Angelina Jolie's Former Company Sues Brad Pitt for $250 Million

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Brad Pitt is a named defendant in a $250 million lawsuit filed by Angelina Jolie's former company, Nouvel, in which the company claims the actor waged a "vindictive war" in an effort to wrestle away control of the winery he and Jolie purchased in 2008.

According to legal documents, obtained by ET, Nouvel claims Pitt "masterminded a so-far-successful plan" to seize control of Chateau Miraval and used the business as his "personal fiefdom."

ET reached out to Nouvel, and it had no comment. A source tells ET that Jolie's latest lawsuit against Pitt involving their winery is "yet another rehash and repackaging of old material to try and distract from the other party's own behavior."

The winery is known for the rosé wine it produces on the 1,300-acre country estate located in the south of France. The property consists of a manor house, vineyards and numerous other buildings. According to the lawsuit, Pitt and Jolie set out to rejuvenate the winery's "modest" business by jointly investing "tens of millions of dollars on improvements to the property" through their investment companies -- Pitt's Mondo Bongo and Jolie's Nouvel.

According to the lawsuit, the plan was that Jolie would continue her humanitarian work while oversight of the winery "was left in the hands of Pitt." By 2013, the lawsuit claims, the winery's business flourished, "generating tens of millions of dollars in profits." The success also included Chateau Miraval being named "best rosé of the year" by Wine Spectator magazine. But while business was booming, the suit claims that behind the scenes, things between Pitt and Jolie were soon about to head downhill.

In the lawsuit, Nouvel mentions "Pitt developed a publicly acknowledged alcohol abuse problem." The suit also mentions "a serious and internationally publicized incident between Pitt, Jolie and the couple's children," alluding to the September 2016 private jet incident that was the subject of an explosive FBI report. Jolie would file for divorce that month and the divorce was finalized in 2019.

Nouvel claims in the lawsuit that Pitt waged a war after Jolie filed for divorce in 2016 and that he allegedly "embarked on a multifaceted, years-long campaign to seize control of Chateau Miraval and appropriate the company’s assets for his benefit and that of his own companies and friends."

Nouvel claims that Pitt froze the company out of Chateau Miraval and that Pitt treated the winery as his "personal fiefdom." Nouvel claims that, after Pitt quietly hijacked the highly profitable winery, the actor "wasted its assets, spending millions on vanity projects, including more than $1 million on swimming pool renovations and other funds restoring a recording studio."

The company claims Pitt, at first, continued to operate the winery without consulting with Jolie, but because much of Jolie’s personal wealth and liquidity was tied up in Chateau Miraval through Nouvel, Jolie and Nouvel "logically sought to get more information about and to play a greater role in Chateau Miraval’s finances and operations."

Nouvel also claims Pitt "hatched and executed a plan to secretly move assets from Chateau Miraval ... to companies owned by him and his friends, thereby devaluing Jolie’s interest in Nouvel." 

So, "faced with this untenable situation," Jolie decided to sell Nouvel, which claimed that even though she was not obligated to sell to Pitt, she "nevertheless offered to sell her interest to him and negotiated with him for months."

The lawsuit claims they came close to striking a deal but alleges that "Pitt's hubris got the better of him" and that "he made an eleventh-hour demand for onerous and irrelevant conditions, including a provision designated to prohibit Jolie from publicly speaking about the events that had led to the breakdown of their marriage." In other words, Nouvel claims Pitt "sought to use Chateau Miraval as leverage to coerce Jolie into keeping quiet about Pitt’s behavior." That demand, Nouvel claims, "essentially imposed a poison pill, all but ensuring that no deal could ever be reached" between Pitt and Jolie.

The suit claims that Pitt knew that much of Jolie's wealth and liquidity were tied up in Nouvel and that he allegedly "used that fact to try to force Jolie to agree to his unreasonable terms."

Jolie ultimately sold Nouvel to Russian oligarch Yuri Shefler earlier this year, which triggered Pitt to sue Jolie. In that lawsuit, Pitt claimed that, per the terms of their divorce, the former couple had a "mutual understanding" that neither of them could sell off their interest in the winery without the other's consent.

In any event, Jolie sold Nouvel to Shefler, but only after Pitt allegedly "ignored Jolie's final offer to sell her interest in the winery on the same terms Pitt had proposed without the hush clause." But even with Jolie out of the picture, Nouvel claims Pitt continued to be uncooperative and proved "unwilling to share control" while refusing to work with Stoli Group -- the international beverage company controlled by Shefler.

Nouvel seeks more than $250 million in damages for Pitt's alleged unlawful and oppressive conduct.

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