Angelina Jolie's Former Company Claims Brad Pitt 'Masterminded' Plan to 'Seize Control' of Winery

·4 min read

Angelina Jolie's former company is firing back with its own countersuit against her ex Brad Pitt over the wine business they previously co-owned together.

Jolie's former business Nouvel is seeking more than $250 million in damages, accusing Pitt of "waging a vindictive war against" Jolie ever since she filed for divorce back in 2016.

"These counterclaims lay bare the true nature of Pitt's egregious misconduct. To be clear, it is Pitt, and not Jolie, Nouvel or any of the other Defendants, who has acted in a hostile, destructive, and illegal manner. Pitt's behavior has caused serious harm to Nouvel," reads the documents, obtained by PEOPLE.

The attorneys claim Pitt, 58, "masterminded a so-far-successful plan to seize control of" Château Miraval, the South of France vineyard and home that, back in 2008, the pair, who share six kids, bought a controlling stake in. They allege Pitt has now "frozen Nouvel out of Château Miraval and treats it as his personal fiefdom" and has "wasted its assets, spending millions on vanity projects, including more than $1 million on swimming pool renovations and other funds restoring a recording studio."

The legal filing claims Jolie, 47, allegedly negotiated for months with Pitt's side to sell him her half of the winery — but he "made an eleventh-hour demand for onerous and irrelevant conditions, including a provision designed to prohibit Jolie from publicly speaking about the events that had led to the breakdown of their marriage." According to the filing, Jolie was unwilling to agree to the "hush clause" and instead sold her portion to Tenute del Mondo, a subsidiary of Stoli Group, in October 2021.

A source close to Pitt tells PEOPLE, "This is just the latest in a series of deliberate efforts to misdirect, recycle and reposition the truth of what has happened over the last six years, thinking that reasonable people would be duped by these obvious misrepresentations."

"It's hard to understand how leaving an inheritance of 40 percent of something is better than 100 percent of something, and it's equally inexplicable how continuing to revisit the same points over and over again is in any way beneficial to this family," the source adds.

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angelina jolie and brad pitt
angelina jolie and brad pitt

Amy Sussman/WireImage; Steve Granitz/WireImage

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In his own lawsuit in June, Pitt accused Jolie of damaging the reputation of the wine business by selling her half to a "stranger," saying she intentionally "sought to inflict harm on" him by selling her interests in the wine company. Pitt said they had agreed to never sell their respective interests in the family business without the other's consent.

His legal team wrote in the documents that Miraval became his "passion" project that grew "into a multimillion-dollar global business and one of the world's most highly regarded producers of rosé wine" through his work. The actor claimed Jolie contributed "nothing to Miraval's success."

"Jolie pursued and then consummated the purported sale in secret, purposely keeping Pitt in the dark, and knowingly violating Pitt's contractual rights," read the filing from Pitt's team at the time.

Brad Pitt (L) and actress Angelina Jolie attend the Oscars held at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California
Brad Pitt (L) and actress Angelina Jolie attend the Oscars held at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California

Ethan Miller/WireImage Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in March 2014

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Pitt's lawsuit claimed that Jolie's business Nouvel owed his company Mondo Bongo the right of first refusal, and the sale infringed on that right. Jolie was previously cleared to sell her share of the estate in September. He is seeking damages "in an amount to be proven at trial" plus the purported sale made by Jolie to be declared "null and void."

The new filing from Jolie's former company says, "Pitt is gaslighting, claiming that he is the victim in order to cover up the harm he intentionally caused to his ex-wife (excluding her from the business and holding the most significant part of her net worth hostage) and the business (asset stripping and foolish spending). But Pitt should look in the mirror because it is he, and not the Stoli Group, who carries baggage, some of it recent front page news, that is detrimental to Château Miraval's business."

Explaining why she wanted out of the winery, the documents add, "Jolie was already becoming increasingly uncomfortable participating in an alcohol business. In addition, given the events that led to her filing for divorce, neither she nor any of the children felt able to return to the chateau."

It also claimed that "over the years," Pitt — who has been open about sobriety and past alcoholism — "developed an addiction to alcohol, which resulted in increasingly destructive behavior towards Jolie and the rest of their family."