Why Brad Pitt And Angelina Jolie’s Children Have Taken Their Mother’s Side During Seven Year Divorce

Brangelina’s 18-year-old daughter Shiloh has officially dropped Pitt from her name

Brad Pitt

by Jessica Barrett |
Updated on

In the days running up to her 18th birthday, Shiloh Jolie-Pitt wasn’t just planning celebrations with her friends and family, she was also preparing paperwork that would change the shape of her life forever. The dancer and actor, whose full name is Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt, has now submitted a petition to a Los Angeles court to drop Pitt from her name, after apparently contemplating the change for some time.

The daughter of Hollywood stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt took the shock legal action to become simply ‘Shiloh Jolie’ on 27 May, the date she turned 18, becoming the latest of the Once Upon A Time In Hollywood star’s six children to officially distance themselves from their father.

Shiloh follows in the footsteps of her sister Zahara and brothers Pax and Maddox, who have already reportedly dropped Pitt from their double-barrelled names, amid reports of strained relationships between the children and their father since Angelina filed for divorce from Brad in September 2016. While details of their divorce have still not been finalised, seven long years on, and a settlement agreement is yet to be reached, in that time the children have grown up a lot, with just two of them still under 18 – 15-year-old twins Vivienne and Knox.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 27: (L-R) Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, Zahara Jolie-Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Vivienne Jolie-Pitt, Maddox Jolie-Pitt and Knox Jolie-Pitt attend the "The Eternals" UK Premiere at BFI IMAX Waterloo on October 27, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)

It was reported last month that Vivienne has also informally dropped Pitt from her name. The teenager has been credited simply as Vivienne Jolie for the Broadway musical The Outsiders, on which she has been working as her producer mother’s assistant. It is not immediately clear if she has actually legally changed her name or just wants to be known as Jolie for now.

Angelina herself has been open about what she says is the traumatic impact that Brad's alleged abusive behaviour has had on her and their family during the course of their two-year marriage (they were together for 12 years in total after falling in love while shooting Mr & Mrs Smith). In 2021, when asked if she had ever feared for the safety of her children when with Brad, she replied, ‘Yes, for my family. My whole family.’ Brad has denied her claims.

The first concerns about what was going on behind closed doors between the former golden couple known as Brangelina came in September 2016, when it emerged that Angelina had filed court documents that sparked an investigation by the FBI into Brad.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt (Photo by Chelsea Lauren/Variety/Penske Media via Getty Images)

Following the now infamous private jet journey from France to LA, Angelina filed the court documents against her former husband (although the FBI dropped the investigation and did not press any charges).

In them Angelina, 49, claimed Brad, 60, had been violent in front of and to her children, and was drinking heavily. (He is now sober after seeking help.)

This was, until recently, thought to be something of an isolated incident which had pushed Angelina to seek a shock separation, but more troubling details have emerged in ensuing legal papers, which have been filed as part of the former couple’s legal battle over Chateau Miraval. The case, which has now been dragging on for almost three years and has been dubbed ‘The War of the Rosé’, is about Angelina's decision to sell her part of the French vineyard to Russian oligarch Yuri Shefler without telling Brad, in 2021.

Bottles of Chateau Miraval Cotes de Provence rose wine are displayed on a shelf in a Los Angeles store on February 18, 2022. - Brad Pitt is suing Angelina Jolie for selling her share of the French vineyard where they got married. Superstars Pitt and Jolie, who were once Hollywood's highest profile couple, bought a controlling stake of Chateau Miraval in southern France in 2008, and tied the knot there six years later. (Photo by Chris DELMAS / AFP) (Photo by CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images)

Various filings have been brought up detailing what Angelina has described as Brad's emotional and physical abuse.

Angelina claims to have evidence of ‘Brad's history of physical abuse of the family and abuse of Angelina’ and claims the children continue to experience ‘significant and ongoing post-traumatic stress’. Indeed, an Instagram story thought to have been posted by the couple’s son Pax, 16, said the Hollywood star made his four youngest children ‘tremble in fear’ and made the lives of those closest to Pax ‘a constant hell’, according to a screengrab revealed in November last year.

An insider close to the proceedings tells Grazia that the children’s move to distance themselves will come as a blow to Brad. ‘He’s been unequivocal that he loves his kids with all his heart, his door is open to them 24/7 and it’s been his biggest hope that the longer time goes on the greater the chance of them wanting to spend more time with him,’ said the insider. ‘That doesn’t seem to be happening.’

TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 28: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and their children Pax, Knox and Vivienne arrive at Tokyo International Airport on July 28, 2013 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Jun Sato/WireImage)

The children’s decision of course has parallels with Angelina’s own decision to drop her father Jon Voight’s surname, to be known only by her middle name, Jolie, in 2002. She had an on-off relationship with the actor and even made a statement in 2001 about their troubles, saying, ‘I will only say that, like every child, Jamie [her brother] and I would have loved to have had a warm and loving relationship with our dad.’

Now, history appears to be repeating itself, as Angelina's children stand by her in the seventh year of gruelling legal battles – not to mention rising legal costs. Said the insider, ‘Angelina has such a tight bond with all of her kids – it’s unbreakable, and they’ve been her rocks through this terribly difficult time.’

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