Breaking Down the Brangelina Divorce: Allegations of Child Abuse, Substance Abuse, and More

Bye bye, Brangelina. (Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
Bye-bye, Brangelina. (Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

It’s been two days since the Brangelina divorce bomb was dropped, and what’s left in its wake is nothing short of confusing. Did Angelina Jolie really file for divorce from Brad Pitt because of a child abuse incident?

People reported on Thursday that Pitt, 52, allegedly got “verbally abusive” and “physical” with one of the couple’s children on a private plane last Wednesday. (Jolie, 41, and Pitt have six kids: Maddox, 15; Pax, 12; Zahara, 11; Shiloh; 10; and 8-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne.) TMZ also said Pitt was so wasted and “out of control” on the tarmac he even tried to take off in a fuel truck.

However, the Los Angeles Police Department has said Pitt is not being investigated for abuse, and the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services will not comment. People reports the FBI is involved in the situation, and sources told CNN that Pitt has been cooperating fully. The FBI office in L.A. released the following statement on Thursday night: “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.”

Meanwhile, a Pitt source also told E! News that Brad “did not commit any abuse of his children.”

Pitt and Jolie were joined by 5 of their 6 children at the L.A. premiere of "Maleficent": (L-R) Pax, Zahara, Knox, Shiloh, and Maddox. (Photo: Getty Images for Disney)
Pitt and Jolie were joined by five of their six children at the L.A. premiere of “Maleficent”: (L-R) Pax, Zahara, Knox, Shiloh, and Maddox. (Photo: Getty Images for Disney)

With so many reports flying around, it’s hard to keep everything straight. Here’s what we know about all of the latest developments:

The “incident”: Sources told Yahoo Celebrity on Wednesday that “an incident” occurred prompting Jolie to file for divorce, but wouldn’t elaborate further. “Although they had been having issues for a while, something serious happened that was the last straw,” an insider close to the family said. “Yes, they had been having problems, but it wasn’t a spontaneous decision on [Angie’s] part.” Today, the same source confirms the “incident” was what happened on the couple’s private plane, although exact details won’t be divulged … for now, that is.

Another insider told People that Pitt “was drunk, and there was an argument between him and Angelina,” noting that one of the couple’s older children “then got caught in the middle, literally. He stepped in front of Brad. There was a parent-child argument which was not handled in the right way and escalated more than it should have.”

The source insisted Pitt did not hurt his son. “He is emphatic that it did not reach the level of physical abuse, that no one was physically harmed. He did not hit his child in the face in any way. He did not do that; he is emphatic about that. He put his hands on him, yes, because the confrontation was nose to nose and was spiraling out of control.”

Any accusations beyond that are “a combination of exaggerations and lies,” the insider added, seemingly blaming sources in Jolie’s camp. “They have taken the overall smallest kernel of truth — that a fight in which Brad was somewhat inebriated got out of hand and reached a regrettable peak, and that as a result DCFS is looking into it — and they are manipulating it to best suit their attempts to gain custody.”

Brad Pitt has said he is "very saddened" by the split. (Photo: Marc Piasecki/WireImage)
Brad Pitt has said he is “very saddened” by the split. (Photo: Marc Piasecki/WireImage)

Substance abuse?: When TMZ broke the news of the Brangelina divorce, sources alleged that substance abuse and anger issues played a role in Jolie’s decision to leave Pitt. It was also reported that Pitt was “inebriated” during Wednesday’s plane “incident.”

“Over the past two years, his drinking seems to have increased,” another source — who is not Team Brad or Team Angie — told Yahoo Celebrity. “However, I never saw him do anything to endanger the children. It was more off-set, when he wasn’t with his family kind of drinking.”

Related: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Through the Years (Photos)

Pitt doesn’t have a reputation around Hollywood as being a big boozer — like some involved in other recent, high profile divorces — but he has openly talked about his love affair with weed. However, he also said he kicked that habit years ago.

Marion Cotillard and Brad Pitt star opposite one another in "Allied." (Photo: Paramount Pictures)
Marion Cotillard and Brad Pitt star opposite one another in “Allied.” (Photo: Paramount Pictures)

An affair?: Upon learning that Jolie had filed for divorce, everyone’s first reaction was there must have been another woman. If you’ll recall, Brad and Angie fell in love on the set of Mr. & Mrs. Smith … when Pitt was married to Jennifer Aniston. So was Pitt’s Allied co-star Marion Cotillard, 40, to blame for the Brangelina breakup? The actress took to Instagram on Wednesday to deny the rumors, and a separate source close to the situation maintains she “was not involved.”

Different lifestyles: While all fingers seem to be pointing at Pitt (thus far in the media, that is) for the root of his and Jolie’s marital problems, our family source says that is true … partially. But not in regards to the drunk, substance abuse narrative that seems to be taking over.

“The main cause of friction in their marriage the past year or so has been wanting different lifestyles, how they parent, and how and where they see their future together. She’s over Hollywood, and he’s not there yet,” explained the family source. This is in tune to what People and Us Weekly reported in the beginning as well, but seems to be getting lost in the shuffle right now.

Related: How Much Money Is at Stake in the Brangelina Divorce

In June, Us Weekly reported the couple was at odds over selling Chateau Miraval, and that Jolie was “ramping up her efforts in the political world” and “turning her back on Hollywood.” As Lainey Gossip pointed out, Us was the first reliable outlet to report Brangelina trouble, so its sources seem to be on it. Pitt’s substance abuse would have been a much juicier headline to go with.

If Jolie wants to get out of Hollywood, and naturally take her kids with her, it makes sense that she would want sole physical custody. And if the “substance abuse and anger” issues are true, that would obviously be the main reason she’s requesting custody. But if, say, she wanted to move to London to pursue political aspirations — she has been working closely with Arminka Helic, the British House of Lords member — sole physical custody would give her the power to move their children abroad with her. Halle Berry tried to go this route, albeit unsuccessfully, during her long custody battle with Gabriel Aubry in which she wanted to move to France with daughter Nahla and her then-fiancé Olivier Martinez.

“Angelina is putting out [the abuse] story to take the kids away from him,” a source alleged to Page Six. However, E! reports that Jolie “doesn’t intend for the custody situation to remain permanent,” and that “she believes it’s what’s necessary right now.”

Angelina Jolie knows what she's doing when it comes to her image . (Photo: Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Angelina Jolie knows what she’s doing when it comes to her image. (Photo: Stefan Rousseau/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The Angelina factor: Let’s not forget there is one person in control of this whole divorce narrative right now: Angelina Jolie. She’s the one who filed for divorce first (shocking Brad, mind you) and has put Team Pitt on the defensive since Tuesday.

Brad, the child abuser? Brad, the angry drunk? Brad, the pot smoker? In reality, only a handful of people know whether such serious allegations have any truth to them, but only one person’s parenting has come into question over the past two days.

Are we saying Angie is behind them? Of course not. But she has been in control of her own image and narrative since 2005, when she shifted the conversation from “The Other Woman, Angelina” to “Saint Angelina” in such a brilliant way. This is a woman who is skillful at the art of PR and knows how to navigate a media firestorm. If you don’t know what we mean, this Buzzfeed article breaks it down and is a must-read.

Neither Jolie nor Pitt has yet to release an official statement on the abuse allegations or last week’s alleged plane incident. Stay tuned…