Brad Pitt, the iconic Hollywood star, finds himself embroiled in fresh controversy, accused of behaving like a "petulant child" and siphoning off assets from Château Miraval, a renowned French vineyard he jointly owned with ex-spouse Angelina Jolie.
This accusation is the latest dramatic development in the couple's long-drawn-out legal tussle that seems to perennially occupy courtrooms. The vineyard, nestled in the picturesque region of Provence, South of France, was purchased by Pitt and Jolie in 2008 for an estimated $28 million.
The couple held equal stakes in the property and its accompanying wine-making business. However, the actor is now alleged to have diverted millions from the venture on self-serving projects such as a recording studio and swimming pool refurbishment, as per a lawsuit filed by Nouvel, Jolie's erstwhile investment company.
Pitt's Conduct Under Scrutiny
Jolie offloaded her share in Nouvel in 2021 to a Russian oligarch, an action lawyers argue has exacerbated Pitt's unprofessional conduct at the winery. The lawsuit, as reported by the Financial Times, accuses Pitt of childish behavior and indulging in a shameless money grab, far from the image of a winemaker that he tries to project.
The legal document filed by Nouvel alleges that Pitt orchestrated outrageous actions to maintain control over the winery while depleting its assets. The rosé brand that the couple developed with esteemed winemaker Marc Perrin has reportedly garnered over $16 million in profits in 2022 alone.
According to the lawsuit, since their divorce in 2016, Pitt has cunningly established de facto control over Château Miraval, displaying behavior that Jolie's lawyers brand as "ludicrous." The lawsuit accuses Pitt of spending his time in countless movie shoots and promotional appearances rather than engaging with the "dirt and grapes" that constitute a genuine winemaking business.
The legal document starkly states, "Pitt is no vigneron." This skirmish over the vineyard adds to the couple's seemingly endless legal disputes originating from their acrimonious split in 2016. Insight into the ongoing battle surfaced last month in Vanity Fair, featuring firsthand accounts from insiders, including the couple's former head of security and real estate brokers.
In 2021, Pitt attempted to purchase Jolie's share of the business, but negotiations fell through due to disagreements over a proposed non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that would prohibit Jolie from discussing a heated incident from 2016.
Jolie then sold her stake in Nouvel to Russian billionaire Yuri Shefler, a decision that reportedly blindsided Pitt. Accusations have since surfaced that Shefler aimed to leverage his connection with the high-profile couple to burnish his own reputation.
The ongoing saga, intertwined with custody battles over their six children, continues to unfold with no resolution in sight.
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