THE KIDS CHOOSE BRAD

AN­GELINA LOSES! The cus­tody bat­tle be­tween Brad Pitt and An­gelina Jolie takes a shock­ing turn when the chil­dren ask to be with their dad

In Touch (USA) - - Coverstory -

Brad Pitt fi­nally struck back. Six weeks af­ter An­gelina Jolie shocked the world and filed for di­vorce, de­mand­ing sole phys­i­cal cus­tody of their six kids be­fore cryp­ti­cally claim­ing she was do­ing it “for the health of her fam­ily,” the ac­tor fi­nally filed his di­vorce re­sponse on Nov. 4. Brad asked a judge to grant him joint phys­i­cal and le­gal cus­tody. The sim­ple but bold move came just as the Depart­ment of Chil­dren and Fam­ily Ser­vices in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which was ex­tended in late Oc­to­ber af­ter fresh but vague abuse al­le­ga­tions were lodged against Brad, was wrap­ping up. Now, af­ter nearly two months, “DCFS will be for­mally clos­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion af­ter find­ing ab­so­lutely no ev­i­dence to sup­port the abuse claims,” a source close to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion tells In Touch ex­clu­sively. “Brad waited to file un­til he knew he’d be vin­di­cated.”

It’s left An­gelina seething. “She’s fu­ri­ous that Brad is go­ing to be cleared,” says the source, es­pe­cially be­cause she knows if she wants to keep fight­ing for sole cus­tody, the next stop is court, “where Brad will hold noth­ing back.” Af­ter weeks of in­tense ques­tion­ing, lim- ited visi­ta­tion with Mad­dox, 15, Pax, 12, Za­hara, 11, Shiloh, 10, and twins Knox and Vivi­enne, 8, and a cruel pub­lic as­sault on his rep­u­ta­tion, Brad is bat­tling to get his kids back — and they want to be with him. In Touch has learned ex­clu­sively that Brad re­cently en­joyed a third mon­i­tored visit with his chil­dren and is now look­ing for­ward to many more, and once the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is closed, those vis­its won’t be mon­i­tored. “The kids have been telling so­cial work­ers they miss their dad,” says the source. “They want him back in their lives.”

The younger chil­dren es­pe­cially yearn to be with their fa­ther again.“Za­hara, Shiloh and the twins [Knox and Vivi­enne] all told DCFS that they missed their dad,” says the source with knowl­edge of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. “At their first meet­ing with Brad, 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.”

Brad is go­ing to keep his word. “The bat­tle is mov­ing to court,” un­less An­gelina gives up, says the source. As In Touch pre­vi­ously re­ported, Brad, 52, will come armed with a file on An­gelina’s “habits”

and men­tal health. Fam­ily court would be avoided only if An­gelina, 41, backs down. But an in­sider tells In Touch, “An­gelina is never go­ing to back down. She’s con­cerned about the safety of her chil­dren. She’s not try­ing to keep Brad away from his chil­dren but she is try­ing to keep the kids safe and that’s why she wants all his vis­its mon­i­tored.”

An­gelina’s com­ing un­hinged. “She’s been stuck in Los An­ge­les for al­most two months and is climb­ing the walls,” says the source. “She wants to take the kids to Eng­land for a few weeks but was told they can’t leave the coun­try be­cause of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. This has made Angie even more un­happy. ”

An­gelina never ex­pected to lose. Five days af­ter an anony­mous source called LA County’s DCFS to claim Brad had got­ten phys­i­cal with his older boys on a flight from France to the States on Sept. 14, leaks be­gan paint­ing the ac­tor as an al­co­holic sub­stance abuser with anger is­sues. “But the en­tire time, Brad co­op­er­ated with

DCFS,” says the source, adding that Brad passed mul­ti­ple vol­un­tary drug tests, sub­mit­ted to ev­ery in­ter­view and agreed to ev­ery rec­om­men­da­tion, in­clud­ing ther­apy. “He just kept ask­ing when he would be able to have the kids back in his life.”

A last-ditch ef­fort to de­stroy Brad only raised new ques­tions. The probe was ini­tially set to wind down around Oct. 20 un­til “there was a flurry of ac­tiv­ity on Angie’s side, with a new round of al­le­ga­tions be­ing made against Brad by her and the [older] boys. The events [they men­tioned] al­legedly hap­pened al­most two years ago, but they’d only sud­denly re­mem­bered,” ex­plains the source. “It in­volved push­ing and shov­ing of the boys by Brad, and some in­stances with Angie.” In all, adds the source, three of An­gelina and Brad’s six chil­dren al­leged that their dad “was ei­ther phys­i­cally or emo­tion­ally abu­sive with them. But the al­le­ga­tions are very vague and not very spe­cific.”

DCFS, of course, still took the new claims very se­ri­ously, un­til they started to un­ravel. “Af­ter one of the boys had made another al­le­ga­tion in­volv­ing abuse, in a fol­low-up in­ter­view he had trou­ble re­call­ing what had hap­pened and ba­si­cally re­canted the story,” says the source. “This was very con­cern­ing to so­cial work­ers for ob­vi­ous rea­sons.”

Brad’s long been wor­ried that An­gelina could use the chil­dren to hurt him. In cases like this, par­ents of­ten ac­cuse each other of “coach­ing” the chil­dren to say what the par­ent wants, a sec­ond in­sider says, adding that Brad has been con­cerned about that from the out­set of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. “So­cial work­ers are now cir­cling back to those [ear­lier] con­ver­sa­tions [with the kids] to de­ter­mine if there is a pat­tern that needs to be looked at,” says the source. It’s im­por­tant to note there is no ev­i­dence that Angie has coached the kids.

The probe has been ex­haus­tive. “So­cial work­ers in­ves­ti­gated this mat­ter thor­oughly, in­ter­view­ing at least 20 wit­nesses, in­clud­ing half a dozen for­mer nan­nies,” says the source. They all failed to back up claims that Brad is an un­fit fa­ther. “For­mer and cur­rent nan­nies all have em­phat­i­cally said they have never wit­nessed any phys­i­cal abuse or any­thing in­ap­pro­pri­ate,” adds the source. One ex-child­care worker, who’s also a teacher, “be­came in­censed dur­ing ques­tion­ing be­cause she thought so­cial work­ers were ac­cus­ing her of not re­port­ing [abuse]. She pointed out that un­der Cal­i­for­nia law, she is a manda­tory re­porter of any abuse, phys­i­cal or emo­tional, be­cause she is a teacher. But there was never any­thing to re­port. She didn’t agree with how the fam­ily was con-

Brad is com­pletely on board with do­ing what­ever DCFS rec­om­mends, while Angie isn’t”

— A SOURCE WITH KNOWL­EDGE OF THE IN­VES­TI­GA­TION

stantly mov­ing around the world but said no, there was never any abuse.”

But the ex­panded probe did ex­pose other trou­bling in­for­ma­tion. “It came out dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion that the kids would them­selves get into phys­i­cal fights. Some in­for­ma­tion in­di­cated Angie would do noth­ing to in­ter­vene,” says the source. “This was deeply up­set­ting to Brad when he would hear about it af­ter the fact.”

The next steps will be im­por­tant as the frac­tured clan fig­ures out its new nor­mal. “Though Brad has had another visit with four of the kids,” says the source, “Mad­dox and Pax didn’t want to go. But the kids have been in ther­apy and it does seem to be help­ing.” DCFS wants the fam­ily to keep that up. “DCFS will be mak­ing rec­om­men­da­tions since the case isn’t be­ing re­ferred to child de­pen­dency court and in­stead will play out in fam­ily court,” ex­plains the source. “The goal is to bring the fam­ily back to­gether and move for­ward with a plan of heal­ing. Coun­sel­ing will def­i­nitely be among the rec­om­men­da­tions, along with co-par­ent­ing classes for Brad and Angie.” Other rec­om­men­da­tions, says the same source with knowl­edge of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, are for Brad and An­gelina “to main­tain a team of nan­nies who aren’t fired af­ter only sev­eral days. There is con­stant chaos in the kids’ lives, and hav­ing a ro­tat­ing stream of nan­nies just adds to that.”

An­gelina still thinks she de­serves sole phys­i­cal cus­tody. But her chances of get­ting that per­ma­nently hinge on her prov­ing that Brad is an un­fit par­ent. “She would have to prove that [Brad] is an ab­sen­tee fa­ther and re­ally isn’t around and that she’s the one do­ing all the var­i­ous daily grind and day-to-day stuff with the kids,” Goldie Schon, a fam­ily law at­tor­ney in LA who doesn’t rep­re­sent the Jolie-pitts, tells In Touch. “She has to prove that when he is with the chil­dren, he’s plac­ing them in dan­ger or isn’t able to take care of them, or when he’s not with the chil­dren, that he’s plac­ing him­self in dan­ger. And if she can’t prove that to a judge, whether it’s through a pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor, videos, pic­tures or other peo­ple who are around him stand­ing up and be­ing a wit­ness for her, her chances are slim.”

An­gelina isn’t giv­ing up. She’s pre­pared to spill all of Brad’s se­crets in court, says the first in­sider. “When he tries to ar­gue that he de­serves joint cus­tody, she’s go­ing to op­pose that,” the in­sider says. “And then all of the things he wants to keep out of the press are go­ing to come out in court.” The source close to Brad and An­gelina says she’s on edge . “It’s tak­ing her army of ad­vis­ers to keep her from los­ing it.” Brad also has had enough. “He hates that he’s not hav­ing day-to-day in­ter­ac­tion with his chil­dren and is to­tally con­sumed with get­ting joint cus­tody,” adds the source. “He’s counting the days un­til he can be with his kids again. They mean ev­ery­thing to him.” ◼

With Za­hara and Shiloh in 2015 With Za­hara in 2006 With Mad­dox in 2006 With Mad­dox in 2008 With Vivi­enne and Knox in 2015

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