The end of Brangelina

2016-09-25 06:06
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were a Hollywood power couple. Picture: Sean Gallup / Getty images

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were a Hollywood power couple. Picture: Sean Gallup / Getty images

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More than 800 000 American couples get divorced each year.

Some, such as the reported divorce of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, will get a bit more attention than others. But one fact remains true about all types of marriage: about half end in divorce.

The number of divorces in the US soared in the 1970s and 1980s as the baby-boomer generation entered adulthood.

More recently, the annual divorce rate has fallen, but that’s largely because fewer people are getting married and doing so at later ages.

Assuming millennials follow more or less the same pattern as their boomer and Generation X parents, about half of American marriages will continue to end in divorce, according to a recent estimate by University of Maryland sociology professor Philip Cohen.

Sociologists have spent decades trying to understand why so many marriages end. New research suggests the reasons for divorce are changing, as the roles of men and women changed at work and at home.

Multiple studies have found that about two-thirds of all divorces are initiated by women.

“We sometimes have the idea that it’s always men leaving women, but that’s only in a third of cases,” said New York University sociology professor Paula England.

But just because you filed the paperwork doesn’t mean you somehow “caused” the divorce, England noted.

“She may be leaving because he had an affair,” she said. Or, “he was unemployed and got violent”. (Same-sex marriage was not legal nationwide in the US until last year, so almost all academic studies of divorce look only at heterosexual couples.)

A 17-year study asked more than 2 000 people about their marriages. If the couples got divorced – and, from 1980 to 1997, 274 did split up – they were asked: “What do you think caused the divorce?”

In one 2003 study, researchers put those answers into 18 categories.

Infidelity was the most common cause cited by women, while men most commonly said the couple were incompatible.

That’s not enough for sociologists, who want to know the deeper reasons so many marriages have stopped working.

Some factors can make divorce more likely without being a direct cause of break-up.

For example, gender roles can affect a couple’s likelihood of divorce, even if violating traditional roles isn’t as dangerous for a marriage as it used to be.

While couples who were married before 1975 were more likely to split up if they divided housework equally, a study in last month’s American Sociological Review found that housework hasn’t been much of a factor for marriages that started since then.

The expectations on men in a marriage have changed less over the past four decades, according to the study by Alexandra Killewald, a Harvard University professor.

Men are still expected to be the breadwinners, she found; couples were one-third more likely to break up if husbands weren’t working.

Women, meanwhile, are more likely to get divorced if they have jobs.

But according to a 2011 study in the American Journal of Sociology, this has less to do with traditional gender roles and more to do with independence.

Having a job “increases divorce because it provides a way for women deeply unsatisfied with their marriages to support themselves outside marriage”, it reported.

Americans are getting divorced a lot more frequently than they did 50 years ago, but that’s not necessarily because they’re less happy. They may just have more ways to escape from unhappy marriages. – Bloomberg

THE BIG SPLIT

WHAT WE KNOW AND DON’T KNOW

The news that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are no more was certainly a shocker.

Not only did it rock Hollywood – along with an actual earthquake – but it stunned fans around the world who had embraced the supercouple and their six children.

The dust has settled a bit, so let’s sort out what we know and what we don’t:

JOLIE MADE THE MOVE

The actress filed divorce paperwork on Monday through her lawyer, Laura Wasser, citing “irreconcilable differences”.

Jolie asked for a few things, including some personal property and physical custody of their children.

ABOUT THE KIDS

Jolie has requested joint legal custody, which would give Pitt a say in decisions about their children: Maddox (15); Pax (12); Zahara (11); Shiloh (10); and twins Knox and Vivienne (8).

But Jolie is seeking physical custody of them, with Pitt receiving visitation rights. Pitt has the option to fight that and move to share physical custody.

The couple have tried to shield their children as much as possible from the fame machine.

In June, Jolie shared a rare update with Vanity Fair.

She said the children had been busy. “Shi is learning Khmai, which is a Cambodian language, Pax is focusing on Vietnamese, Mad has taken to German and Russian, Z is speaking French, Vivienne really wanted to learn Arabic, and Knox is learning sign language.

“None of my kids wants to be actors,” Jolie said. “They are actually interested in being musicians.”

WAS THERE A PRE NUP?

As two of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Jolie and Pitt command big salaries.

Not to mention that Jolie has moved into writing and directing, while Pitt has a production company. Both have picked up endorsements over the years.

Forbes has estimated that since their marriage, in 2014, they have earned about $117.5 million (R1.6 billion) together.

Neither has commented on whether there was a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

WHAT BRAD AND ANGELINA HAVE HAD TO SAY

On Tuesday, Pitt released a statement to CNN. “I am very saddened by this, but what matters most now is the wellbeing of our kids,” he said.

“I kindly ask the press to give them the space they deserve during this challenging time.”

Robert Offer, a lawyer for Jolie, also released a statement. “This decision was made for the health of the family. She will not be commenting at this time.”

WHAT NOW?

A high-profile divorce is just like any other divorce in that once the legal process begins, it is up to the attorneys and the couple to sort out everything, from finances to custody.

The difference with Pitt and Jolie is that the world will be watching. – Lisa Respers France, CNN

January 2005: Brad Pitt and Friends star Jennifer Aniston separate amid rumours that he and Jolie had an affair while filming spy action thriller Mr and Mrs Smith.

Neither party confirmed the rumours.

April 2005: Photos appear in the media of Pitt with Jolie and her adopted Cambodian son, Maddox, vacationing together in Kenya.

January 2006: Representatives for Jolie and Pitt confirm to People magazine that the actress is pregnant with Pitt’s child, the first time the couple acknowledged their relationship publicly.

A Los Angeles judge grants Jolie’s request for Pitt to become the adoptive father of Maddox and daughter Zahara, changing their last names to Jolie-Pitt.

May 2006: The couple’s first biological child, a girl named Shiloh Nouvel, is born in Namibia.

July 2008: Jolie gives birth to the couple’s twins, Vivienne Marcheline and Knox Leon, in southern France.

September 2011: Pitt appeared on Ellen DeGeneres’ show while promoting the movie Moneyball to discuss marriage plans with Jolie. “I’ve said that we would not be getting married until everyone in this country had the right to get married,” he said.

April 2012: Jolie and Pitt announce their engagement after she is spotted wearing a large diamond ring designed by Pitt.

May 2013: Jolie reveals in an op-ed in The New York Times that she underwent a double mastectomy after learning she had inherited a high risk of breast cancer.

She said she made the decision in part to reassure her children that she would not die young from cancer, as her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, did at age 56 in 2007.

August 2014: Jolie and Pitt quietly marry in a small ceremony at their Chateau Miraval estate in France. All six children took part and Jolie wore an Atelier Versace white dress featuring colourful designs drawn by her children.

November 2015: Jolie and Pitt appear at the premiere of By The Sea, a drama directed and written by Jolie in which they play a married couple drifting apart.

September 2016: Jolie files for divorce from Pitt in a Los Angeles court, citing irreconcilable differences and requesting sole physical custody of the children. Pitt responded with a statement to People magazine saying he was “very saddened”. – Reuters

January 2005: Brad Pitt and Friends star Jennifer Aniston separate amid rumours that he and Jolie had an affair while filming spy action thriller Mr and Mrs Smith.

Neither party confirmed the rumours.

April 2005: Photos appear in the media of Pitt with Jolie and her adopted Cambodian son, Maddox, vacationing together in Kenya.

January 2006: Representatives for Jolie and Pitt confirm to People magazine that the actress is pregnant with Pitt’s child, the first time the couple acknowledged their relationship publicly.

A Los Angeles judge grants Jolie’s request for Pitt to become the adoptive father of Maddox and daughter Zahara, changing their last names to Jolie-Pitt.

May 2006: The couple’s first biological child, a girl named Shiloh Nouvel, is born in Namibia.

July 2008: Jolie gives birth to the couple’s twins, Vivienne Marcheline and Knox Leon, in southern France.

September 2011: Pitt appeared on Ellen DeGeneres’ show while promoting the movie Moneyball to discuss marriage plans with Jolie. “I’ve said that we would not be getting married until everyone in this country had the right to get married,” he said.

April 2012: Jolie and Pitt announce their engagement after she is spotted wearing a large diamond ring designed by Pitt.

May 2013: Jolie reveals in an op-ed in The New York Times that she underwent a double mastectomy after learning she had inherited a high risk of breast cancer.

She said she made the decision in part to reassure her children that she would not die young from cancer, as her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, did at age 56 in 2007.

August 2014: Jolie and Pitt quietly marry in a small ceremony at their Chateau Miraval estate in France. All six children took part and Jolie wore an Atelier Versace white dress featuring colourful designs drawn by her children.

November 2015: Jolie and Pitt appear at the premiere of By The Sea, a drama directed and written by Jolie in which they play a married couple drifting apart.

September 2016: Jolie files for divorce from Pitt in a Los Angeles court, citing irreconcilable differences and requesting sole physical custody of the children. Pitt responded with a statement to People magazine saying he was “very saddened”. – Reuters

Read more on:    angelina jolie  |  brad pitt  |  divorce

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