For Angelina Jolie Pitt and Brad Pitt, it started with tequila and dancing in the rain in Bogota and ended on the French seaside with white wine, pills and tears.
Hollywood’s most storied modern couple only twice appeared together in the movies. The first time, in 2005’s Mr & Mrs Smith, they fell in love. A decade later, By the Sea would arrive just a year before their relationship would come to an end, with Jolie Pitt filing for divorce. Both times they played a childless husband and wife whose passion had turned to resentment.
Their real life together was full of public declarations and displays of love, children, philanthropy, humanitarian work and glamor. However, in the movies their surface beauty was only a mask for the rot and boredom underneath. Still, even through tears and gunfire, they always smoldered.
“You can absolutely madly love the same person you want to kill,” Jolie Pitt said last year, seated on a silk-sheeted bed next to Pitt on the set of By the Sea, filmed on their technical honeymoon, but it could have easily been about either.
It was a strange story to fall in love to, but not uncommon in the entertainment business, even if Pitt was married at the time to Jennifer Aniston.
Jolie Pitt had already been married twice, to Billy Bob Thornton and Jonny Lee Miller.
“We just became kind of a pair, and it took until, really, the end of the shoot for us, I think, to realize that it might mean something more than we’d earlier allowed ourselves to believe,” Jolie Pitt told Vogue in 2006.
Monday’s divorce filing came after 12 years together and two in marriage. In August 2014, the couple wed privately at their French chateau in the Provence hamlet of Correns with their children serving as ring bearers and throwing flower petals.
Robert Offer, an attorney for Jolie Pitt, on Tuesday said that her decision was made “for the health of the family.”
She is petitioning for physical custody of 15-year-old Maddox, 12-year-old Pax, 11-year-old Zahara, 10-year-old Shiloh, and eight-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne, with visitation rights for Pitt, who said in a statement to People how “saddened” he is.
“What matters most now is the well-being of our kids,” Pitt said, requesting space for the children.
By the Sea, which Jolie Pitt wrote while grieving for her mother, who died in 2007, was sold nonetheless as the big on-screen reunion of the couple, who changed tabloid culture and our expectations of what exactly is possible on a movie set just 10 years earlier.
However, it fizzled with critics and audiences, making a mere US$538,000 at the box office in the US.
The Mr & Mrs Smith spark that enveloped its own stars and titillated audiences to the tune of US$186.3 million in the US had given way to something infinitely more real.
“When we first worked together, it was very different, because we didn’t really know each other and we were young and, it was really a fun film, so we thought, maybe By the Sea was going to be that kind of fun, but realized very quickly that it wasn’t,” Jolie Pitt told the Telegraph last year.
“Then we joked that this is what happens after 10 years of marriage,” she added.
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