Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, at one point, were Hollywood’s favorite couple. When the news of their divorce hit, people were devastated. Now, the couple is embroiled in a nasty legal battle.
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Shutterstock Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are locked in a legal battle over Miraval, their estate in the south of France, which produces the namesake successful wines as well. The couple bought the property in 2008, just before the birth of their twins Knox and Vivienne. It also served as the site for their wedding in 2014, upon which Pitt gifted Jolie 10% of his stake in the property and wine-making ventures; making the two of them 50/50 owners.
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“Miraval was a love letter to his wife and his children, providing a beautiful life for Angelina and the kids and shielding them from the intense pressures of celebrity,” said Frank Pollaro, a furniture designer who helped Pitt with his initial interest in winemaking. Shutterstock Now as the couple’s relationship and subsequent legal battles have turned sour, so has the fight over Miraval. When the two of them were going into business together, Jolie’s business manager suggested a doomsday clause where if the couple were to split, the other buy the share in the property. The two of them rejected this clause, thinking the day would never come. According to a cross-complaint by Jolie, Pitt at the time had said it “wasn’t necessary for two reasonable people.” Pitt later claimed the couple had vowed to not sell their share in Miraval without the other’s consent, but Jolie denies this claim.
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On January 21, 2021, Angelina Jolie emailed Brad Pitt, an email which has since then made public. In the email, she mentions that she writes “with a heavy heart.” She informs Pitt of her decision to sell Miraval, “a business that is centered around alcohol.” This is perhaps a reference to the now infamous plane event where an intoxicated Pitt “choked” one of their children and then “struck another in the face” before he poured alcohol on her and the children. Shutterstock Jolie filed for divorce within days of the alleged event.
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Jolie further wrote in the email, “Even now impossible to write this without crying,” Jolie wrote. “Above all, it is the place we brought the twins home to, and where we were married over a plaque in my mother’s memory. A place…where I thought I would grow old…. But it is also the place that marks the beginning of the end of our family.” “Miraval for me died September 2016,” she wrote, continuing to refer to the date of Pitt’s alleged meltdown on the plane; the actress continued, “and everything I have seen in the years since has sadly confirmed that.” Shutterstock In February 2021, Pitt agreed to pay Jolie $54.5 million to buy her stake in Miraval. But the business deal was complicated by their ongoing divorce proceedings.
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Jolie had submitted sealed court documents alleging Pitt’s domestic abuse which included details of the plane incident. In return, for the sale of the property Pitt asked Jolie to sign an NDA which prohibited her from “discussing outside of court any of Pitt’s personal conduct toward her or the family.” Jolie called the request an “unconscionable gag order.” But Pitt framed his request as vital toward the sale as he wanted to “ensure the seller doesn’t damage the value of the asset after being paid for it.” On October 5, 2021, the actress sold Nouvel, the holding company which controlled her portion of shares for Miraval to Tenute del Mondo, the wine division of the Stoli group controlled by Russian billionaire Yuri Shefler, for $67 million. Shutterstock Pitt felt this was in retaliation to his success in the custody battle for their children. Judge John Ouderkirk had awarded Pitt joint custody of the children instead of what Jolie had requested; full custody for her with visitation rights for Pitt. “It is not a coincidence that she sold her interest in Miraval to an adversarial party, and part of the family home to a stranger, right after a judge granted Brad a huge win: 50-50 custody,” a source that is close to Pitt said. Ouderkirk was later removed from the case by a panel of three judges, and his ruling was vacated. In February 2022, Pitt filed a lawsuit against Jolie, her holding company, and the new owners of Miraval. He said Jolie had “contributed nothing to Miraval’s success.” Stoli filed a cross-complaint “for the illegal and malicious actions of Pitt and his allies to injure Nouvel by devaluing its investments and depriving it of its proper role in the management of Chateau Miraval, the world-famous producer of rosé wine.” Shutterstock On June 1, 2023, Pitt filed an amended complaint seeking to have Jolie’s sale of Nouvel reversed. This prompted Jolie’s representation to issue a statement saying that Pitt “has never publicly denied” Anne Kiley, who represents Pitt, replied, “Brad has owned everything he’s responsible for from day one, but he’s not going to own anything he didn’t do.” A source close to the family lamented, “I hope you’ll give some grace to somebody who had a breakdown.” Adding, “Everybody was shocked by the eruption on the plane, because Brad is not an abusive person. But even more devastating was what came afterwards: Brad being alienated from those he loves most—his children.”