Bradxit: 4 theories about the Brangelina celebrity break-up

Angelina Jolie whispers to Brad Pitt during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan 26, 2006. PHOTO: REUTERS

(THE NEW PAPER) - Farewell, Brangelina. Hello, Bradxit.

As the world continues to reel over the shocking news of US actress Angelina Jolie filing for divorce from US actor Brad Pitt after a 12-year romance (including two years of marriage), a plethora of theories from various sources have emerged, attempting to answer all our burning questions.

In her court documents dated Sept 15, Jolie, 41, cited irreconcilable differences for their split.

And in separate statements to the media, both parties have asked for privacy, with Pitt, 52, adding: "I am very saddened by this, but what matters most now is the well-being of our kids. I kindly ask the press to give them the space they deserve during this challenging time."

Hollywood's erstwhile golden couple have six children, three of whom are adopted (Maddox, 15, Pax, 12, and Zahara, 11) and three biological (Shiloh, 10, and eight-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne).

Reactions to the divorce came fast and furious, with many pointing a finger at Pitt, since Jolie was the one who initiated the break-up.

Her intention to have full physical custody of their six children, with visitation rights for Pitt, only adds to the unflattering picture being painted of him.

Her shock move allegedly blindsided Pitt, who is apparently "furious" at the unnecessary fallout.

Gossip website TMZ cited sources saying that he has blasted Jolie for "unleashing hell" and the media storm that will inevitably follow.

Pitt's ex-wife, US actress Jennifer Aniston, 47, has reportedly commented that the failed marriage is "karma", according to Us Weekly, as Pitt famously left Aniston for Jolie in 2005.

So what are the theories floating around about this year's most shocking celebrity break-up?

Theory #1: Parenting clashes

A source told People magazine that Brangelina "always had disagreements when it came to disciplining the kids".

Pitt is the "stricter" one, insisting on "more structure" and "having rules", while Jolie adopts a more laissez-faire approach. He was also known to "get frustrated sometimes and yell at the kids".

There is no doubt that Jolie loves playing mum, a role she excelled at even before Pitt came into the picture.

She was a single mother to Maddox, who was adopted in 2002, three months after Jolie split from her second husband, US actor Billy Bob Thornton.

However, even if the pair don't see eye to eye when it comes to parenting styles, both were co-parents for 10 years before they exchanged vows (which they admitted was at their children's insistence) and their brood has always been the focus of their union.

So this theory is a bit far-fetched. Arguments over who does what are common, but never to the extent of being the chief cause of a divorce.

Theory #2: Third party

Rumours are circulating that Pitt allegedly had an affair with French actress Marion Cotillard, 40, his co-star in the upcoming war romance Allied, and that Jolie hired a private investigator to watch him, according to New York Post's Page Six.

A source said: "He's in the throes of a midlife crisis, and Angie is fed up."

Possibly adding fuel to the fire is that the movie's trailer, showing them getting hot and heavy as on-screen lovers, was released mere hours after the divorce news.

But the "other woman" theory was quickly debunked.

"Marion had nothing to do with it," a source told Us Weekly, while another insider added that Jolie did not hire a private eye.

Another source close to Cotillard told The Daily Mirror that she's "absolutely devastated" after being fingered as the third party, as she is "blissfully happy" with her long-time partner, French actor and director Guillaume Canet, with whom she has a five-year-old son.

Theory #3: Anger & drug issues

TMZ cited sources who claimed that Pitt has "an anger problem" that has become "dangerous for the children", and that Jolie was "fed up" with his weed habit as well as his drinking, the combination of which created an unsafe environment.

This theory sounds more likely, as Jolie's lawyer said the filing was solely "for the health of the family".

Pitt has publicly discussed his lifelong battle with marijuana, though he told Esquire in 2013 that he gave up drugs to have a family.

Could he have suffered a relapse?

This is a likely scenario.

A source told Us Weekly that "an incident took place and prompted (her) to act and file", adding that it was one that "affected the entire family".

Jolie made the final decision to divorce only one week ago, not long after they had celebrated their second wedding anniversary, in August.

The source said: "She still says Brad is the love of her life, and the decision has weighed heavy on her heart. Her priority now is the children."

Theory #4: Drifting apart

This is actually the most mundane, yet common, reason for any couple - famous or not - to call it quits.

Especially when being together for 12 years is like an eternity in Hollywood.

People reported that both "have spent more time apart this year" due to their individual endeavours.

Jolie has been busy with her United Nations work and her next directorial effort, First They Killed My Father: A Daughter Of Cambodia Remembers.

Pitt is tied up with several movie productions, including a sequel to his 2013 blockbuster hit World War Z.

Their last project together was last year's By The Sea, also written and directed by Jolie, which could have inadvertently taken a toll on their marriage.

The drama about an estranged couple trying to repair their damaged marriage raised eyebrows back then, with many speculating the movie was somewhat autobiographical.

Although Jolie dismissed the idea in a 2015 interview with The Telegraph, during which she admitted to having "fights and problems like any other couple", it is sadly hard not to read it that way now.

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