“There’s so many allegations,” the legal expert — who is not affiliated with either party — exclusively told Us Weekly. “You’ve got family law, you’ve got custody, there’s allegations of abuse, and obviously, you have a very valuable chateau that the two are fighting over.”
In February 2022, Pitt, 59, filed a lawsuit against Jolie, 48, claiming she illegally sold her shares in the French winery Château Miraval after previously agreeing not to do so without each other’s approval. In court documents obtained by Us earlier this month, the Bullet Train actor alleged that his ex-wife — who filed for divorce from him in September 2016 after two years of marriage — began negotiations for Pitt to buy her stake in the property in 2019 amid their divorce proceedings.
Pitt claimed those talks fell apart after the Eternals actress began her fight for the custody of their six children — Maddox, 21, Pax, 19, Zahara, 18, Shiloh, 17, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 14. She has since decided to sell 50 percent of her share to Yuri Shefler — the owner of the Russia-affiliated spirits conglomerate Tenute del Mondo. Pitt alleged that Jolie’s decision was made “vindictively” as he was never given the chance to match or outbid her offer.
“What Brad is arguing here is there was an agreement — it seems like it’s the handwritten, back of the napkin type agreement — where Angelina said ‘I wouldn’t do it,’” Rahmani explained to Us. “But also, what he’s arguing here is, well, even if Angelina could sell to a third party, he had a right of first refusal. He could match any offer, and Angelina didn’t give him the opportunity to do so.”
Now that Pitt is “trying to unwind the sale,” Rahmani said the Babylon star’s best outcome would be to get “the entire chateau to himself, or at least the opportunity to buy out Angelina.” If not, his second-best result would be to receive money from Jolie in damages.
“This is his estate. This is where he got married,” Rahmani continued. “Apparently, he wants to retire there. I don’t think he wants to be sharing it or have a Russian oligarch as a roommate.”
If the legal battle goes to court, Rahmani told Us there’s a chance both Pitt and Jolie could lose out on what they want. “Sometimes when the court can’t [decide], they might order just to sell. They might auction it off to a third party and have everyone just be paid out,” he stated. “That’s not one of those situations where you’re a kid and you draw a line in the middle of the room with your siblings. It’s hard if you’re in some sort of dispute with a co-owner of a big property.”
If the two don’t come to an agreement soon, Rahmani said he could see their case escalate to the level of another infamous celebrity trial. “This may end up being the next Johnny Depp, Amber Heard-type case because these two don’t like each other, there’s a lot of money at stake, the allegations are serious and I don’t see a resolution happening anytime soon,” he stated.
Depp, 59, and Heard, 37, began their highly publicized defamation lawsuit in 2019 after the Aquaman actress wrote about her experience with domestic abuse in a 2018 op-ed for The Washington Post, without naming Depp. Upon going to trial, their case was televised in 2022, with both stars taking to the stand to testify against each other.
Heard lost the case in June 2022 as a jury determined that she “acted with actual malice” when defaming the Pirates of the Caribbean star. She appealed the verdict that August, with Depp filing one of his own in November. Heard announced via Instagram in December 2022 that she and the Edward Scissorhands star had settled their case.
“The vilification I have faced on social media is an amplified version of the ways in which women are re-victimized when they come forward,” she wrote at the time. “Now I finally have an opportunity to emancipate myself from something I attempted to leave over six years ago and on terms I can agree to. I have made no admission. This is not an act of concession. There are no restrictions or gags with respect to my voice going forward.”
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi