Brangelina: How a Hollywood fantasy ended in weed and alcohol allegations

Brangelia: One of Hollywood's biggest divorce battle set to start

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are headed for what could be one of the biggest divorce battles in Hollywood history

Thursday, September 22, 2016

It was the news which sent shockwaves through Hollywood and the world on Monday. 

When Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from Brad Pitt, Twitter went into absolute meltdown. Ripples went through celebrity culture, with mixed reaction from millions of fans. As well as millions of memes, pictures and GIFs, there was also a sense of mourning as people got to grips with the fact that 'Brangelina' will soon be no more.

Some of the reaction was slightly over-the-top - one tweet even suggested 'love is dead' - but the frenzy of interest was easy to understand. Here are two very successful people - both actors, both directors and producers. They're talented and attractive - both have been ranked the 'sexiest man' and 'sexiest woman' alive. They're worth millions, with lucrative deals and investments around the world.

While both Pitt and Jolie have faded from the spotlight in recent years, they remain among the most photographed people in the world. They have a total of six children, three adopted and three biological, and photos always showed them as what seemed like a tight, loving family unit. Everything they touched was practically golden.

They were 'Brangelina', one of Hollywood's biggest power couples. But now, the focus has shifted from their talent and glamour to what their lives were like behind closed doors.

An uneasy beginning

They first met on the set of the 2005 smash hit Mr. and Mrs. Smith, where they portrayed spies on opposing sides under the cover of an average, suburban couple who married by chance. At the time, Pitt was married to television star Jennifer Aniston, who was and remains a megastar in her own right. Tabloids reported them growing closer, but they both denied a relationship at the time.

Pitt and Aniston later announced they were divorcing, and Pitt was soon spotted spending time with Jolie and her young son Maddox. In 2006, the couple announced they were expecting, and daughter Shiloh was born. A couple of years later, twins Knox and Vivienne were born, and the brood was complete. 

Critical and commercial success

Despite the relative controversy of the relationship's beginning, this made no professional dent on their careers. Both went from strength to strength, starring in one smash after another in films like Maleficent and 12 Years A Slave. Having always conducted humanitarian work, Jolie created a greater focus on it, notably working with Britain's former foreign secretary William Hague as part of a UN movement to end sexual violence in conflict, and also branched out into directing with her debut Unbroken.

She and Pitt became an A-list couple, regularly appearing on red carpets around the world. After 10 years together, they married in a private cermony at their estate on the Cote D'Azur in France.

A bitter end?

Now, in 2016, Jolie has filed to end their marriage on grounds of irreconcible differences. Her representatives released a statement saying this was 'for the health of the family'. She has put in a plea for full physical custody of all of the children, according to the court documents filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court. She is asking that Pitt be granted joint legal custody and visitation rights. 

Reports have stated Pitt is angry at Jolie for allegedly spinning stories which paint him as a risk to their kids because of 'anger issues and substance abuse' - Jolie is reported to have become fed up with his alleged comsumption of weed and alcohol. Pitt is reportedly furious the actress has 'unleashed hell' and made the entire family targets for the paparazzi.

The plot thickened earlier today when American website TMZ reported that Pitt was under investigation by the Los Angeles police department after allegedly being verbally and physically abusive to his children on board a private jet. The Los Angeles Police Department has now revealed it is not investigating Pitt for child abuse, but the claims will no doubt have created unwelcome publicity for the actor.

Pitt is thought to want to resolve the divorce amicably for the sake of the children. As for Jolie, she has reportedly taken up residence at a home in LA with her legal team. 

As the divorce proceeds under the unremitting glare of publicity, the world's media is poised to see what could be a potentially troubling insight into a world that might not have been so perfect as it looked on the outside.