Peace talks

Ange’s change of heart

Woman’s Day (NZ) - - Woman’s Day This Week -

Wear­ing a plung­ing, vin­tage-style dress and a slick of red lip­stick, dark tresses flow­ing and skin shim­mer­ing as if she’d never had a bad night’s sleep in her life, An­gelina Jolie looked like she didn’t have a care in the world at a char­ity event in Lon­don last week.

Her breezy de­meanour was a sur­prise to many at the glitzy gala. Af­ter months of strug­gling to put on a brave face as her bit­ter cus­tody battle with Brad Pitt dragged on, the Os­car win­ner was fi­nally due for a show­down in court with her es­tranged hus­band in a mat­ter of days.

But the rea­son for her cool, calm and col­lected smile was sim­ple – An­gelina, 43, and Brad, 54, have post­poned their trial in the hope they can still come to a pri­vate agree­ment over the cus­tody of their six chil­dren.

The once-smit­ten cou­ple were all set to face off in a Los An­ge­les court­room on De­cem­ber 4, with both sides pre­pared to spill each other’s dark­est se­crets in an ef­fort to get what they wanted. In An­gelina’s case, that meant full cus­tody of Mad­dox, 17, Pax, 14, Za­hara, 13, Shiloh, 12, and twins Vivi­enne and Knox, 10, while her ex Brad sim­ply wanted shared cus­tody of their brood.

The fact the war­ring for­mer love­birds have agreed to put aside more time to set­tle their dif­fer­ences is good news for the FightClub ac­tor.

“It’s likely An­gelina will back down and agree to give Brad a sub­stan­tial amount of time,” an in­sider fa­mil­iar with the case tells Woman’s Day. “They’ve pulled them­selves back from the brink and it can only mean that she is at last will­ing to com­pro­mise.”

Kids come­first

And in­deed, a source close to the su­per­stars – who split in 2016 af­ter Brad and Mad­dox al­legedly got into an al­ter­ca­tion aboard a pri­vate plane – tells us it was a last-minute ap­peal from the ac­tor that se­cured the cou­ple ex­tra time to work things out be­hind closed doors.

Un­der Cal­i­for­nia law, each child would have been re­quired to take the stand and Brad im­plored his es­tranged wife not to put the kids through the or­deal. Our source says, “He reached out, hop­ing to per­suade Angie that the hear­ing would cause last­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal dam­age to their chil­dren and it worked. He loves his chil­dren more than any­thing.”

A sec­ond in­sider adds, “Now they’re do­ing ev­ery­thing in their power to avoid this trial. They know that if they don’t, it’s go­ing to turn into a me­dia cir­cus – not to men­tion what it will do to the kids. It’s not go­ing to be an easy battle to set­tle, but at least they’re talk­ing to each other, be­ing civil and will­ing to co­op­er­ate. It seems they’ve nar­rowly avoided a pub­lic show­down for now.”

Mean­while, a friend of Brad’s spills that the star has been so buoyed by the post­pone­ment, he is now hop­ing An­gelina and the chil­dren will join him for Christ­mas.

The ac­tor has out­fit­ted his LA pad with slides, a skate ramp, a tree house and swings in prepa­ra­tion for the day he can once again be a hands-on dad. “He’s sug­gested to Angie that she come over with the kids on De­cem­ber 25 for some fam­ily time,” says the pal.

“It’s a real olive branch. He wants to cook them a big fes­tive hol­i­day din­ner with all the trim­mings and have piles of presents un­der the tree for every­one to open. Brad’s des­per­ate for them to bury the hatchet and the kids are very keen on the idea, but Angie isn’t sure.”

Strug­glea­head

We’re told the cou­ple, who never signed a prenup­tial agree­ment, have given them­selves an ex­tra six months to come to an agree­ment over cus­tody. They will then move on to ne­go­ti­at­ing their fi­nan­cial set­tle­ment. But if they fail to come to an ar­range­ment re­gard­ing the kids, it will be back to court for what will likely be the most ex­plo­sive di­vorce hear­ing in Hol­ly­wood his­tory.

Our source re­veals An­gelina’s brother James Haven could be among g those to give ev­i­dence and his tes­ti­mony could, in fact, could hin­der her chances of ob­tain­ing full phys­i­cal cus­tody. James, 45, used to work for his sis­ter as her head nanny, but she re­port­edly fired him last year and there are whis­pers he’s now will­ing to spill about how An­gelina tried to sab­o­tage age Brad by leak­ing the de­tails tails of their split.

Mean­while, , if Mad­dox takes the stand, d, “he’s ex­pected to talk lk about why he doesn’t ’t want to spend any time me with his dad”, says our source. “It’ll likely be in­cred­i­bly painful for Brad.” ad.”

As Brangelina’s na’s di­vorce grinds on, in an era of am­i­ca­ble splits s and “con­scious un­cou­pling”, cou­pling”, many in Hol­ly­wood wood are ask­ing how things hings ever got this bad. And a thought should d also be spared for the cou­ple’s pri­vate judge, John Oud­erkirk, who ho will sign off on the e fi­nal cus­tody agree­ment ment – he just hap­pens ns to be the same of­fi­cial ffi­cial who con­ducted ed their in­ti­mate wed­ding ding cer­e­mony in France in 2014!

She’s all smiles! The Malef­i­cent star looked stress-free and stylish in Lon­don last week as she min­gled with guests, in­clud­ing So­phie, Count­ess of Wes­sex (be­low right). b t b c n sB h p h c f

Ange and the kids (from left, Shiloh, Knox and Vivi­enne) were spot­ted tak­ing the dog for a sunny stroll last week. Brad, who was seen last week at an event in China, hopes to spend the hol­i­day with his chil­dren.

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