THEY were once Hollywood's golden couple – but Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's bitter break-up is about to get even more toxic.
It is almost five years since they filed for divorce and now Brad could destroy his acting career if Ange pursues a plan to provide evidence of domestic abuse in court.
In court documents revealed last night, the Maleficent actress’s legal team claimed that they have “proof and authority” to support her allegations against the Oscar winning actor.
The fact that her lawyers also entered documents relating to their six children suggests some of the kids could be dragged into a combative hearing.
If the judge overseeing the case was to find that Brad had in any way been abusive to either Angelina or any of their children, it would most likely result in the Fight Club star losing movie roles.
Such a dramatic escalation of in-fighting would be a shocking turn even for a rollercoaster relationship like that of Brangelina.
Divisive from the start
The very beginnings of their affair was a seismic event in Tinseltown.
Brad and Angelina fell for each other while filming the action comedy Mr and Mrs Smith in 2004, when he was still married to Jennifer Aniston.
His decision to dump the much loved Friends star for twice divorced Angelina proved to be divisive, with Team Jen and Team Angelina T-shirts going on sale.
But it wasn’t until December 2005, two months after his divorce from Jen that the couple finally admitted what the world knew – that they were dating.
Even from the early days this powerful partnership was clearly stormy.
In an interview with Rolling Stone in 2008 Brad said “Angie and I do not fight anymore” and that “if we have a flare-up, it evaporates now.”
By the summer of 2008 the couple had six children, Maddox, 19, Pax, 17, Zahara, 16, who are all adopted, and Shiloh, 14, Knox and Vivienne, 12 who are biological offspring.
To have and withhold
Despite struggles with co-parenting, due to conflicting work schedules, Brad and Angelina finally tied the knot in the summer of 2014.
The children took a central role in the intimate ceremony at a French chateau with Maddox giving Angelina away and Pax and Knox acting as ring bearers.
The kids also decorated the veil of the beaming mother’s white dress.
But the ceremony seemed to be papering over the cracks of an already fractious relationship.
In an interview about the movie By The Sea, which the couple made together during their honeymoon in Malta, Angelina said: “You can absolutely madly love the same person you want to kill.”
Two years later, in September 2016, it all fell apart when not only did Brad and Angelina announce they were going their separate ways, he was investigated for physically abusing Maddox on a private plane.
You can absolutely madly love the same person you want to kill
The story went that Maddox was hurt by his father while getting in the middle of a heated row the actor was having with Angelina over his boozing.
But the inquiry by the FBI and social services decided that Brad had not struck his son or been violent with family members in the past.
Brad did admit, though, that he had been "boozing too much" and he attended Alcoholics Anonymous for 18 months following their split.
There were also rumours that his attachment to cannabis smoking had upset his spouse.
I can't remember a day since I got out of college when I wasn't boozing or had a spliff, or something. I stopped everything when I started my family
The actor had admitted to using too much marijuana during the 1990s, but had said he’d quit.
It is the ugly allegations about Brad’s temper, though, that are rearing up again today, thanks to the documents issued to court by Angelina’s legal team.
They claim to be able to provide "testimony regarding domestic violence.”
The leak of these explosive documents to The Blast website in the United States has angered Brad’s supporters.
One person close to the case said: “This deliberate leak of this information is to no one’s benefit and is simply the continuation of an ongoing relentless effort to target and tarnish Brad.”
While the couple are legally divorced, they are yet to agree on custody.
According to insiders the actor wants to resolve the case without going to court.
Brad is said to be content to share custody of their children equally, but Angelina is believed to want the children who are not yet adults to live with her.
There were rumours that Angelina has considered moving to London with the kids – which would make joint custody impossible for Brad if he stays in Los Angeles.
The case was due to be heard in October, but was delayed when Angelina parted ways with yet another member of her legal team.
The Honorable John Ouderkirk, who oversaw Brad and Angelina’s wedding in France, is the judge they have hired to iron out their divorce.
Two years ago he ruled that "not having a relationship with their father is harmful".
The warring ex-couple hired a private judge in order to keep details of the custody battle out of the public domain, but this week’s leaks show that has failed.
Maddox, who is studying in South Korea, is old enough to decide whether he will testify in front of the judge.
Reports say he has stopped talking to his father, so he may side with his mum.
But both Brad and Angelina must grant permission to the court to involve Shiloh, Knox, and Vivienne, in their divorce proceedings.
Almost five years on from their famous romance came to an end both Angelina and Brad appear to be single.
There were rumours that Brad might get back together with his ex-wife Jennifer Aniston, but instead he started dating German model Nicole Poturalski, who is half his age.
They broke up in August and he has not been spotted out with a new girlfriend.
Angelina, meanwhile, is said to be focused on her children rather than starting anything serious with another man.
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