“We had met working together and we worked together well,” Jolie told The Hollywood Reporter’s podcast, Awards Chatter, of joining forces with Pitt on 2015’s By the Sea, which she also directed and wrote. “I wanted us to do some serious work together… I thought it would be a good way for us to communicate.”
The couple, who were together for 12 years and married for two, met while filming their 2005 film Mr. & Mrs. Smith, when Pitt was still married to Jennifer Aniston. Jolie filed for divorce from Pitt in September 2016 following an alleged incident on a plane between the actor and their son Maddox. The FBI investigated allegations of child abuse against the Oscar-winning actor, but later cleared him.
“In some ways it was [good for communication] and in some ways we learned some things,” Jolie continued of working on the film, which tells the story of a wealthy couple whose marriage is in crisis. “But there was a heaviness probably during that situation that carried on and it wasn’t because of the film.”
Jolie added that the film’s subjects may have been reflective of the private issues they were dealing with at the time. “It was something that we were dealing [with]… things happen for different reasons,” she said. “Why did I write that exact piece? Why did we feel that way when we made it? I’m not sure.”
While the collaboration didn’t have the outcome Jolie desired, she said that the former couple did learn from the experience. “A piece of art can be something that’s healing or something that’s difficult,” she said. “I don’t know. I’m glad we did that film because we did explore something together. Whatever it was maybe it didn’t solve certain things, but we did communicate something that needed to be communicated to each other.”
Six months after their contentious split, a source told Us Weekly that the couple began speaking again in an effort to peacefully coparent their six children Maddox, 16, Pax, 14, Zahara, 12, Shiloh, 11, and twins Vivienne and Knox, 9. Still, the actress admitted in September that moving on hasn’t been an easy process. “It’s been difficult. I don’t enjoy being single. It’s not something I wanted,” Jolie told the Sunday Telegraph in an interview published on September 3. “There’s nothing nice about it. It’s just hard.”