Kes Kids An­gelina Jolie

WORLD EXCLUSIVE Brad Pitt scores a huge vic­tory in his brutal di­vorce and cus­tody bat­tle with

In Touch (USA) - - Cover story -

It was the long­est Brad Pitt had ever gone without see­ing his kids. Al­most three weeks after LA’S De­part­ment of Chil­dren and Fam­ily Ser­vices launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion fol­low­ing an anony­mous call claim­ing Brad was phys­i­cally abu­sive to his kids on a Sept. 14 pri­vate flight, he fi­nally re­united with Mad­dox, 15, Pax, 12, Za­hara, 11, Shiloh, 10, and twins Knox and Vivi­enne, 8.

“It was a very emo­tional meet­ing,” a source with knowl­edge of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion ex­clu­sively tells In Touch. The kids (one source says all the chil­dren were not there) were driven to a neu­tral lo­ca­tion and Brad ar­rived via un­der­ground garage. What fol­lowed was a tear­ful 90-minute meet­ing in a room un­der the watch­ful eye of a DCFS mon­i­tor. “Once the kids came in, Brad lit up. He had tears in his eyes and tried to hold it to­gether be­cause he didn’t want them to get up­set be­cause he was cry­ing.”

Soon, they were play­ing, draw­ing pic­tures and, of course, talk­ing. “Brad told them this sit­u­a­tion with the so­cial work­ers ab­so­lutely wasn’t their fault and that no one was in trou­ble,” adds the source. “The visit was gut-wrench­ing: Vivi­enne and Za­hara both started cry­ing, ask­ing when they could go home [to Brad’s com­pound in LA’S Los Feliz neigh­bor­hood]. He said it would be soon.”

And he meant it. In Touch has ex­clu­sively learned that the DCFS in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which was launched just days be­fore An­gelina Jolie fi led for di­vorce and de­manded sole phys­i­cal cus­tody of the kids, is likely to wrap up be­fore the end of Oc­to­ber. And when that hap­pens, Brad will be fight­ing back against Angie in fam­ily court. He will go for sole phys­i­cal cus­tody, a Brad and An­gelina in­sider tells In Touch, “be­cause An­gelina has re­fused to agree to joint phys­i­cal cus­tody.”

While An­gelina’s been pack­ing her le­gal team with well-known lit­i­ga­tors, Brad’s qui­etly been hir­ing high-pow­ered ex­perts whose names haven’t been made pub­lic yet — “but they’re bet­ter than her peo­ple,” prom­ises a source fa­mil­iar with the sit­u­a­tion.

He’s ready to fight and to win. He’s al­ready taken a sec­ond drug and al­co­hol test, In Touch has ex­clu­sively learned. (The re­sults were not yet back at press time, but Brad is con­fi­dent they will be neg­a­tive.) “Now he waits,” says a Brad in­sider. “While Angie’s camp has con­tin­ued to spread lies about him and make him sound like a mon­ster and an un­fit par­ent, he’s re­fused to go dirty on her in the me­dia. But in front of a judge, it will be an­other story. Brad has com­piled a com­plete dossier on An­gelina of the se­ri­ous men­tal health is­sues she has dealt with over the years. He is sav­ing all of the per­ti­nent and nec­es­sary in­for­ma­tion for the bat­tle in court, where it mat­ters.”

If it’s seemed ugly so far, for­get it — it’s only go­ing to get worse, be­cause Brad’s file con­tains bomb­shell ma­te­rial. “Brad’s tak­ing the kids,” adds the Brad in­sider, “and it’s An­gelina’s worst night­mare.”

Brad is de­voted to those chil­dren. Dur­ing that emo­tional first re­union, he spoke to Mad­dox. (As In Touch pre­vi­ously re­ported, Brad, 52, had been ac­cused of get­ting phys­i­cal with his el­dest child dur­ing an ex­plo­sive ar­gu­ment on the fam­ily’s flight from France to Amer­ica that trig­gered the DCFS case.) “But Mad­dox just wasn’t that re­cep­tive to Brad and was very aloof dur­ing the visit,” says the source with knowl­edge of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Later, as the DCFS mon­i­tor qui­etly sat ob­serv­ing, Brad sat down with the younger

into chaos be­cause of the di­vorce. He wants noth­ing more than to co­par­ent the kids with Angie,” says the Brad in­sider. “He of­fered his LA home as a base for An­gelina when­ever she’s in LA, with or without the kids. Since there are sev­eral houses on the prop­erty, she could stay in one house and never even see Brad.” But she re­fused. “Her camp isn’t re­cep­tive to any of th­ese pro­pos­als be­cause she’s in­sist­ing on hav­ing sole phys­i­cal cus­tody.”

An­gelina, 41, is also now de­mand­ing a piece of Brad’s $240 mil­lion for­tune. The cou­ple have an iron­clad prenup, but “An­gelina knows Brad’s worth a lot more than she is, and she’s mak­ing a play for his money,” says the Brad in­sider. (She’s es­ti­mated to be worth $160 mil­lion.) “Brad is will­ing to cut her a check beyond what the prenup dic­tates, if that will get her to sign off on joint cus­tody. But again, she re­fuses.”

An­gelina is full of rage. “She’s con­vinced Brad had an af­fair with [ his Al­lied co-star] Mar­ion [Cotil­lard] and that he’s the fa­ther of Mar­ion’s un­born baby. She’s dev­as­tated and can’t cope,” says an An­gelina in­sider. The French ac­tress, 41, has pub­licly de­nied it, and be­fore An­gelina blind­sided him with di­vorce papers and a state­ment that im­plied he was an un­fit fa­ther, Brad made it clear to her he did not cheat with Mar­ion. “But no mat­ter what he says, she just won’t believe him,” says the Brad in­sider. “Angie knows that the only way she can pun­ish Brad is by us­ing the kids in her bit­ter bat­tle with him. She’s also do­ing this be­cause she wants to con­tinue to be able to take them any­where she wants without his per­mis­sion. But it’s a very sick game she’s play­ing, and she could end up los­ing ev­ery­thing.” Angie’s team, how­ever, con­tin­ues to in­sist she’s do­ing what’s best for the “health” of the fam­ily but has re­fused to ex­plain why giv­ing Brad joint cus­tody is un­healthy.

But An­gelina’s health — her men­tal health — is now the is­sue. Brad won’t hes­i­tate to bring up her men­tal health prob­lems in court. As In Touch has pre­vi­ously re­ported, he will sub­poena her psy­chi­atric records. In a 2001 Larry King in­ter­view, An­gelina opened up about suf­fer­ing from de­pres­sion. “I ended up go­ing crazy,” she re­vealed of a dif­fi­cult time dur­ing her re­la­tion­ship with ex-hus­band Billy Bob Thorn­ton that saw her check­ing her­self into UCLA Med­i­cal Cen­ter where she was told, “You’re hav­ing a ner­vous break­down.” She was placed on a 72-hour hold so as “not to hurt my­self or oth­ers,” she said.

That same year, An­gelina ad­mit­ted she’d planned to kill her­self or hire a hit man to do it for her. She wanted to use a knife and sleep­ing pills to end her life. “I didn’t know if I could pull the fi­nal thing across my

wrists,” she told Rolling Stone, and re­al­ized she may not have enough pills for an over­dose. “This is go­ing to sound so in­sane, but there was a time when I re­al­ized I was go­ing to have to hire some­body to kill me.” She even met with a man she was told could get it done, but “he made me think about it for a month. And by a month, other things changed in my life and I was sur­viv­ing again.”

Brad can de­stroy An­gelina in court with the file he’s com­piled on her. An­other source says she’s got plenty of am­mu­ni­tion of her own. “She didn’t make the de­ci­sion to try to get phys­i­cal cus­tody over one in­ci­dent,” the source says. “And it wasn’t a small in­ci­dent. If it was, she would’ve worked through it. What hap­pened with Brad is of a se­ri­ous na­ture. You don’t throw 12 years to­gether out for noth­ing.”

But An­gelina’s rep­u­ta­tion has al­ready taken a huge hit in the pub­lic eye. “The longer this goes on, the worse she looks, es­pe­cially as we’re see­ing that the abuse al­le­ga­tions don’t seem to be true,” says brand­ing ex­pert David John­son, CEO of Strate­gic Vi­sion LLC. “It looks like this was all cal­cu­lated and ma­nip­u­la­tive on her part to try to de­stroy Brad, a pre­emp­tive strike.” Brad’s strat- egy, mean­while, is only help­ing him. “Brad looks like the nice guy be­cause he’s not at­tack­ing her, not go­ing after her. And peo­ple in Hol­ly­wood are ral­ly­ing around him.” (See side­bar.)

The for­mer Hol­ly­wood golden cou­ple’s bat­tle could go on for years, but it’s the kids who will suf­fer the most. And it’s al­ready started. As the DCFS in­ves­ti­ga­tion and di­vorce news made head­lines, An­gelina kept the kids se­cluded in­side a $95,000-a-month rental home in Mal­ibu. Then just two weeks later, she moved them into an­other rented man­sion, this one owned by Denise Richards (see side­bar). “An­gelina thinks she’s pro­tect­ing the chil­dren. How­ever, when­ever there’s a di­vorce, it is al­ways best to nor­mal­ize their ex­pe­ri­ences,” ex­plains child psy­chol­o­gist Mark Gold­stein, who doesn’t treat the fam­ily. “Keep­ing them in­side re­sults in in­creased anxi- ety, mak­ing them feel re­spon­si­ble for their mother’s emo­tional well-be­ing. It may also make the chil­dren feel more dif­fer­ent than they may al­ready feel, given their celebrity sta­tus.” Their brief vis­its with Brad dur­ing the DCFS in­ves­ti­ga­tion also add to the con­fu­sion. “They don’t fully un­der­stand why they can’t just be with their daddy,” ex­plains psy­chol­o­gist Julie Arm­strong, who also doesn’t treat the fam­ily. “And when a child doesn’t un­der­stand, then the anx­i­ety rises.”

Brad is de­ter­mined to put an end to that. “He’s fu­ri­ous that Angie has taken the kids away from him for ab­so­lutely no rea­son,” says the Brad in­sider. The other source, how­ever, says An­gelina didn’t un­der­take her de­ci­sion lightly. “She’s jus­ti­fied go­ing for sole cus­tody and will prove it.” But Brad won’t stand idly by. “He’ll go after An­gelina and ex­pose her psy­cho­log­i­cal de­mons, show how she puts the chil­dren in dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions when she vis­its war-torn coun­tries and more,” says the Brad and An­gelina in­sider. “He’ll be proven as the fur­thest thing from the vil­lain she’s tried to paint him to be. He’s ready for her. He can and will re­fute all her claims in fam­ily court. He won’t let her take those chil­dren from him.” ■

‘‘ The DCFS in­ves­ti­ga­tion is back­fir­ing on An­gelina big-time. She had hoped it would re­veal Brad to be a hor­ri­ble dad, but it hasn’t”


OUT TO DE­STROY HIM “An­gelina is an­gry,” says an in­sider. “She’s de­ter­mined to make Brad look bad.”

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