A lawsuit filed Tuesday by Angelina Jolie alleges that on a 2016 flight, Brad Pitt grabbed her by the head and shook her, then choked one of their children and punched another when they tried to protect her.
The accounts of the abuse on the private flight came in a cross-complaint filed by Jolie in the couple’s dispute over the French home and winery they co-own, separate from their ongoing divorce, which she sought soon after.
A representative for Pitt, who was not authorized to speak publicly, vehemently denied Jolie’s claims, calling them “another restatement that will only hurt the family.”
Allegations of abuse on the plane first became public shortly after the flight, but the reports were initially vague and the details sealed in divorce documents and investigations by the FBI and Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, both of which found no. Action needed to be taken against Pitt.
A judge awarded Pitt 50-50 custody of the children after a closed-door trial in which the allegations aired. But an appeals court then disqualified the private judge for failing to disclose potential conflicts of interest at Jolie’s motion, overturning the decision.
The countersuit says Pitt stormed out
Details of the allegations were made public earlier this year when Jolie’s lawsuit against the FBI was disclosed in connection with a Freedom of Information Act request.
The New York Times was the first to report the lawsuit.
The filing states that on September 14, 2016, Jolie, Pitt and their six children traveled from Chateau Miraval Winery to Los Angeles.
Jolie attends the premiere of ‘The Breadwinner’ with her children Shiloh Jolie-Pitt (left), Zahara Jolie-Pitt (second right) and Canadian actress Saara Chaudry (right) at TCL Chinese 6 Theaters on October 20, 2017 in Hollywood. in California. The lawsuit alleges that Pitt poured beer on Jolie and poured beer and red wine on their children during a 2016 flight. (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
“Pitt’s aggressive behavior began even before the family arrived at the airport when Pitt had a confrontation with one of the children. After the flight took off, Jolie approached Pitt and asked what was wrong,” the statement reads. “Pitt accused her of being too respectful of children and verbally assaulted her.”
Later, it says, “He pulled her into the bathroom and started yelling at her. Pitt grabbed Jolie by the head and shook her, then grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her again before pushing her against the bathroom wall.”
One of the children, who was between the ages of eight and 15 at the time, verbally defended Jolie, the countersuit says, and Pitt stormed out.
“Pitt lunged at his child and Jolie grabbed him from behind to stop him. To get off Jolie’s back, Pitt threw himself backwards onto the seats of the plane, injuring Jolie’s back and elbow,” the statement reads. “The children rushed in and all tried valiantly to protect each other. Before it was over, Pitt choked one child and punched another in the face.”
The document says he then poured beer on Jolie and poured beer and red wine on the children.
Jolie reported the flight to two FBI investigators in the following days. This appeared in a heavily redacted report later released by the agency.
It included a photo of a bruise on Jolie’s elbow and a “carpet burn type injury” on her hand. In it, she said she had seen Pitt have two to three drinks, but said he appeared to be talkative and not intoxicated.
The FBI is not pursuing the case
Pitt and Jolie arrive at the 84th Academy Awards on February 26, 2012 in Hollywood, California. They were among Hollywood’s most prominent couples for 12 years. (Amy Sancetta/Associated Press)
Investigators met with federal prosecutors and “All parties agreed that criminal charges will not be filed in this case due to several factors,” the report said.
The FBI said in a statement that it had “reviewed the circumstances and is not pursuing any further investigation.”
The 47-year-old Oscar-winning actress and director Jolie and the 58-year-old Oscar-winning actor Pitt were among Hollywood’s most prominent couples for 12 years.
They had been romantic partners for about ten years when they married in 2014. Jolie filed for divorce in 2016 and a judge declared them unmarried in 2019, but the divorce case is far from over as custody and financial issues remain in dispute.