As impossibly gorgeous, impossibly rich movie stars whose every move is followed by tabloids, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt may have more wattage than most other couples – but experts say their split is painfully familiar.
On Tuesday, the gossip site TMZ.com reported that Jolie had filed for divorce from Pitt on Monday, with the actress and humanitarian citing “irreconcilable differences.” Her lawyer, Robert Offer, confirmed the breakup later in the day.
According to TMZ, there is no “third person,” meaning an affair is not the reason for the divorce (although Page Six is reporting “a well-placed source” saying Jolie learned of an affair between Pitt and his Allied co-star Marion Cotillard). Instead, a source told the site that Jolie objects to Pitt’s parenting style and was “fed up” with his consumption of weed and “anger problem.”
Both of those allegations are only rumours at this point. What we do know, according to documents obtained by TMZ, is that Jolie is requesting physical custody of the couple’s six children, with visitation rights for Pitt.
Which sounds about right to Wendy Best, a partner at Dunphy Best Blocksom LLP in Calgary, who says disagreement over child-rearing is a main reason couples get divorced. “Issues and differences over parenting and money are the top two reasons,” she says.
When it comes to timing, Jolie also is right there with the plebes: September and the new year are peak seasons, says Deborah Moskovitch, a Toronto-based divorce coach.
“Nobody wants to ruin their summer,” she says. “But now that you’re back in your routine and you’ve really been questioning it and you can see ‘This ain’t working for me,’ that’s when the phone calls start.”
Best concurs. “Everyone hangs in there for the sake of the kids to have Christmas,” she says. “Our doors blow off our office in January with all the new clients.”
If the reasons and timing for the demise of the Jolie-Pitt fairytale are similar to so many others, there is also this statistic: 73 per cent of third marriages end in divorce, according to a study conducted by the U.S.-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Jolie, you may recall, was previously married to Jonny Lee Miller and then Billy Bob Thornton (This was only the second for Pitt, who split from Jennifer Aniston after becoming enamoured of Jolie on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith).
Jolie and Pitt have been married since 2014 and have been together as a couple since 2004. They have six children, who range in age between eight years old and 15 years old.
While the pair’s divorce may be similar those of mere mortals, it’s exceptional in at least one regard: as Moskovitch points out, most of us don’t find our divorces in the tabloids.
Every celebrity divorce is a PR battle as much as it is a legal dispute, which is why, regardless of whether or not Pitt has “anger issues,” as the TMZ source claims, it is in his best interest not to fight the accusation, Best says. If a judge asks Pitt to take an anger management course, he should – she thinks it’s the best way to proceed, superstar or not.
“I’ll encourage my clients, if they’re being accused of that, to take the course and say, ‘There, see how co-operative I am?’” Best says. “The less co-operative and the less reasonable you are, the more likely it is that your parenting will be questioned.”
In other words: celebrity divorces, they’re just like ours.Report Typo/Error