Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie‘s battle over the French winery they previously co-owned has escalated, with accusations emerging that Pitt tried to leverage the business to silence Jolie about the circumstances surrounding their divorce.
Nouvel, a company founded by the Maleficent actress, 47, reportedly filed a $US250 million (approx. $369.3 million) lawsuit on Thursday in Los Angeles against the Bullet Train star, 58, claiming he “masterminded a so-far-successful plan to seize control of” Château Miraval, a vineyard and home the former couple bought a controlling stake of in 2008. The company also accuses Pitt of “waging a vindictive war” against Jolie after she filed for divorce in 2016.
Per court documents obtained by multiple media outlets, Nouvel alleges Pitt has “frozen Nouvel out of Château Miraval and treats it as his personal fiefdom” and “wasted its assets, spending millions on vanity projects, including more than [$US]1 million [approx. $1.5 million] on swimming pool renovations and other funds restoring a recording studio.”
Nouvel, in their countersuit, allege their counterclaims against Pitt “lay bare the true nature of Pitt’s egregious misconduct. To be clear, it is Pitt, and not Jolie, Nouvel or any of the other Defendants, who has acted in a hostile, destructive, and illegal manner. Pitt’s behaviour has caused serious harm to Nouvel.”
Nouvel’s lawsuit alleges Jolie negotiated with Pitt’s team for months for them to buy her half of the winery, but Pitt allegedly “made an eleventh-hour demand for onerous and irrelevant conditions, including a provision designed to prohibit Jolie from publicly speaking about the events that had led to the breakdown of their marriage.”
Jolie, per the court filing, was unwilling to agree to the “hush clause” and sold her portion of the winery to Tenute del Mondo, a subsidiary of Stoli Group, instead, in October 2021.
Pitt filed a lawsuit in June accusing Jolie of damaging the wine business’ reputation by selling her half in secret to a “stranger,” and he also accused Jolie of seeking “to inflict harm” on him when she sold her interests in the wine company.
He said both he and Jolie had agreed not to ever sell their individual interests in the family business without getting the other’s consent. The actor also claimed in the lawsuit that Jolie contributed “nothing” to Miraval’s – the winery business – “multimillion-dollar global” success, and “purposely kept Pitt in the dark” when she sold her stake and in doing so, “knowingly violated Pitt’s contractual rights.”
Pitt’s lawsuit in June alleged that Nouvel owed Mondo Bongo – Pitt’s company – the right of first refusal and the sale of Jolie’s stake infringed on that right, but Jolie, in September last year, was cleared to sell her share of the estate.
In the new court filing, Jolie’s legal team accuses Pitt of “gaslighting,” saying Pitt claims that he’s “the victim in order to cover up the harm he intentionally caused to his ex-wife (excluding her from the business and holding the most significant part of her net worth hostage) and the business (asset stripping and foolish spending). But Pitt should look in the mirror because it is he, and not the Stoli Group, who carries baggage, some of it recent front page news, that is detrimental to Château Miraval’s business.”
Per the court documents filed by Nouvel, Jolie wanted out of the winery because she was “becoming increasingly uncomfortable participating in an alcohol business” and “given the events that led to her filing for divorce, neither she nor any of the children felt able to return to the chateau.”
The lawsuit also claimed that Pitt “over the years” had “developed an addiction to alcohol, which resulted in increasingly destructive behaviour towards Jolie and the rest of their family.” Pitt has been open about sobriety and struggling in the past with alcoholism.
Jolie’s filing comes after an FBI investigative report emerged, sharing new details about an alleged domestic violence incident between Pitt and Jolie in 2016. Pitt has denied all accusations, and the FBI is not expected to reopen the investigation.
The couple started dating in 2005, and married in 2014 at their vineyard. In 2016, Jolie filed for divorce, which was finalised in 2019. They share Maddox, 20, Pax, 18, Zahara, 17, Shiloh, 16, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 13.
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