Angelina Jolie Pitt’s decision to file for divorce from Brad Pitt may have come as a huge surprise. But with six children to consider, the issue must have been given a lot of thought.
Dr Roghy McCarthy is a Dubai-based clinical psychologist who offers counselling to couples and families. Although ‘Brangelina’ are a special case, the A-list couple will essentially be no different from other families who have reached the end of the line.
The Pitt-Jolies have six children, 15-year-old Maddox, 12-year-old Pax, 11-year-old Zahara, 10-year-old Shiloh, and eight-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne. Jolie is believed to be seeking custody, while asking the judge to give Pitt, 52, visitation rights.
Dr McCarthy said: “I am sure they thought about the children before deciding on divorce because quite simply, this is a unit the children belong to. Now the unit is going to separate and it is very difficult for children to adjust to.”
The Hollywood A-list couple had been together for 12 years after meeting on the set of 2005 movie Mr & Mrs Smith.
Both have already made mention of the children. The Big Short star Pitt released a statement to CNN which said: “I am very saddened by this, but what matters most now is the wellbeing of our kids.”
Jolie, 41, released a statement that said: “Angelina will always do what’s in the best interest to protect her children. She appreciates everyone’s understanding of their need for privacy at this time.”
A lawyer has said that Jolie’s decision was made for the ‘health of her family’ and Dr Roghy said: “Believe me, nobody wants to break a family. They will try just for the sake of family to keep the marriage. But if it doesn’t work and the marriage is so poisonous that it can damage the kids, this is the last option.
“Normally when people have made their decision to separate, they do it because staying with each other is damaging the children more.”
Dr Sheetal Kini, a clinical psychologist at LightHouse Arabia, agrees. She said: “Sometimes couples decide to stick together because of the stigma of divorce – they think being together is better than a broken home. But research suggests the opposite. Looking at a high conflict environment, children have fared much better going through a ‘good’ divorce. Divorce itself is not a destructive thing, it can be healthy for the family.”
This will be Pitt’s second divorce – he split from Jennifer Aniston in 2005 – while Jolie was previously married to Billy Bob Thornton and Jonny Lee Miller.
They may not be able to live together – Jolie cited ‘irreconcilable differences’ when she filed on Monday. But for the sake of the kids, Dr Roghy urges them to try to function as parents. She says: “If you cannot function as a couple, at least try to function harmoniously as parents. Children don’t want conflict and they want these two people to function as parents. Couples must try to keep their personal fight away from them and function properly as a good parent.”
Dr Sheetal adds: “The parents will always be family – they will always have the children in common. “People are expected to have a bad divorce and it’s a bad word. But it is possible to make it graceful and kind and generous and loving. Children can feel it, and they know the difference.”
What celebrities said…
Adele sends her love
Adele dedicated her Madison Square Garden show to Pitt and Jolie. The 28-year-old pop star performed at the famous New York venue on Tuesday and said she was playing the show for the Hollywood power couple, describing their split as “the end of an era”. Speaking at the show, the Hello hitmaker said: “Brangelina have broken up. I mean, I don’t like gossiping and I think private lives should be private but I feel like it’s the end of an era. “I’m dedicating this show to them because honestly, I’m really, really sad. Genuinely! “I don’t know them at all, but I was shocked when I woke up this morning, no word of a lie. I’m glad I spoke about that because it was playing on my mind.”
Jolie’s father Jon Voight admitted he was “concerned” for his daughter after the announcement was made. The Ray Donovan actor has not spoken to his daughter for a number of years but he said: “It’s very sad. Something very serious must have happened for Angie to make a decision like this. “I don’t know what it is. It’s a sad thing. Say a little prayer. I am concerned for Angie and the children and hopefully I will be seeing them very soon.”
Sad story, by George
George Clooney is “very sorry” to hear of the divorce. The 55-year-old actor has been a close friend of Pitt since they worked together on the set of Ocean’s Eleven in 2001, but has claimed he “didn’t know” anything about his split from Jolie. Speaking to CNN, the Money Monster actor said: “I didn’t know that. Wow. I feel very sorry then. That’s a sad story and unfortunate for a family. It’s an unfortunate story about a family. I feel very sorry to hear. That’s the first I’ve heard of it.”
Jamie Lee Curtis urged the public to give the couple privacy. The actress was appearing on talk show The View to promote upcoming series Scream Queens. The 57-year-old knows all about Hollywood heartache. Her parents, A-listers Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, divorced in 1962. The True Lies actress, who has been married to comedian Christopher Guest since 1984, said: “I do not support the public shaming of people who are public figures going through a divorce. I am a child of it and I can tell you it’s heartbreaking and painful enough without having to have a public scrutiny of it.”