It was a seemingly perfect family in a picture-perfect magazine feature.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie sat in their sunlit glory, playing with their pretend children in their pretend backyard in a now-legendary 60-page photo spread titled “Domestic Bliss” in the July 2005 issue of W Magazine.

The scenes of make-believe family depicted in the pages of the fashion magazine, published nearly 19 years ago, foreshadowed what went on to become a reality for the “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” co-stars: Six children between them and a loving relationship that saw the pair experience professional successes and weather personal hardships in seemingly equal measure.

Once Hollywood’s most glamorous power couple, Pitt and Jolie have been locked in a fraught web of legal proceedings since 2016. The divorce of the couple once dubbed Brangelina is not yet finalized and a painful family rift remains.

A source close to Pitt told CNN that the actor “loves his family” and ”wants what’s best” for them. “And so he’s stayed silent on discussing anything about his kids even though it’s obviously very upsetting,” the individual said.

The length of their ongoing divorce can be attributed to a number of factors, including a contentious custody trial, fallout from a 2016 incident on a plane and a complicated legal dispute relating to Jolie’s sale of her stake in Château Miraval, the French winery that the former couple once co-owned and the property on which they were married in 2014.

All Jolie has ever wanted, a source close to Jolie told CNN, “is peace for her family and she hopes [Pitt] will eventually want that too.”

CNN has reached to representatives for both Pitt and Jolie for comment.

Their Hollywood love story may have been photogenic, but their split has been nothing less than a legal drama with no end yet written. Here’s a look back at their legal feud so far:


The 2016 plane incident

What could be considered the end of Brangelina allegedly took place on a private plane in September 2016.

Details surrounding the circumstances of the incident emerged in August 2022, when a heavily redacted FBI report, provided to CNN by a source at the time, revealed that Jolie had accused Pitt of physically assaulting her and verbally abusing their children while they were aboard the private jet, traveling to the US from France.

Pitt became the center of a probe related to the incident but was never arrested or charged, according to an FBI statement at the time.

Jolie alleged that Pitt “grabbed her by her head,” “grabbed her by the shoulders,” shook her, pushed her into the plane’s bathroom wall and was yelling profanities at her, according to the FBI report, which also stated Pitt allegedly lunged toward one of their children, resulting in Jolie suffering a physical injury after she tried to intervene.

In an October 2022 countersuit in a legal case involving their winery (more on that in a bit), Jolie alleged that Pitt “choked one of the children and struck another in the face” during the incident. In response, a representative for Pitt told CNN in a statement at the time that, “Brad has accepted responsibility for what he did but will not for things he didn’t do.”

In April, Jolie claimed in another legal filing from the winery case that Pitt’s “history of physical abuse of Jolie started well before the family’s September 2016 plane trip.” The filing did not go into further detail about the alleged prior abuse.

According to that filing, Jolie chose not to press charges against Pitt in relation to the plane incident at the time because she believed “the best course was for Pitt to accept responsibility and help the family recover from the post-traumatic stress he caused.”

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie with children


Jolie files for divorce

In September 2016, just days after the incident on the private jet, Jolie filed for divorce from Pitt, citing irreconcilable differences. According to the petition, Jolie asked the court to grant her sole physical custody of the couple’s then-minor children – Maddox, Pax, Zahara, Shiloh, and twins Knox and Vivienne, who were between the ages of 8 and 15 at the time – with visitation rights for Pitt, who would retain joint legal custody.

In a 2020 interview with Vogue India, Jolie said that she “separated” from Pitt for the “wellbeing” of her family.

“It was the right decision. I continue to focus on their healing,” she said. “They are six very brave, very strong young people.”


Custody battle

Four of Jolie and Pitt’s six children have turned 18 during the course of their ongoing divorce proceedings and their custody arrangement today pertains only to their twins Vivienne and Knox, who are now 15.

According to a 2016 court order obtained by CNN at the time, their initial custody arrangement awarded Jolie physical custody of the children. Pitt would, according to the order, have “agreed upon therapeutic visitation” with the minor children and was ordered to undergo random drug and alcohol testing.

Pitt said in a 2017 interview with GQ that he’d quit “boozing,” saying, “It’s just become a problem. And I’m really happy it’s been half a year now, which is bittersweet, but I’ve got my feelings in my fingertips again.”

Angelina Jolie and kids

In 2018, a court order obtained by CNN outlined a shared custody schedule for that summer, with Jolie maintaining primary physical custody and Pitt being granted unrestricted phone access to the children. The order also required Jolie to tell their children that the court determined they’re “safe” with their father and that having a healthy relationship with both parents is “critical.”

Following a privately arbitrated custody trial, Pitt was awarded temporary joint custody of the children in May 2021, two sources with knowledge of the case told CNN at the time. Jolie appealed the custody ruling, alleging the judge who had overseen the custody trial had a conflict of interest with Pitt’s legal team. Jolie won her appeal and a California appeals court disqualified the judge.

Jolie retains primary custody, and a distance between Pitt and their children has become more apparent in recent months. Vivienne reportedly cited her name as “Vivienne Jolie” in the playbill for “The Outsiders,” the Tony-winning musical she helped produce with Jolie. And Shiloh, 18, last month filed a petition to legally drop Pitt from her last name.

“It’s been very hard for him,” said the source close to Pitt. “This is a really hard period.”


They become legally single

Though their divorce proceedings are ongoing, through what is called a “bifurcated judgment,” Pitt and Jolie were declared legally single in 2019.

As part of the filing, Jolie officially dropped “Pitt” from her last name.

New York matrimonial and family law attorney Sophie Jacobi-Parisi, who is not affiliated with either Pitt or Jolie’s legal matters, told CNN a bifurcated divorce is “unique” to California divorces in that it allows former couples to “break the bonds of matrimony” while other issues – be they financial or otherwise – remain outstanding. But it can sometimes have a detrimental effect on proceedings, she added, because it may remove “incentive to keep people rational,” further prolonging the time it takes to finalize a divorce.

The slow pace of the divorce proceedings, even after the bifurcated judgement, is “unusual,” according to Jacobi-Parisi.

“It’s all of these unique little situational aspects of this that have completely exacerbated a super high-conflict divorce from the very beginning – and they both have the money to fight,” she said.


The Château Miraval winery lawsuit

Much of Pitt and Jolie’s legal saga has centered on the battle over their country estate in the south of France, Château Miraval. The suits and filings relating to this matter have also been the vehicles through which many details about their split and ongoing issues have been made public.

Their fight over the property began in February 2022, when Pitt sued Jolie and her former company, Nouvel LLC, over what he claimed was the “unlawful” sale of her stake in Miraval, acquired by the couple in 2008.

Pitt’s lawsuit alleged that he and Jolie had agreed when they purchased the winery that neither would sell without the other’s consent. According to a subsequent 2023 court filing, attorneys for Pitt called Jolie’s sale “vindictive” after an “adverse custody ruling.”

Chateau Miraval

A countersuit filed by Nouvel LLC in September 2022 accused Pitt of “waging a vindictive war against” Jolie and claimed that there was never any such agreement. The countersuit alleges that Jolie attempted to sell her share of the winery to Pitt but the deal fell apart over a provision in a non-disclosure agreement “designed to prohibit Jolie from publicly speaking about the events that had led to the breakdown of their marriage.”

Jolie sold Nouvel LLC and its stake in the winery to Tenute del Mondo, a subsidiary of Stoli Group, controlled by Russian oligarch Yuri Shefler, in October 2021.

Jolie notified Pitt in a January 2021 email about her intention to sell her share in the winery, stating that she no longer wanted to be involved with a business “based on alcohol, when alcoholic behavior harmed our family so deeply.” The email was an exhibit submitted to the court by Jolie’s attorneys in October 2022.

More details about the former couple’s home life may soon emerge.

In April, Pitt filed a motion requesting Jolie produce years worth of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), according to a legal filing obtained by CNN. The court granted Pitt’s motion in May and set a deadline for Jolie to submit the NDAs by mid-July, according to the order, obtained by CNN.

These NDAs have become the center of the Miraval case, which in itself has felt like “an extension of their divorce,” according to Jacobi-Parisi, who clarified that the Miraval case and the divorce are technically separate court actions.

Jacobi-Parisi added: “Under the Miraval court action, [the NDAs] can then bring up and dredge up all of the information that was probably sealed in their divorce.”

In other words, there may be more to come before Jolie and Pitt truly close this chapter and find their bliss, domestic or otherwise.