After several quiet months, the Angelina Jolie-Brad Pitt divorce battle has roared back into the headlines, with both sides flinging mud and accusing each other of calculated efforts to manipulate public opinion.
Jolie has now poured cold water on Brad Pitt’s claims that he has dropped $9m on supporting her and their kids since their split, saying he has merely lent her money to buy a new home and is charging her interest on the loan.
The latest flareup kicked off after Jolie accused Pitt of failing to pay “meaningful child support” for their six children since their September 2016 split. Although the divorce case has been being heard in front of a private judge, friends of Pitt told Page Six that Jolie filed the papers Tuesday “in L.A. Superior Court knowing that it would go public and that he would be made out to be a deadbeat dad.”
Pitt hit back, with his camp furiously briefing that he had paid millions of dollars to Angelina. Legal papers soon followed. In documents obtained by Dailymail.com, Pitt said he loaned Jolie $8 million “to assist her in purchasing her current residence” and paid “over $1.3 million in bills for the benefit of [Jolie] and the minor children.”
Jolie’s claim that he had not shelled out cash was “a thinly veiled effort to manipulate media coverage,” the filing said.
Now comes a statement to Us Weekly, by Samantha Bley DeJean of the law offices of Bley & Bley.
The statement said that after Pitt kept the family home in Los Angeles (which he once shared with his first wife, Jennifer Aniston), “Brad was asked to assist in the expense of a new home for Angelina and the children, but instead he loaned Angelina money, for which he is charging her interest on a payment plan.”
That’s right, folks. “A payment plan.”
The statement concluded by saying, “A loan is not child support and to represent it as such is misleading and inaccurate. Angelina is asking Brad to pay 50 percent of the children’s expenses. He has not. Angelina has had to shoulder the majority of those without his contribution for the past two years. Child support is not optional in California.”
The fight over cash is interesting because effectively both sides are saying the same thing—that Pitt lent Jolie a huge chunk of money to buy a house—and another claim by Jolie that she is being forced to work filming Maleficent 2 in London just to keep bread on the table is unlikely to engender much sympathy among working families. She is said to have a fortune of $160 million, compared to Pitt’s $260 million, so no one really needs to do too much math.
The latest fight could be seen as a proxy war for a deeper and more dreadful battle over custody and access to the children.
TMZ reports that Pitt has spent much of the summer in England so he can see his six children, but sources tell TMZ that Brad and Angelina “never interact with each other, and the handoffs are always through nannies and assistants.”
The judge in the divorce case previously ordered Jolie not to talk down Pitt in front of the kids, and said Brad had a right to call and text the kids whenever he wanted, and Angelina could not monitor the contacts.
According to a court order obtained by CNN, Jolie is required to tell their children that “not having a relationship with their father is harmful to them,” that they are “safe with their father,” and that having a healthy relationship with both parents is “critical.”
Pitt and Jolie have three sons and three daughters, all of whom are under 16.
Jolie filed for divorce in September 2016, citing irreconcilable differences.
Authorities investigated a story of an altercation on their private jet between Pitt and their eldest child, Maddox, and cleared Pitt of any wrongdoing.
The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services found no evidence of physical abuse by the actor in the September incident. Interviews with family members, including the Jolie-Pitt children, did not corroborate the allegations, according to NBC News.
Angelina’s team has accused Brad, in numerous leaks and briefings, of being a bad dad, with anger, weed, and alcohol issues.
It has been reported that Jolie is requiring Pitt to be tested for drugs and alcohol four times a month.
Pitt gave an extensive interview to GQ in which he said he gave up drinking after the split.