By Kelsey Duchesne
In the last week, it has been reported that Angelina Jolie went through 4 hours of questioning with the FBI in regards to an incident on a plane on September 14th with her husband, Brad Pitt. It is believed that immediately after that incident, Jolie filed for divorce, and is now reportedly fighting for custody. The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services has expanded their investigation on the safety of the Pitt-Jolie children, and specifically what happened between Pitt and the oldest of the brood, 15 year old Maddox. As the reports become more dense, dark, and just plain ‘ol sad, the media, from 24 cycles to the tabloid stand at CVS, continued to write lofty pieces when no flowery writing or plot twists were necessarily. The few facts we knew were already devastating enough.
As someone who loves celebrity culture and convinced my kind bosses to let me create a newsletter around it, the Jolie-Pitt divorce has made me particularly weary. I haven’t written about it until now, aside from suggesting that people keep Jennifer Aniston out of the equation (update: didn’t work), but I haven’t had much to say about the divorce itself.
This story doesn't feel okay to write about for many reasons. It's because my parents went through a bad divorce, and I remember feeling like friends and family were watching closely, trying to soak up an inside information. It's because this divorce is circulating around an unsettling report that Pitt physically and verbally abused Maddox. It's because I know it’s because this divorce isn’t just “irreconcilable differences”, but that Jolie fears for her children's safety from the press and their own father.This isn’t fun. Writing about Jennifer Aniston's husbands perspective is irrelevant. Writing drippy details about the Jolie-Pitt homes being sold feels tacky. We’re a culture that soaks up pop culture, but when is it best to take a step back? We could start now.
On my favorite podcast, Jam Session, The Ringer’s Juliet Litman and Amanda Dobbins hash out the latest celebrity gossip, down to the detail (unsurprisingly to you and everyone else, this is incomparably soothing to me). When the divorce initially broke, they did an emergency Jam Session, proposing theories as to what went wrong. I listened to it twice, taking notes, comparing their ideas to my own theories. When the next Jam Session aired, the two took an entirely different tone, stating they were wrong. I was, too. Information about Brad and Maddox had surfaced, and Juliet and Amanda took a sombering tone to say that this wasn't a topic they were comfortable gleefully discussing or contemplating. I nodded along (by myself, on the train) agreeing that this wasn’t what the three of us wanted to continue to dissect. There will be no juicy big reveal. As Dobbins rightfully stated, there is no happy ending. As self-proclaimed pop culture aficionados, we need to know when to take a step back and redirect our focus.