Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were once heralded as Hollywood’s favorite power couple. From shunning traditional views on marriage to championing adoption, Brangelina only seemed to go from strength to strength. But behind closed doors, their marriage was crumbling away and eventually coming to a screeching halt in 2016. And though the dust had begun to settle from their mysterious break-up, shocking allegations and lengthy legal battles seem to have revealed what really drove them apart.
A controversial start
So how did a couple who, on the face of things, had it all go from being one of the world's most adored couples to stars of a very real, and very disturbing, real-life soap opera? When Brad and Angelina first met on the set of Mr. & Mrs. Smith in 2004, their spark was undeniable. As we all know, though, Pitt was still married to Jennifer Aniston at this point. A rocky start that wasn't much helped by the fact that Jolie was fresh out of her previous marriage to Billy Bob Thornton. With speculation rife, the pair were embroiled in a whirlwind of tabloid scrutiny right from the start.
"I could not look at myself"
Despite Jolie's insistence that she and Brad only got together after his split from Aniston, the timing led many to believe that there was a crossover. After living through the messy aftermath of her father's adultery, Jolie has remained firm on her stance towards cheating, "I could not, could not look at myself in the morning if I did that." Although she's admitted that she and Brad started falling for each other while he was still married, even that was enough to cause a feeding frenzy for the public.
A sign of things to come
Naturally, fans rushed to take sides, with many dubbing themselves as either "Team Angie" or "Team Jen." Undeterred by the controversy that tainted the start of their romance, Pitt and Jolie went on to enjoy a picture-perfect relationship — at least, that's how it seemed. As their love blossomed, things progressed at speed. Just one year after getting together, Pitt officially adopted Jolie’s children, Maddox and Zahara. And soon after, they expanded their family to include Shiloh, Pax, and twins Knox and Vivienne. In light of the facts, perhaps signs of their downward spiral were lurking just below the surface all along.
The marriage secret
Still, although Pitt and Jolie made regular appearances together on the red carpet, away from the glare of camera bulbs, the couple liked to keep their personal lives strictly private. For starters, there was the whole 'are they aren't they' speculation surrounding their engagement. And then take their wedding, for example. Although the 2014 celebration at the family's now much-contested Château Miraval venue was a low-key affair — all the kids took the main jobs, even down to the cake — there was a secret the pair were holding on to.