hilarious not to share: the National Enquirer says that Pitt fell asleep during a make-out session with Jolie and when she tried to wake him said, “Gwyn, let me sleep a few more minutes.” Right.)
And in this corner, there’s the whispers that Jolie is jealous of Pitt’s chemistry with his Allied co-star Marion Cotillard, an insecurity harkening back to how their relationship began when Pitt was married to Aniston as they filmed Mr. and Mrs. Smith—all this according to an In Touch Weekly cover blaring a headline about a $400 million divorce.
That notorious, all-knowing “insider” we’ve come to rely on so much over the last 12 years of this relationship told OK! Magazine that, “For a while, the excitement of getting married masked their troubles, but lately they’ve been having explosive fights.”
More, Jolie “barely eats, she guzzles wine every night and she smokes constantly.” Basically Jolie in the throes of divorce is the most glamorous character in a Fellini film.
Should we excuse the alternately sexist, insensitive, baseless, and exhausting rumors that are going to circle like a cyclone of garbage in these next few weeks? No. However, we should expect them.
After all, it’s rare that there’s a Hollywood romance this regal, this attractive, this aspirational. Once in a generation, really, do we get a pairing of the world’s two most famous people, for us all to be jealous of and drool over and simply admire. Not since Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, really. And because Brad and Angelina weren’t just beautiful, but also good and charitable and damn talented, we fawned even more.
Our obsession, too, was fueled by the relationship’s beginnings. Before Brad and Angelina were the most famous couple in the world, Brad and Jen were. That their relationship is now so hallowed is actually quite remarkable considering its inauspicious origin story: Pitt cast as the cheating cad, Jolie the predatory femme fatale, and Aniston the jilted America’s Sweetheart.
Somehow the duo that was meant to be America’s most hated couple became the world’s most cherished one, with our heroine Aniston recast for eternity as the sad spinster.
In this ridiculous caricature narrative, we had thought that Aniston got her revenge happy ending when she married Justin Theroux. (Not too happy, of course. She still has no kids! We are all the worst.) Scanning the gifs of Aniston celebrating that are flooding our Twitter feed right now, though, and it would appear that this divorce is being ruled her true victory. Gross.
Truthfully, if there’s reason to mourn it’s that, however the relationship began, it birthed what was ultimately a beautiful relationship and, eventually, marriage.
In 2006, when Jolie traveled to Ethiopia to adopt her second child, Zahara, Pitt traveled with her and, though they were not married, announced his intention to adopt her children. She changed her surname legally to Jolie-Pitt and he adopted Zahara and her first adopted son, Maddox.
They had their first biological daughter later that year, but didn’t stop their Samaritan work, eventually adopting Pax from Vietnam before completing their brood with biological twins in 2008.
Beyond warming hearts as adoring parents and spotlighting the plight of orphans around the world, they were doting supporters of each other’s work. When Jolie underwent a preventive double mastectomy in 2013, Pitt was the partner we’d all hope for in such a situation.
So invested were we in their every move, milestone, and heartbreak, that when they finally got married in 2014, it felt like we were all family at the wedding. I wore grey pajamas pants and an old tank top. The ceremony was beautiful. (In People magazine photos.)
Interestingly, both Pitt and Jolie’s last on-screen appearance was in the film By the Sea, which Jolie write and directed and chronicled a married couple’s attempt to repair their toxic, resentful relationship while staying at a hotel in France.
In interviews Jolie maintained that the film was not autobiographical, but did candidly admit, “To be clear: we have fights and problems like any another couple. We have days when we drive each other absolutely mad and want space, but the problems in the movie aren’t our specific problems.”
The shoot, she told The Telegraph, was hard. But in the end, surviving it “was kind of a message to each other that we are going to stick together whatever comes.”
Excuse us while we cry a million tears. We’re all one giant sadface emoji today.