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Angelina Jolie

Battling with Brad – and Weinstein

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt with their daughter Zahara and son Maddox in Mumbai, 2006. STR/AFP/Getty Images

“Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were Hollywood’s golden couple,” says Simon Hattenstone in The Guardian. Impossibly beautiful, Brangelina, as they were known, were Oscar winners who were charitable too, opening schools in war-torn countries and adopting three of their six children. When Jolie gave birth to twins, she flogged the pictures to magazines for $14m and gave the money away.

But behind the scenes, things weren’t so glossy. Jolie divorced Pitt in 2019, and they are locked in a nasty custody battle. She alleged domestic violence; he admitted having an alcohol problem, but denied any physical abuse. Jolie won’t comment on the case, but she still has some gripes – among them her claim that Harvey Weinstein, the former film producer, assaulted her. Despite knowing that his wife was a victim, she says, Pitt continued working with Weinstein for years. In 2009 he starred in a Weinstein Company film, and in 2012 approached Weinstein to produce a thriller he was making. Publicly, Jolie refused to attend any events for the film. Privately, she was devastated. “We fought about it. Of course it hurt.” Weinstein has denied her allegation.

These days Jolie has as good as quit acting, devoting herself instead to charity work, and has co-written a book on children’s rights. It’s a far cry from her wild-child years as a teenage star in LA, when she experimented with heroin, showed off her knife skills on talk shows and wore a vial of her boyfriend’s blood around her neck. I’m still the same person, she says, I just didn’t know how to focus my energy then. “I was rudderless. I was seeking freedom, truth, feeling.” She laughs: “Listen, I grew up in Hollywood. This town is disturbing.”