Angelina Jolie's FBI lawsuit against ex Brad Pitt becomes public, here's all we know so far

Previously sealed, Angelina Jolie's FBI lawsuit against ex Brad Pitt concerning a 2016 incident is now public

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt
(Image credit: Jason LaVeris / Contributor)

Although Angelina Jolie's and Brad Pitt's divorce was finalized in October of 2005, the former couple is still making headlines nearly two decades later.

In fact, Angelina, who shares six children with ex Brad, has just been revealed as the plaintiff in an anonymous 2016 lawsuit against Brad, in which she alleged to have been assaulted by her then-husband on a private plane. 

Puck (opens in new tab) reports that "several years ago," Angelina approached an FBI agent and told him that Brad had "physically and verbally" assaulted her and their kids while they were on a private jet. 

The father of six had allegedly taken Angelina to the back of the aircraft, grabbed her by the shoulders and shouted, "You're fucking up this family." According to the lawsuit, Brad and Angelina had a second physical altercation on the plane and she ended up sustaining injuries, including one on her elbow). 

In the document, Angelina also mentioned that Brad was drinking at the time of the confrontation and poured beer on her. For his part, Brad has denied the accusations.

Angelina Jolie and her children

(Image credit: Samir Hussein / Contributor)

After speaking to Angelina at the time, the FBI agent met with the assistant US Attorney and they jointly decided not to pursue criminal charges against Brad, who is now 58 years old. At that point, Angelina anonymously filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) against the agency to obtain documents related to the federal investigation against Brad. 

According to Variety (opens in new tab), Angelina's ability to file the case against the FBI anonymously was a big deal, and so eyes have been on the complaint for quite some time.

The original document, which was just amended in August, says, "Ms. Doe has been seeking the withheld information for [several] years in an effort to ensure that her children receive qualified…care and…counseling to address harm suffered…Information withheld by DOJ and the FBI contains evidence of the harm. The persistent denial of that information to Ms. Doe…a victim of the assault herself — has hampered, and continues to hamper, her efforts to obtain for her children necessary ongoing care and medical attention, and has further harmed the children in the family law system."

The plaintiff, Angelina, had until now requested that the case remain sealed. The court documents became public once the amendment  was filed.


As widely reported in the media, the Los Angeles Department of Child and Family Services started investigating Brad in September 2016 after the now infamous incident on the family's private jet. Since the episode happened on an international flight from France to California, the case was referred to the FBI. Two months later, the Los Angeles Department of Child and Family Services cleared Brad and the FBI closed the investigation, which is what compelled Angelina to fight in court.

Brad Pitt

(Image credit: Gregg DeGuire / Stringer / Getty Images)

In the amended complaint, Jane Doe reveals that she "was not informed of the FBI's closure of the investigation" before it was made public and she therefore filed an FOIA request to access documents related to the investigation. She claims that the response that she received in 2021 included "extensively redacted" papers.

"The consistent, years-long denial of access to records [has] subjected the children to harm in the family law system," reads the now public complaint. "The records that [Angelina] is seeking the FBI to release in unredacted or far less heavily redacted form in compliance with FOIA are critical to her efforts to obtain medical and care for her children and protect the children in the family law system, and should be released to her without further delay."

Anna Rahmanan is a New York-based writer and editor who covers culture, entertainment, food, fashion and travel news. Anna’s words have appeared on Time Out New York, the Huffington Post, Fortune, Forbes, Us Weekly, Bon Appetit and Brooklyn Magazine, among other outlets.