Hollywood star Brad Pitt learned from a press release that ex-wife Angelina Jolie had sold half of their $160 million French vineyard, he has claimed.
The former couple were co-owners of Chateau Miraval in southeastern France which boasted a celebration of rosé wine, but they agreed the business should be sold after the breakdown of their marriage.
Now, in the latest twist in their bitter legal battle, Pitt, 59, has accused Jolie, 47, of breaking an agreement never to sell the vineyard without the other’s permission, when her 50 per cent stake was passed to a Russian oligarch.
The Fight Club star says he had first refusal on buying her share, and was “kept in the dark” about Jolie’s deal amid claims it was designed to damage her reputation, according to new court documents.
“Pitt and Jolie had a mutual and binding commitment that they would hold Miraval together and, if the time came, that they would sell their interests separately only with the other’s consent,” lawyers for Pitt said in the Los Angeles court documents.
They added: “Pitt and Jolie could sell Miraval together, or Pitt could buy her out. But in the summer of 2021, amid a heated child custody dispute with Pitt, Jolie terminated buy-out discussions with Pitt and secretly purported to sell a 50 per cent stake in the family home and family business to the Russia-affiliated spirits conglomerate Stoli Group , owned and controlled by billionaire Yuri Shefler.”
Pitt’s lawyers said he had previously turned down a bid by Shefler to buy Miraval.
“Pitt learned of Jolie’s putative sale to Stoli by way of a press release announcing that Stoli was ‘thrilled to have a position alongside Brad Pitt as curators’ of Miraval rosé.
“That was by design: Jolie collaborated in secret with Shefler and his associates to pursue and then consummate the purported sale, ensuring that Pitt would be kept in the dark as Stoli and Jolie knowingly violated Pitt’s and (his company) Mondo Bongo’s contractual rights and forced a stranger into Pitt’s family home.”
Pitt says he had invested almost $50 million more than Jolie in the winery, and claims he promised him during divorce proceedings she would “leave with what I put in and nothing additional”.
The warring ex-couple remains at loggerheads over their financial affairs and custody arrangements for their six children, seven years after they first split in 2016.
Jolie has claimed Pitt squandered the vineyard’s profits on vanity projects including an ornate staircase, and says he has spread lies about Shefler’s ties to Vladimir Putin.
Tomb Raider star Jolie had also previously accused Pitt of drunkenly attacking their children on a 2016 private jet flight. Pitt denied the allegation, and the FBI and children’s services were investigated but took no further action.