Actress Angelina Jolie has filed for a divorce from actor Brad Pitt, her husband of two years and romantic partner since 2005.
“This decision was made for the health of the family. She will not be commenting, and asks that the family be given its privacy at this time,” Reuters quoted her lawyer, Robert Offer, as saying in a statement.
According to documents filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday, Jolie cited irreconcilable differences for seeking the dissolution of her marriage with Pitt, the news agency said.
She sought full physical custody of their six children ages 8 to 15 with visitation rights for Pitt but did not seek spousal support, the report said. Jolie cited their separation date as Sept. 15.
“I am very saddened by this but what matters most now is the well-being of our kids,” Pitt told People magazine. “I kindly ask the press to give them the space they deserve during this challenging time.”
Jolie and Pitt, known collectively as “Brangelina”, were one of the entertainment world’s most visible couples, due to their good looks, successful films and activism.
They married in 2014 after a decade together.
Media commentators reacted with surprise and sadness to the news. “Today shall go down as the day love died,” Vogue magazine said in an online report on the couple’s split.
Social media buzzed with #brangelina mentioned roughly 720 times per minute on Twitter, more than triple mentions for the United Nations General Assembly, according to analytics firm Zoomph.
Jolie, 41, who won a best-supporting actress Oscar for Girl, Interrupted in 2000, was previously married to actors Jonny Lee Miller and Billy Bob Thornton.
Pitt, 52, was married to actress Jennifer Aniston in 2003 when he and Jolie filmed Mr. & Mrs. Smith, the story of assassins unknowingly assigned to kill each other.
There were reports of an affair, but Jolie told Vogue they were only “very, very good friends” until Pitt and Aniston split in 2005.
Before their August 2014 wedding at their French estate, Jolie and Pitt had said they would not wed until same-sex couples were allowed to marry.
While Pitt and Jolie won praise for their on-screen chemistry in Mr. & Mrs. Smith, their most recent film collaboration, By the Sea, last year was about a married couple drifting apart. Jolie wrote and directed the latter.
Peter Walzer, a California attorney who represented actress Katie Holmes in her divorce from superstar Tom Cruise, said in a phone interview it was unusual Jolie sought sole physical custody of the children.
It was equivalent to saying Pitt was not competent to be a parent, Walzer said. “It’s an insult.”
Jolie had an offbeat reputation early in her career but has taken on humanitarian causes and was named a special envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
She traveled to Afghanistan, Sudan, Tanzania, Iraq and Jordan to call attention to the plight of refugees and the underprivileged.
The couple started a foundation to finance reconstruction of homes in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Together they started the Jolie-Pitt Foundation in 2006 to help charities worldwide.
Their children include sons adopted from Cambodia and Vietnam and a daughter adopted from Ethiopia, as well as three biological children.
To encourage other women, Jolie spoke out publicly about elective surgeries in 2013 and 2015 to remove her breasts, ovaries and fallopian tubes as a preventive measure due to a family history of cancer.
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