First some gossip nostalgia – I hesitate to say “nostalgia” because usually we associate nostalgia with a fond memory and while the gossip supernova formerly known as Brange is not talked about, now, with fondness, at the time, when this nostalgic moment happened, it was … well… fun. Brange was fun until it wasn’t, but we can’t revise history and delete the truth of what those feelings were AT THAT TIME just because it all went to sh-t. 


At the beginning, it certainly wasn’t sh-t. At the beginning Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie fell in love on the set of Mr & Mrs Smith and the nostalgia I’m referring to is from 2005, three months after Brad and Jennifer Aniston announced their breakup, he and Angelina were seen playing with her son Maddox, then a toddler, on the beach in Kenya.

Us Weekly cover

This was the official confirmation of what had been rumoured for months – that Brange was indeed real. As for the photos… we all know now that the paparazzi don’t just hang out on the beach on the regular hoping two major movie stars will just show up to hard launch their romance. It was a set up. And for years and years, and still, most people, especially the haters, attributed the setting up of the photos to Angelina. And she’s worn that label ever since: Angelina calls the paps on herself. 


That’s not untrue, but that’s not the entire truth. 

What’s missing from that statement is Brad’s role. But, you know, we do this is as a society, it’s our cultural norm to absolve men from the responsibility of participating in what we consider to be embarrassing, unsavoury behaviour. But the fact of the matter is, he was an equal participant in the presentation of their relationship. It was never driven just by her. He wasn’t some unwitting fool who went along with her games, he played just as many minutes in the game as she did, he was the co-architect of their image. 


So from nostalgia to present day, there are new photos of Brad, once again on the beach, this time in Santa Barbara, with his girlfriend Ines de Ramon. You can see them at PEOPLE and the Daily Mail also paid for the exclusives. They are walking with their arms around each other, their dogs are frolicking by their sides – it’s idyllic bliss, a couple in love, the soft launch of a relationship that’s been known for over a year and it’s not like they haven’t been papped before, but never like this. 

For the gossip savvy consumer, we know what this is, we know this wasn’t “accidental”. Despite the fact that the photos are not in high def, and taken long lens, it’s quite obvious that these weren’t the product of a pap stumbling upon a moment by the ocean. 

But that’s how PEOPLE and the Daily Mail, of course, are selling it to their readers, the MiniVan Majority, so as to maintain this illusion that Brad Pitt doesn’t engage in this kind of media manipulation. Oh, really? 


How can that be when the photographer is Miles Diggs? The name should sound familiar to you because Miles Diggs is the person who shot Rihanna’s first pregnancy reveal two years ago. Miles went on to shoot Riot’s reveal last year. Miles Diggs is not a standard paparazzo, he’s a celebrity-endorsed paparazzo. Which means there’s no f-cking way he just showed up there, unannounced, and started shooting. And, by the way, he’s taking credit for the images on social media: 


Miles Diggs is getting paid, he did the work, so he should be paid. No issues with Miles Diggs. To be clear, the rest of this isn’t about Miles Diggs. Miles Diggs was simply and presumably hired to do a job, let’s leave Miles Diggs out of the rest of this conversation. 


The rest of this conversation is about motivation. People who are very online will pick up how these pictures actually came together. But there are people online who will remain naïve to it. Who will not be able to follow the gossip crumbs and understand the situation. They will continue to presume that it’s Angelina who is constantly leaking stories to the press, bending the narrative through the media to suit her purposes. Which, sure, may have been the case when she and Brad were together, when they were doing the media gaming together, but since they split up, since she left him, he’s been doing much more media f-ckery than she has. And this is an excellent example of it. 


Well, one theory is that as their legal dispute continues to drag on, and it hasn’t totally been going in his favour, he needs to try and convince the court of public opinion that Angelina is fighting him in real court because she’s a bitter ex-wife who can’t stand the fact that he’s now with a younger version. In order to distract people from the actual merits of her legal position, he’s protecting his reputation with the public, with the audience, by undermining her reputation. This is DARVO in action, a tactic that sympathises the man and villainises the woman. This is my theory, it doesn’t have to be yours, but the main takeaway here is that Brad Pitt calls the paparazzi on himself. So, please, enough with the bullsh-t that he’s out here just the coolest dude living his life in linens of every color and not messing around with media shenanigans. As IF.