Belfast Telegraph

Hollywood rife with rumours that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have split

By Amy Jenkins

The Jolie-Pitt split reports haven't been confirmed — but, tellingly, so far it hasn't been denied.

After five years and as many children, reports say Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are to split. Somehow it's the news we've all been waiting for. Because we have all been waiting — haven't we? Perhaps it was the way they got together, breaking another celeb heart, perhaps it was Angelina's volatile history, perhaps it was the frenetic way they acquired children — or perhaps it was just the whole crazy circus of it. But the thing had to end, didn't it?

With the Jolie-Pitt merger came the creation of a brand: ‘Brangelina’, we call it. The pair met on the set of the film Mr & Mrs Smith when Pitt was married to Jennifer Aniston, a woman who was, fascinatingly, the polar opposite of Angelina. Aniston was the star of Friends; Hollywood's kooky sweetheart. She was cheerful, straightforward and girl-next-door pretty. Angelina, on the other hand, was sultry, dangerous and as beautiful as a rare snake.

Here was a story, then. A story so gripping that, unfortunately, it eclipsed any of the films the couple subsequently appeared in. There was the fact that Aniston's heart was so publicly broken. And that, when the film came out, we could all go and watch Pitt and Jolie falling in love on the big screen. Add to this Angelina's history...

She is the estranged daughter of cool, hard-man actor Jon Voight. She had a dark side she chose to promote; talking about drug use and cutting herself in her teenage years. Her father even accused her publicly of having “mental problems”. Next came a tempestuous relationship with Billy Bob Thornton.

Even the film Brad and Angelina met on was wonderfully significant. In Mr & Mrs Smith they played a married couple who were assassins and who beat each other up in a misjudged parody of domestic violence. The film was awful but the chemistry between Pitt and Jolie was obvious. You got the feeling that Pitt had tried to be a good boy with Aniston, but he wasn't quite ready to grow up.

How ironic, then, that what Jolie actually turned out to be was Mom to the power of ten. The dangerous beauty led Pitt to a life of exaggerated domesticity, adopting and reproducing to end up with six children.

Pitt's career has been pretty much in the pits ever since. Jolie, arguably, has never made a good film, but Pitt had glory days in the 90s before his love life got to him. That's when he made Thelma and Louise, A River Runs Through It, Seven and Fight Club. The Noughties saw nothing to rival that list.

There's a moment in an actor's life — if he's not careful — when he, not the acting, becomes the story. Then he becomes the kind of actor who plays himself in cameos. And, sadly, I don't think Pitt in any way intended any of this. I don't think he sought to raise his profile by pairing with Jolie. I don't think he thought he'd check out of the acting game and make easy money selling his life to celebrity magazines. No — in many ways, this was injudicious love. Pitt was foolishly, lustfully, excitingly in love with the beautiful Angelina — and we all sensed a tragic Romeo and Juliet element to the story.

So there was a kind of inevitability to this unhappy ending. And yet we must also pause to rue the passing of Brangelina because this might possibly be the last great Hollywood relationship. The big-money movies star only their special effects (Avatar) and the smaller films that make it big tend to feature unknowns (Precious). There are no vehicles for the stars these days and if we don't have stars, then we're not going to have Hollywood glamour couples with conjoined names. And wasn't Brangelina by far the best when it came to conjoining?

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