Actor Bradd Pitt sued his ex-wife Hollywood star Angelina Jolie over a vineyard the duo owned Friday, accusing Jolie of intentionally harming the reputation of the wine business through the sale of her share in it to a Russian businessman.
Pitt and Jolie had acquired a majority interest in the vineyard and castle Château Miraval in 2008, according to People. Located in Correns, southern France, Miraval was where the two married each other in 2014 and spent family holidays with the six children they had together before their 2016 divorce filing.
Despite their divorce, the actors were business partners in managing their 50-50 stake in the wine company. Furthermore, the court imposed temporary restrictions during their divorce proceedings, preventing the couple from selling their stakes in Miraval to a third party.
The restrictions proved to cause tension between the divorced couple because they had never reached a buyout agreement due to payment terms issues and failures to reach a non-compete and non-disparagement agreement, a lawyer for Jolie said, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Jolie, in July 2021, filed a petition seeking the lifting of the restrictions so that she could sell her stake and stop being a “disregarded business partner with her ex-husband,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
Subsequently, Wine company Tenute del Mundo announced in an October 2021 news release that they had purchased a 50 percent stake in Miraval from Jolie. Tenute del Mundo is the wine division of the Luxembourg-based liquor conglomerate Stoli Group.
Four months after Tenute del Mundo’s announcement, Pitt sued Jolie. In the lawsuit, Pitt claimed that the couple had “agreed they would never sell their respective interests in Miraval without the other’s consent” and that Jolie’s stake sale to Tenute del Mundo was a violation of that agreement, Fox News reported in February.
“Jolie consummated the purported sale without Pitt’s knowledge, denying Pitt the consent right she owed him and the right of first refusal her business entity owed his,” the lawsuit stated. “She sold her interest with the knowledge and intention that Shefler and his affiliates would seek to control the business to which Pitt has devoted himself and to undermine Pitt’s investment in Miraval.”
Friday’s lawsuit, separate from Pitt’s February one, alleges that Jolie “sought to force Pitt into partnership with a stranger, and worse yet, a stranger with poisonous associations and intentions” by her sale to Shelfer, People reported.
The lawsuit describes Shefler as having “cutthroat business tactics and dubious professional associations” alongside intentions to launch a hostile takeover of Miraval. The sale to Shefler “jeopardizes the reputation of the brand Pitt so carefully built,” the lawsuit stated.
The lawsuit says the wine company was Pitt’s “passion project” that, through his efforts, turned “into a multimillion-dollar global business and one of the world’s most highly regarded producers of rosé wine,” according to People. Pitt furthermore said in the lawsuit that Jolie “contributed nothing” to the business’ success, the outlet reported.
That the Friday lawsuit is primarily founded on the supposed harm Jolie inflicted on the “reputation of the brand Pitt so carefully built” has made people draw similarities between it and the recent defamation case brought by actor Johnny Depp against his ex-wife Amber Heard.
In fact, it was filed two days after the jury reached a verdict on June 1 in the broadly televised Depp v. Heard trial, which ended with the judge awarding the Pirates of the Caribbean star $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages.
According to court documents, Pitt wants to have a trial by jury as well, Newsweek reported.
The hashtag “#JusticeForBradPitt” has started popping up on the internet, similar to the hashtag of the “#JusticeForJohnnyDepp” campaign that trended during Depp’s trial, according to Newsweek.
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