Next month, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie will reach a milestone few, if any, couples celebrate.
September marks two years since Jolie shocked fans by abruptly filing to end their relatively new marriage, creating a chasm in a façade that previously hadn’t shown any cracks. But before they reach that dubious occasion, the pair will hit their fourth year of marriage on Aug. 23. It’s a achievement they’re unlikely to toast with champagne and the traditional fruit and flowers, but it’s a day they’ll reach as husband and wife, nonetheless.
Because at this point, the couple’s divorce proceedings are all but certain to eclipse the 25-month tenure of their actual marriage. It’s a process that was by no means expected to be brief. After all, no sooner had Jolie submitted paperwork on Sept. 19, 2016, listing the date of separation as just four days earlier, that it was revealed that both the Los Angeles Country Department of Children and Family Services and the FBI were looking into an altercation between Pitt and now-17-year-old son Maddox that occurred aboard the family’s private plane. But both of those investigations were wrapped up by November and 21 months later the pair are still legally bound.
Hammering out financials is often a sticking point in acrimonious splits. But these are two incredibly bankable actors who have each expanded their portfolio beyond camera work leading to nine-figure net worths and an Oscar a piece. So let’s assume there won’t be any issues there.
In fact, that will have to remain a hypothetical for the time being as an insider reveals to E! News that the 54-year-old 12 Years a Slave producer and the In the Land of Blood and Honey director, 43, haven’t yet reached that early stage step. Each equally determined to notch as much time as possible with their sizable brood, says the insider, “They are so hung up on dealing with the custody issues that they haven’t even exchanged any financial documents yet, which is routine in divorces.” The delay has led to speculation that a fed up Laura Wasser stepped down as Jolie’s lawyer, but the insider insists the famed divorce attorney (her client list includes everyone from Jennifer Garner to Johnny Depp) is still working to land on an agreement that satisfies both sides.
And recently they’ve made some movement. A Tuesday court filing from Jolie’s other attorney Samantha Bley DeJean, claiming that Pitt “has paid no meaningful child support since separation,” may sound hateful. But a source says it’s simple protocol. “In order for the marriage to be dissolved before all of the other issues have been resolved, certain things need to be done by both parties,” a source familiar with the situation reveals to E! News. “The motion today was just designed to move that process forward on those issues, including financial disclosure and child support.”
Still, the insider doesn’t expect things to speed along with any sort of haste: “They are kind of at an impasse at this point,” says the insider. “Because the focus has been on custody, nothing else has been hashed out yet. There will be no settlement or resolution anytime soon.”
Few predicted such drawn-out proceedings. Though Jolie initially filed for sole physical custody of Maddox, Pax, 14, Zahara, 13, Shiloh, 12, and 10-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne back in 2016, an insider told E! News she always intended that to be temporary.
Yes, it had taken them a while to find the same page. Those first few months were littered with pot shots, the most damaging coming in early 2017 when Jolie claimed Pitt wanted their proceedings sealed because he is “terrified the public will learn the truth.” But just as it seemed the couple formerly known as Brangelina would engage in all-out war, they revealed they’d landed on a temporary agreement (the kids would remain in her care, but Pitt was granted “therapeutic visitation”) and that Jolie was purchasing a $25 million mansion just down the road for Pitt, laying the groundwork for them to quietly begin the business of co-parenting.
The move indicated a shift in the pair’s formerly contentious dealings, added another: “Things have settled between Brad and Angelina. It’s not as tense as it had been. They are focused on the kids and working to do what’s best for them.”