Here's What Happened Between Brad And Angelina On That Flight

After 12 years together and two years of marriage, Angelina Jolie split in September 2016. Rumors quickly spread that Pitt was abusive to the kids, with Jolie allegedly leaving him due to concerns about his parenting following an incident on a flight. What exactly went down?

Brad, Angelina, and Maddox got in a fight

Pitt and Jolie allegedly had an argument on a flight from France to Los Angeles, although it's unknown what the fight was about or how it started. TMZ reports that it's unclear whether Pitt and Jolie fought on their own before the incident or whether Maddox was acting up on the flight to begin with, serving as a catalyst for their argument. A source told Us Weekly that Pitt was arguing with Jolie when Maddox "got in Pitt's face" to defend his mother.

It may or may not have gotten physical

TMZ notes that at some point, the now-estranged couple began to argue, and Maddox jumped in to defend Jolie. Pitt allegedly lunged at Maddox, and Jolie jumped in to intervene and block Pitt from making physical contact with the 15-year-old boy. It's unknown whether Pitt made contact with Maddox deliberately or accidentally.

Brad may have been drinking

Pitt allegedly got drunk on the flight, but sources debate as to when he was actually under the influence. TMZ reports that multiple sources told them different stories: Jolie claims Pitt was sober when the plane took off, then got drunk on the flight afterward. However, sources close to Pitt say he was drunk during the argument. TMZ also reported that Pitt continued his alleged drunken tantrum on the tarmac after the flight landed, even trying to leave in a fuel truck.

There's allegedly video of the incident

Us Weekly reports that Pitt and Jolie's argument on the flight was captured on camera. Sources told the tabloid that Pitt can be seen "looking drunk," with one insider noting, "Brad is seen yelling a lot during it, but nothing physical...He got drunk and was fighting with Angie."

Angelina went on a press offensive about the incident and Brad's parenting

Page Six reports that Jolie's members of camp, specifically advisers Lady Arminka Helic (a member of the UK House of Lords) and Chloe Dalton, a Hague aide, are deliberately portraying Pitt as a villain in the media. "They have been calling all the networks and news outlets, placing stories that he was cheating, drunk, on drugs, out of control and abusive, which Brad denies," a source said. "They were with Angelina in L.A. as she filed for divorce, and advised her how to handle things last week, which was basically a scorched-earth approach...It's no coincidence that since they went back to London, things have calmed down."A second insider claimed, "Their last move was to urge news outlets to obtain the video of Brad allegedly losing his s— on the tarmac. But that video didn't surface, or doesn't exist."

Biographer Ian Halperin agreed, telling Entertainment Tonight, "Everybody, including Brad, was shocked that she lawyered up. They had a mutual agreement to work it out through mediation, but Angie, being the strong character that she is, she wanted to have the upper hand and come out swinging and make Brad look like the fall guy. Brad has told friends he is crushed, because he doesn't want to trash the mother of his children and he wants to work it out behind the scenes and to put on a brave face."

Investigations ensued

Pitt was reportedly investigated for child abuse following the incident. The FBI told E! News, "In response to your inquiry regarding allegations within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States; specifically, an aircraft carrying Mr. Brad Pitt and his children, the FBI is continuing to gather facts and will evaluate whether an investigation at the federal level will be pursued."

Insiders told E! News that Pitt was "cooperating fully" with DCFS and law enforcement at the time and that he took the matter "very seriously and did not commit any abuse towards his children." He was cleared of the investigation in November 2016, according to Vanity Fair.

...but probably won't amount to much

TMZ reports that Pitt likely won't be prosecuted for several reasons: no one filed a police report after the incident, Maddox had no injuries, there are conflicting stories about whether or not Pitt intentionally struck Maddox, and it's difficult to determine where the line is drawn between child abuse and parental discipline in general.

Experts agreed at People. Family law specialist Stephanie I. Blum explained that DCFS investigations are mandatory whenever a report is filed, whether or not there's truth to said reports, noting, "A representative of DCFS will advise the individual of the complaints/allegations against him or her but will do so in such a way as to protect the identity of the reporting individual."

Criminal lawyer David Kubiliun told the magazine, "I find it very hard to believe that they would take action with the facts that have been presented, given the fact that I don't believe the child received any injuries. As a parent, you can use certain types of punishment. Obviously, you can't push them to the extent that they'll sustain an injury or something in that nature." He added, "From the facts that I know, the child didn't sustain any injuries and he may have just pushed him away in the incident, so I don't think that would rise to the level of any kind of charges being brought, not only by the federal authorities but the state authorities as well."

Brad was kept from seeing his kids

After the incident, sources told People that Pitt had become estranged from all six of his children (Maddox, Pax, 13, Zahara, 11, Shiloh, 10, and Knox and Vivienne, 8). "Brad still hasn't seen the kids," an insider said. "He is talking about seeing the kids next week." The source added, "Angelina and Brad have not been in contact at all. He is just wrecked by this. He was willing to do anything, change any habit, change any lifestyle, to do what had to be done to make this work. And by 'make this work,' that means doing what has to be done to make even a split one that is amicable and in the best interests of the children."

Pitt planned on fighting for joint custody, TMZ reported, and Jolie's reps told E! News that her sole physical custody of the kids was only meant to be temporary. Whatever the case, the couple reached an agreement on their divorce in January 2017. He also recently and secretly visited Jolie and their kids while Jolie was filming a movie in Cambodia.

The incident wasn't the only reason for the divorce

Sources told Us Weekly that Pitt and Jolie hadn't seen eye to eye for some time, especially in regards to parenting, so the split was a long time coming—and that the plane incident is likely a handy story for Jolie to use in her favor. "Brad only found out about the divorce decision [the day before]," an insider said. "[Jolie] did try to make it work, but her kids come first, and she couldn't let them see Mommy and Daddy like this. The fighting got worse, and they disagreed a lot about parenting and a lot of things."

Insiders told People that Jolie was more lax with the children, whereas Pitt advocated for rules and structure. "[They] always had disagreements when it came to disciplining the kids. Brad has always been stricter. Brad will get frustrated sometimes and yell at the kids...[Pitt] never used any kind of physical discipline. He was more about having rules. Angelina always had a more relaxed attitude when it came to the kids....Angelina would plea, or not make the kids follow though [with rules]." Another source dished, "He is one of the best dads I have ever known. He's very good at keeping things calm and telling them how they should be behaving, reminding them to be kind, to be respectful to each other. He has always been there for the kids."

Further corroborating the theory that Jolie had a breakup planned in advance? The Daily Mail reports that Jolie rented her new $95,000 a month bachelorette pad three weeks before she filed for divorce from Pitt. If you'll recall, reports initially said she listed her date of separation as only one day after the plane incident, Sept. 15, 2016—which means either someone's math is wrong or Jolie was looking for an easy out for a long time.

She took the kids and got out of a bad situation

A source told Us Weekly in May 2017 that Pitt was in fact boozing on the flight, and that Jolie got fed up with it. "[Pitt] was drinking heavily," the insider said. About an hour before the couple and their kids made a brief landing to refuel their private jet in Minnesota, an irate Jolie told Pitt to "stop boozing and sober up." When he refused and grew belligerent, Maddox got involved, and it got ugly.

"As the plane came in for a landing [in LA], Jolie texted a travel coordinator to hire extra cars to ferry her and the couple's six children to a hotel in an attempt to diffuse the situation with Pitt," the print edition of magazine claimed (via the New Zealand Herald). "Pitt hopped into a separate vehicle and traveled to an undisclosed location without his family."

The insider claimed Jolie didn't want to get police involved due to the media circus it would have created, but that one of the pilots likely overheard the fight, which is why the FBI got involved.

The report was released around the same time as a GQ Style profile of Pitt, who told the magazine that he had quit drinking.