Angelina Jolie blames Brad Pitt's NDA for scuttling winery sale; alleges abuse before plane altercation


Angelina Jolie’s legal team filed a motion Thursday to compel Brad Pitt’s communications stemming from an “all-encompassing” nondisclosure agreement he wanted that purportedly tanked the sale of his ex-wife’s share of their Chateau Miraval winery to him.

The former Hollywood power couple’s protracted legal dispute over the winery — and its legacy for their six children — took another turn as Jolie’s team asked a judge to compel Pitt and his company, Mondo Bongo, to produce documents pertaining to his calling for a “more onerous NDA” in order to purchase Jolie’s share of the south-of-France winery.

The documents Jolie seeks, according to the Thursday filing in Los Angeles County Superior Court, are “highly relevant” and also likely to yield admissible evidence in the case, her team argued.

Her attorney, Paul Murphy, also accused the “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” Oscar winner of “unrelenting efforts to control and financially drain” Jolie, as well as “attempting to hide his history of abuse, control, and coverup.”

A legal representative for Pitt did not respond immediately Thursday to The Times’ requests for comment on the new filing and allegations of prior abuse.

Pitt has accused Jolie and her company, Nouvel, of secretly selling her share of their winery and family home to “seize profits she had not earned and returns on an investment she did not make.” He claimed in a February 2022 lawsuit and subsequent amended complaints that his investment in the business “exceeded Jolie’s by nearly $50 million” and that Jolie had reneged on exclusive buyout negotiations they had agreed on in early 2021, when she originally said she wanted out of the business.

Pitt has been seeking a jury trial and the undoing of Jolie’s October 2021 sale to the Tenute del Mondo wine group, a subsidiary of the Stoli Group.

In October 2022, Jolie filed a cross-complaint that argued that the couple had no agreement regarding two-party consent to the sale of either party’s interest in the property. She also detailed allegations of abuse that prompted her to file for divorce from Pitt in 2016, ending their two-year marriage and much talked about 10-year romantic relationship. (The actors, although legally unmarried since 2019, have not yet finalized their drawn-out divorce.)

The “Inglourious Basterds” star has also complained that he can no longer enjoy his private residence in France, as it is now co-owned by strangers; Jolie contended Thursday that she and their children have not returned to the French estate since leaving it and boarding the fateful September 2016 flight that precipitated Jolie filing for divorce five days later.

In her Thursday court filing, reviewed by The Times, attorneys for the “Girl, Interrupted” Oscar winner asked again for responses from Pitt to help them figure out his reason for pulling out of their implied agreement for him to buy Jolie’s stake in the winery. Pitt’s decision to pull out of the sale, her attorney said, “nearly broke” Jolie.

“If that sale had been completed, this lawsuit never would have happened. But at the last minute, Pitt ‘stepped back’ from his agreement to buy Jolie’s interest in Miraval, and the deal collapsed. The question at the heart of this case — and at the center of this motion — is why,” the motion said.

The answer, her attorney said, has to do with sealed documents Jolie submitted in the ex-couple’s separate but simultaneous custody dispute. The new filing referred to sealed March 2021 documents — titled “Testimony Regarding Domestic Violence” — that “apparently enraged Pitt” and led to him “stepping back” from the sale.

“When Jolie filed the evidence in the custody suit, she was careful to file it under seal so that no member of the public could see it. But Jolie’s sealed filing, which included emails, summaries of the family’s expected testimony, and other evidence, caused Pitt to fear that the information could eventually become public,” the document said.

Pitt then decided he could no longer rely on Jolie’s voluntary efforts to keep things private and demanded that she “contractually bind herself to that silence,” her filing said.

With that, her team indicated there was abuse of Jolie that predated the contentious 2016 private-plane flight. In referring to that sealed filing in the custody case — as well as another titled “Testimony of Minor Children” — her team argued that Pitt tried to force a more sweeping NDA on Jolie to conceal his alleged “personal misconduct, whether related to Miraval or not.”

Her team is seeking Pitt’s communications with the FBI, U.S. attorney’s office, the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services and the Los Angeles Police Department regarding the private flight. She is also seeking information from DCFS about its investigation, drug and alcohol testing and a safety plan the agency purportedly required Pitt to undertake to address his conduct.

“While Pitt’s history of physical abuse of Jolie started well before the family’s September 2016 plane trip from France to Los Angeles, this flight marked the first time he turned his physical abuse on the children as well,” the new motion states.

Pitt was never charged in connection with the plane incident, either by the U.S. attorney’s office or the Department of Children and Family Services, which investigated the incident — and its allegation of child abuse — before the FBI got involved. The FBI decided in November 2016 to close its probe without filing any charges against the actor. People magazine reported that he was drunk during the incident, which “escalated more than it should have,” and asserted that “no one was physically harmed.”

Jolie never pressed charges, the filing said, “as she believed the best course was for Pitt to accept responsibility and help the family recover from the post-traumatic stress he caused.” It also alleged that Pitt refused to seek domestic violence counseling.

Pitt’s legal team last summer claimed that Jolie “vindictively” sold her stake in the winery behind his back and alleged that she “sought to inflict harm on Pitt,” subsequently revealing more details about the unraveling of the former power couple’s relationship. Jolie’s camp at the time insisted — and continues to do so in the new filing — that Pitt refused to complete a Miraval sale with Jolie “unless she agreed to being silenced” about his alleged abuse.

Now her team is claiming that Pitt attempted to cover up the alleged abuse by objecting to the children testifying on their custody preferences. The filing includes a May 2021 text message from Jolie to a friend (as an exhibit) relaying that she tried to sell the winery to Pitt per their agreement but that he was “really not being fair” and demanding “a lot of punishing restrictions.” The filing also outlined for the first time the language of the “more onerous NDA.”

Said restrictions, per the motion, were put forth in an “expansive” NDA that stated that the parties could not make any statements or take actions that would “disparage, defame, or compromise the goodwill, name, brand or reputation of Miraval Provence or any of its affiliated or direct and indirect shareholders,” including Jolie, Pitt, Pitt’s business partner and good friend Marc Perrin, and Familles Perrin SAS.

It also stated that the parties could not “commit any other action that could likely injure, hinder or interfere with the Business, business relationships or goodwill of Miraval Provence, its affiliates, or its direct and indirect shareholders.” Jolie refused to sign it, and “by June 3, 2022, the deal was dead,” the motion said.

Jolie accused Pitt of gaslighting her and, according to the documents, signed a power of attorney authorizing her European lawyer, Laurent Schummer, to take over the sale process.

“Mr. Pitt refused to purchase Ms. Jolie’s interest when she would not be silenced by his NDA,” Jolie attorney Murphy, managing partner at the law firm Murphy Rosen LLP, said Thursday in a statement to The Times.

“By refusing to buy her interest but then suing her, Mr. Pitt put directly at issue why that NDA was so important to him and what he hoped it would bury: his abuse of Ms. Jolie and their family. After eight months of delays, this motion asks the Court to force Mr. Pitt to finally produce that evidence.”

A person close to Jolie who was not authorized to speak publicly about the case told The Times that Pitt “is drawing all this out of Angelina.”

“She does not want to be here, she does not want to be raising any of these facts, and she is doing it only because Pitt’s lawsuit against her is forcing her to defend herself. It’s incredibly sad and she just wishes he could move on and let her be,” the person said.

The person added that Jolie’s lawyers have emails, photos and testimony that was presented under seal in the custody case that would help her in this matter. However, the person said, if the case goes to trial, she “will be forced to use that evidence in the trial whether she wants to or not.”

Times assistant editor Christie D’Zurilla contributed to this report.



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