Not over yet. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie‘s legal battle is only getting messier — and now it involves more than just the custody of their kids.
Pitt, 57, filed a lawsuit in Luxembourg on Tuesday, September 21, accusing Jolie, 46, and her business partners of trying to cut him out of a potentially lucrative sale of Château Miraval shares. The French estate and vineyard is where the former couple tied the knot in August 2014.
According to court documents obtained by Us Weekly, the Ocean’s Eleven actor originally held 60 percent of Quimicum, the company that owns the chateau, while Jolie held 40 percent. He later transferred some of his shares to the Eternals star, making them equal partners in Quimicum.
Château Miraval is valued at more than $160 million, per the docs, but the philanthropist’s attempt to sell her half could cause her to make a profit at Pitt’s expense.
“It is worth mentioning that, for the last four years, Nouvel [Jolie’s company] did not act in the best interest of Quimicum by systematically delaying the approval of the annual accounts and the renewal of the manager,” the suit alleges, accusing the Girl, Interrupted actress of “systematic obstruction.”
A source close to the litigation tells Us that Jolie’s actions are “another example of this person trying to circumvent rules and avoid their obligations,” claiming that the latest move “is pretty consistent” with her past behavior.
“It’s pretty upsetting that she would behave this way considering that [Brad] was the one who did all of the work on building Miraval,” a second source notes.
Jolie filed for divorce from the Fight Club star in September 2016. While they were declared legally single in early 2019, they’ve been locked into a lengthy back and forth over the custody of their children: Pax, 17, Zahara, 16, Shiloh, 15, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 13. The pair’s eldest son, Maddox, is now 20.
In August 2020, the three-time Golden Globe winner attempted to disqualify the judge presiding over her and Pitt’s case, alleging that prior personal relationships were not disclosed. Though she was initially unsuccessful, Us confirmed earlier this year that Judge John W. Ouderkirk was removed.
The Oklahoma native was granted temporary custody in May, but Ouderkirk’s departure from the case could potentially impact that ruling. Earlier this month, Pitt fired back, arguing in court docs obtained by Us that the decision from the Second District Court of Appeal in California should be reviewed by the state’s highest court.
However, Jolie filed a response on Monday, September 20, slamming the two-time Oscar winner’s request for review. “[It’s] a last-ditch effort by a celebrity litigant seeking special treatment,” her argument claimed.
“Mr. Pitt’s counsel was so tight and valued that Mr. Pitt’s counsel had ‘advocated in court, over objection, for an extension of Judge Ouderkirk’s designation as a privately compensated temporary judge in another case,” Jolie’s response read, noting that it was “undisputed” and “not by accident” that she wasn’t aware of the men’s relationship. “That ‘practice’ might be good for business. It drastically diminishes the chances of a party leaning the truth and objecting, which would cut off the privately compensated judge’s paycheck. But it violated the law and undermined the appearance of judicial impartiality.”
Pitt’s attorney, Gibson Dunn partner Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., said in a statement to Us, that they are “seeking review in the California Supreme Court because the temporary judge, who had been appointed and repeatedly renewed by both sides, was improperly disqualified after providing a detailed, fact-based custodial decision, following a lengthy legal process with multiple witnesses and experts.”
The attorney continued, “The lower court’s ruling will reward parties who are losing child custody cases, and condone their gamesmanship, by allowing them to wait and see about the likely direction of the case before seeking the disqualification of the judge. Condoning the use of this type of strategic ‘lie in wait’ disqualification challenge will cause irreparable harm to both the children and families involved in this case, and other families in other cases, by unnecessarily prolonging the resolution of these disputes in an already overburdened court system. Allowing this kind of crafty litigation strategy will deprive parents of irreplaceable time with their children as judges are disqualified for minor reasons in the midst of their cases.”
The statement concluded that “nothing in the opposition brief calls into question the urgent need for California Supreme Court review, nor does the opposition address nor refute the important fact that the lower court’s ruling is bad for children and bad for California’s overburdened judicial system.”
With reporting by Marjorie Hernandez and Travis Cronin
Listen to Us Weekly’s Hot Hollywood as each week the editors of Us break down the hottest entertainment news stories!