US actress Angelina Jolie claims that on a 2016 flight, her then-husband Brad Pitt grabbed her by the head and shook her, then choked one of their children and struck another when they tried to defend her, a court filing shows.
The descriptions of abuse on the private flight came in a cross-complaint Jolie filed in their dispute over a French home and winery they co-owned, which is separate from their ongoing divorce.
A representative for Pitt strongly denied Jolie’s allegations, calling them “another rehash that only harms the family”.
The allegations of abuse became public shortly after the flight, but details were kept sealed in divorce documents and investigations by the FBI and Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.
Both agencies found that no action against Pitt was necessary.
A judge gave the actor 50-50 custody of the children after a closed-door trial in which the allegations were aired.
But an appeals court disqualified the private judge for not disclosing possible conflicts of interest after a motion from Jolie, nullifying the decision.
More details of the allegations were revealed this year when a lawsuit Jolie filed against the FBI over a Freedom of Information Act request was made public.
The New York Times first reported the filing.
It says that on September 14, 2016, Jolie, Pitt and their six children were travelling from the winery, Chateau Miraval, south of France, to Los Angeles, California.
“Pitt’s aggressive behaviour started even before the family got to the airport, with Pitt having a confrontation with one of the children,” the filing says.
“After the flight took off, Jolie approached Pitt and asked him what was wrong. Pitt accused her of being too deferential to the children and verbally attacked her.”
The filing says that later, “he pulled her into the bathroom and began yelling at her.
“Pitt grabbed Jolie by the head and shook her, and then grabbed her shoulders and shook her again before pushing her into the bathroom wall.”
One of the children, who were between 8 and 15 years old at the time, verbally defended Jolie, the countersuit says, and Pitt lashed out.
“Pitt lunged at his own child and Jolie grabbed him from behind to stop him,” it said.
“To get Jolie off his back, Pitt threw himself backwards into the airplane’s seats, injuring Jolie’s back and elbow.
“The children rushed in and all bravely tried to protect each other. Before it was over, Pitt choked one of the children and struck another in the face.”
The document says he later poured beer on Jolie, and beer and red wine on the children.