For half of 2016, we lived in a vastly different world: Lemonade was just the name of a drink, “receipts” were simply pieces of paper and Brangelina still existed.
Then the fairy-tale romance that had dominated pop culture for over a decade exploded right in front of our eyes.
I am talking, of course, about the incident that took place on a private jet carrying the picture-perfect Jolie-Pitt family from the south of France to Los Angeles on Sept. 14 last year. Thanks to an ensuing FBI investigation, we know something happened during that long transatlantic flight. No need to dance around it.
Twelve months later, the family that used to divide their time between a wine-producing chateau in Provence, rented homes in European cities, and a sprawling L.A. mansion now lead starkly different lives.
Brad is understandably going through a major midlife reinvention—except rather than buying a brand new convertible, he recently spent 21 days and nights working on a clay sculpture while listening to Frank Ocean and drinking matcha green tea with a “harlequin froth.” Perfectly normal behavior for a 53-year-old man, obviously. (And we’re still dying to see the finished product.)
Angelina’s life seems to be less transformed on the surface at least. Donning the same monochrome outfit and barely there makeup, her composure is as controlled as ever and she looks to be a carbon copy of the once happily domesticated woman we have grown to know.
But while Brad has openly discussed the raw impact the sudden marital transition has had on him, “I get up every morning and I make a fire. When I go to bed, I make a fire, just because it makes me feel life”, some of Angelina’s recent interviews have missed the mark at making her seem vulnerable and in touch with other single moms.
While Brad’s new-found eccentricity is seen as liberating, the marriage separation seems to have stripped Angelina of the untouchable status she enjoyed when they were together.
The same happened with Brad’s previous marriage, too. The aftermath saw tabloids labeling Jennifer Aniston as being cold and heartless for refusing to give Brad what he had apparently always wanted, a baby, thus forcing him into the arms of another woman. I never believed the dialogue at the time, especially considering the renovation plans for Brad and Jennifer’s extensive Beverly Hills home included a large nursery.
As Brad and Angelina settled into new domestic bliss, the speed of which was giddying thanks to the adoption of Zahara just months later, newly single Brad became the patriarch in a family of four overnight. Then there was the addition of Shiloh and Pax and the rest is history.
More than 10 years later, the script is playing out almost the same. Despite all Brad’s best efforts to take the burden of blame off his ex, admitting to GQ he spent their final years together drinking too much, for many he remains the hero of the story while Angelina continues to be identified as the instigator.