Angelina Jolie files for divorce from Brad Pitt for ‘the health of her family’

Together for over a decade, news broke today that the couple’s prominent and well-regarded marriage is coming to an end.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt on the red carpet at the 86th Academy Awards in March 2014 in Hollywood. Frederic J.Brown | AFP | Getty Images

It was announced only an hour ago, and the rumors are already swirling. Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from Brad Pitt, her husband since 2014, her romantic partner since 2004, and father to her six children. One of her attorneys, Robert Offer, stated that her reasons have to do with “the health of the family.”

The dissolution of any marriage is a heartbreak, and whether the couple are celebrities or just the ordinary-enough couple who live across the street or in the apartment next door to you, no one knows what a specific marriage is really like—except those who are inside of it. I, for one, have no interest in speculating on what precipitated this decision or joining in the ugly ritual of gleefully celebrating the griefs or distress of public figures.

Still, this news will leave their fans with lingering sadness. Sadness for these two, whose brave and selfless advocacy efforts on behalf of refugees and child immigrants, people who were left homeless after Hurricane Katrina, and their countless other humanitarian efforts all over the globe that brought attention to the suffering in some of the world’s poorest places; they have inspired us to become involved with those in need. We’ll grieve the loss of the loving relationship we witnessed after Jolie’s health scares a few years ago. Jolie’s courage and transparency after undergoing a double mastectomy and the subsequent removal of her ovaries and fallopian tubes between 2013 and 2015—and Brad Pitt’s loving and supportive response—also opened our hearts to the couple. In the wake of her surgeries, Pitt said she was his “hero.”

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie at the screening of Inglourious Basterds at Cannes Film Festival in May 2009. Martin Bureau | AFP | Getty Images

“It was just another one of those things in life that makes you tighter, and she was doing it for the kids, and she was doing it for her family so we could be together,” Pitt said in an interview.

Watching this show of love, we cheered on their commitment to each other and to their kids.

So now we’re sad that their family has been broken apart by divorce—as we would be about any family. We know its lingering effects. We can’t begin to predict how the large, multicultural Jolie-Pitts will navigate the details of family life after this split. And many can’t stop wondering why or how that rift occurred, but that’s really not our business … and reducing the Jolie-Pitt divorce announcement to a catchy hashtag or drowning ourselves in very speculative “news” posted from gossip sites won’t provide any benefit or closure to anyone.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie at the screening of Inglourious Basterds at Cannes Film Festival on May 2009. Martin Bureau | AFP | Getty Images

Perhaps the best thing that we can do with this sad information is to receive it as a reminder that marriage is hard. It’s hard for all of us. Creating a strong family is a Herculean task. It’s a reminder that there’s no reason to idealize or judge anyone else’s marriage or family life. You can never know what’s happening inside of someone else’s home or marriage.

Your attention, and mine, is better spent maintaining the health of our own marriages and families.

Jennifer Grant
Jennifer Grant
Jennifer Grant is a writer and speaker in the Chicago area, the grateful mother of four, wife to bicycle-obsessed David, and the author of five books: Love You More, MOMumental, Disquiet Time, Wholehearted Living, and When Did Everybody Else Get So Old? Find her online at jennifergrant.com and on Twitter @jennifercgrant.

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