Brad Pitt is under investigation for child abuse over an altercation that occurred on a private jet, which inspired his wife, Angelina Jolie, to call it quits on their world-famous marriage. Us Weekly unpacks everything we know so far about the confusing, talked-about incident in the video above, and detailed below.
The entire Jolie-Pitt family was flying from Nice, France (near their Chateau Miraval estate), to Burbank, California, on Wednesday, September 14, and stopped to refuel at Minnesota’s International Falls Airport. TMZ first reported that during the long flight Pitt was “verbally abusive and physical” with the couple’s six children, Maddox, 15, Pax, 12, Zahara, 11, Shiloh, 10, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 8.
A Pitt source told Us Weekly that Jolie, 41, and Pitt, 52, got into an argument on the aircraft. “He got drunk and was fighting with Angie,” the insider said. “Maddox stepped in to defend Angie and got in Brad’s face.” However, a second source close to Pitt adds that “teenagers have fights with their parents, especially when you have teens who are strong-willed and confident. You’re going to have back and forth.” The second Pitt insider also claimed that “the abuse suggestions are inaccurate.”
Multiple insiders told Us that at least part of the heated exchange was caught on tape and alleged that Pitt can be seen on the video “looking drunk” and “yelling.” One source told Us of the footage, “Brad is seen yelling a lot during it, but nothing physical.”
An insider explained to Us that someone anonymously called the Department of Children and Family Services during the flight. When the family landed in Burbank, representatives were at the airport tarmac to take the complaint. After interviewing Jolie and Pitt, DCFS decided to let them go.
A DCFS Public Information Officer Neil Zanville later told Us in a statement that the agency cannot confirm or deny any involvement in the incident. “We’re prohibited by law from disclosing any case-specific information or even identifying any involvement with any client,” he said.
Since the episode occurred in the air on an international flight, the case was turned over to the FBI, the government agency confirmed to Us. “In response to your inquiry regarding allegations within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States; specifically, an aircraft carrying Mr. Brad Pitt and his children, the FBI is continuing to gather facts and will evaluate whether an investigation at the federal level will be pursued,” the FBI told Us in a statement.
According to the first Pitt source, the actor does not take the investigation lightly but insists that he didn’t do anything to harm the children. "The investigation is still ongoing, and [Brad] knows he is being investigated,” the insider told Us. "He does not believe he committed abuse.”
On Monday, September 19, a few days after the fight on the private jet, the Maleficent star filed for divorce from the Ocean's Eleven actor after 12 years together and two years of marriage. Jolie is seeking sole physical custody of the six children and is not asking for spousal support. The date of separation was listed as September 15, just one day after the fight.
In her official statement, the UN ambassador indicated that the split was for “the health of the family.” She is presently staying with all six children at a rental house in Los Angeles.
Pitt only found out about Jolie’s divorce decision one day before she filed the paperwork and was blindsided, according to a Jolie source. “She did try to make it work, but her kids come first, and she couldn’t let them see Mommy and Daddy like this,” a source told Us. “The fighting got worse, and they disagreed a lot about parenting and a lot of things.”