When Angelina Jolie first announced that she and Brad Pitt were over, I called it World War Brange because that’s what it was – the opposite of conscious uncoupling. (How smug-ass do you think Gwyneth Paltrow is right now?) After three months of bloody battle at the end of 2016, Brange agreed to a détente and, for the most part, until a couple of months ago, they kept to it. Then, earlier this summer, it somehow became public that a judge told Angelina to give Brad more access to the kids. And now we’ve come to this – starting last Saturday with TMZ reporting, on information from sources connected to Brad, that Angelina was increasingly “hostile” in divorce negotiations and that her lawyer Laura Wasser was quitting her which Angelina subsequently denied. On Tuesday Angelina filed court documents asking for the divorce to be granted ASAP, even if custody arrangements hadn’t been agreed on and demanding child support from Brad. In response, Brad’s sources went to TMZ and Page Six and called out Angelina for launching a smear campaign against him and Brad counter-filed yesterday, saying that he was the one who wanted to expedite the divorce first, and claimed that he’s met his child support requirements by giving Angelina $8 million to buy a new home and $1.3 million for other expenses. Angelina’s lawyer clapped back a few hours later, clarifying the financial breakdown:
The actress’ lawyer, Samantha Bley DeJean, said in a statement to PEOPLE Jolie’s court filing “was both legally appropriate and factually accurate in all respects.”
“What has been filed by Brad’s side today is a blatant attempt to obfuscate the truth and distract from the fact that he has not fully met his legal obligations to support the children,” Bley DeJean said in the statement.
Jolie indicated in a court filing Tuesday that Pitt has not been paying “meaningful” child support during their separation. The actor responded with his own court filing stating he had paid over $1.3 million to provide for the actress and their six children, as well as a loan of $8 million to help her purchase her current home.
“Following the incident of September 2016, Angelina and the children needed to move from the family home, which Brad chose to keep, including all of its contents,” she said.
Bley DeJean, who filed Jolie’s court papers on Tuesday in the Los Angeles Superior Court, claimed the actor was “asked to assist in the expense of a new home for Angelina” and their six children but “instead he loaned Angelina money, for which he is charging her interest on a payment plan.”
The Maleficent 2’s attorney said the actress will “honor that loan,” but said, “A loan is not, however, child support and to represent it as such is misleading and inaccurate.”
According to her attorney, Jolie “is asking Brad to pay 50% of the children’s expenses,” but that the actor “has not” paid his share.
“Angelina has had to shoulder the majority of those without his contribution for the past two years,” Bley DeJean said. “Child support is not optional in California.”
“Typically a father of means would pay these expenses voluntarily without the need for a request or court order. We are hopeful that this can be resolved without further delay or posturing,” she continued.
By the way, the statement above wasn’t just released to PEOPLE. US Weekly also has it so it looks like it was sent to several outlets. As of post time, Brad’s team hasn’t responded directly to Angelina’s team’s response although TMZ posted a story late last night about what a “struggle” it’s been for him to spend time with his kids. They have NOT posted anything, at the time of this writing, about the $8 million being a loan, with interest. Neither has Page Six. This is important because public opinion – which clearly is what they’re both after – depends on where the public is getting its information. TMZ is critical in that regard and it’s where so many of the World War Brange headlines are getting spun off from. The TMZ narrative has set the tone for how this has played out. TMZ’s standard tone, I’ve called it in the past, is the official gossip voice for the men’s rights movement. Gossip is a media game. And the people who play it at the highest level – both Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie – understand this better than most. Right now, Brad appears to be playing it better than Angelina who is very, very rarely outmatched. That’s partly because Brad’s been at it as long if not longer than she has, with as many if not more resources, but also because, well, gossip media is a reflection of our culture. And I don’t have to tell you which gender is advantaged in our culture.
That said, whatever the gender, what makes every celebrity nervous is money. No celebrity of Brad and Angelina’s stature likes talking about money. Look how Johnny Depp’s money matters affected his reputation. And we’ve now entered the money stage of World War Brange where specific figures are being disclosed and argued over. Angelina has put the money issue on the table, in public. If this is part of her strategy, I wonder if she thinks it’s because she’ll have something to gain from it. She has also, in the latest response to Brad’s team’s accusation, had her lawyer remind us of the “incident from September 2016”, which is when some sh-t went down on an airplane that precipitated their split. The exact details of that incident have so far not officially been made public, at least not in court documents. The pro-Brad side is arguing that no wrongdoing was found after an investigation and that he’s since admitted to having a drinking problem and has worked on getting better and that he’s being undermined by a ruthless c-nt who won’t forgive and forget. The pro-Angelina side is arguing that he still has to be supervised when he’s with his children and that Angelina is doing what she can to make sure her children have a healthy relationship with a healthy father, protecting them from any future unsafe conditions that may result from Brad’s habits. It’s as polarising as it ever was at the height of The Triangle, Brange vs Aniston, if not more, with both Brad and Angelina insisting that it’s the other who’s trying to manipulate the situation by going public. I mean, I think the case has been made that BOTH have gone public, non? Should they continue to play this out through the media, we might soon start getting financial statements and bank account leaks. Who do you think has more to lose if that happens?