Brangelina: The Untold Story of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie

>> Saturday, April 22, 2017

I finished this a month ago. Couldn't bring myself to write about it earlier due to school stress (aka finals). This isn't the most revelatory read, particularly since it was published in 2009. Clearly it's due for an update.

But what struck me the most while reading it was how much I had forgotten. At least half of this book is taken from previously published tabloid material. Material that Angelina Jolie would probably rather everybody forget. And I name her specifically because she is much more the focus of this book than Brad.

I suppose it's a shame that I turned the book back to the library because I can't remember all the shit she did way back when. It's been too long. I do, of course, remember her kissing her brother at the 2000 Oscars. And that was already after she made out with him at the Golden Globes. If I remember correctly, Andrew Morton's biography of her made it seem like she did the kissing out of some kind of revenge strategy since her brother was considered to be more talented than her growing up. Morton didn't seem to address as much of the controversy that happened when AJ did what she did. Or at least not to any extent that I can remember. (And Morton's book has to be one of the most boring considering the star subject. It just droned on and on...)
AJ kissing her bro at the GG

But at least this book took her actions a little more seriously. The author did the somewhat dopey thing of posing with a paid actor at a "sibs" gathering--brother & sister romantic & sexual pairings. Yeah, it's gross, I know. But when I think back to 2000 when all of this happened, this was what most people were genuinely wondering and talking about after it happened in such a public fashion. It wasn't undercover. She did it where all the world's cameras could see.

And why? No one really knows. Some of the "sibs" that the author secretly talked to genuinely thought that AJ and her brother were legitimately getting it on and were going to come out and state it. But that didn't happen. No, she decided to marry Billy Bob instead.

Which was something that this book actually called bullshit on. And that's something worth noting regardless of what kind of journalist you think he is. He noted that no one ever noticed any kind of relationship or romance or affair happening between BBT & Jolie until they were suddenly married. Like, NO ONE bought that it was a real romance or relationship in Hollywood. It was all just a show so that she could seem more stable and normal to land the Lara Croft role in Tomb Raider.

Kissing at the Oscars
Something that makes total sense given that it was well published back in 2000 that she had herself committed to a psych ward for 72 hours. I remember back at the time I found out about it in the tabloids, and the reason given then was that she was upset that she might not be able to be with BBT. This book calls bullshit on that. He established briefly that she was forced to see a counselor back in high school for some unknown reason. She's made reference to it in interviews, but basically was able to swat the question away when it came up and make it seem like nothing. But when you consider that her father went on television and spoke about her needing to get mental help a few years later, quite possibly there is something truly there.

And speaking of her father, the book does a pretty good job, with its cut and paste from previously published material, establishing that Jolie's relationship with her father was fairly decent until he went on Access Hollywood and stated that she needed mental help. The book notes that it was basically Jon Voight's hail mary pass to get her attention since she and her manager (Geyer Kosinski) had already cut him out of her life. On the one hand, what's a concerned father to do? On the other, they're both drama queens.

Strangely this seems slightly relevant given that The Hollywood Reporter published an article just after I finished reading this book--Angelina Jolie's Drug Tests, Harassment and Wacky "Spiritual Hokum" on the Set of 'Tomb Raider'. It's an except from a biography of Paramount Studios chief Sherry Lansing. The book excerpt notes that Jolie's father AND Jane Fonda (!), who happens to be a family friend, both called Lansing to inform her that Jolie was "extremely fragile" back in 2000 before she landed the role of Lara Croft. It makes sense given everything that we know publicly happened--sucking face with her brother in public, past professions of suicidal ideation & wanting to hire a hitman to kill her, multiple statements about past drug abuse.

PDA w/boob squeeze
At this point, I'm somewhat of the opinion that she was sucking face with her brother because she knew she could get attention. She always wants to make things about her. So when it basically backfired after the Oscars, she probably down-spiraled into a pit of despair. She was friends with Billy Bob, and somehow convinced him to marry her to maintain her image as not an actual brother-lover so she could nab the role of Lara Croft. (Condolences were never given to Laura Dern about this.) AJ & BBT then commenced acting all loved up all the time in public to make people believe that their relationship was legit.

It makes the author's point that she knows how to pivot to protect her image the one continuing theme in her life. And she's able to do it so well because--according to the author of this book--she was supposedly diagnosed as a sociopath in high school. Something that sounds really headline-grabbing, but when I think about it, it makes total sense. She has hardly any friends and even admits so publicly. Plus she doesn't seem to have any regard for other people's feelings. Like, even her children. I cannot abide the way she handled her separation from Brad because it seemed purely motivated to trash her children's father publicly, which certainly wasn't in the best interests of her kids. But, she needed to look like she was a wronged woman in some respect so that she could maintain her public sainthood. Whatever...

That's something most people were able to realize given how many people have either been through divorce with children or are children whose parents divorced. Except for Elaine Lui of Lainey Gossip. Because she has been--on more than one occasion--posting about the Brangelina relationship or divorce from straight up AJ's ass. And there is no more perfect, recent example than her commentary on the Sherry Lansing biography excerpt titled "Babysitting Angelina."

We've already established that by 2000--where this excerpt takes place--AJ has admitted to past drug use, suicidal ideation, publicly stated that she tried to hire a hit man to kill her, made out with her brother in public, and had herself committed to a psych ward for 72 hours shortly after winning an Oscar. But this is how Lainey interprets everything that could necessitate AJ needing a "babysitter":
Angelina Jolie was 24 years old at the time. She really wanted to the job. She already knew what that job would do for her career – and, you could say, her life, since Lara Croft took her to Cambodia and that’s where she met Maddox. So she was prepared to meet their conditions and do the work. What’s fascinating to me, however, is how in the retelling of this story, all these men were making decisions for her. They were the ones who decided to hire the babysitter, they were the ones who fired the babysitter, like let me tell you what’s best for you, little girl, because we’re concerned about your emotional wellbeing…but, you know, at the same time, we really need to profit from you.
Yeah, it was all about the men keeping Angelina Jolie down. Men like...Jane Fonda? Lainey conveniently forgets to mention that there were REASONS why the studio and those involved in the production had reason to believe that AJ could go off the rails. She committed HERSELF to a psych ward. That was well established back in 2000 shortly after it happened.

AJ in 2016. (The legs are NOT photoshopped.)
And posts like that by Lainey are why I can no longer take her seriously as a gossip columnist. One, she doesn't write much gossip anymore. It's mostly commentary either by her or her contributors. Two, she won't comment on obvious problems regarding people she likes such as Angelina Jolie. AJ has looked pretty damn skeletal for years. But does Lainey comment on the obvious? State why AJ is so damn skeletal? Nope. And according to Lainey, AJ isn't on heroin. Or on any other kind of opiate. And yet how do you explain her legs at the Kung Fu Panda 3 premiere last year? I can explain it with the simple "drugs & eating disorder" answer. But Lainey doesn't bother to ask the question at all now. She would comment on the obvious lack of nourishment 10 years ago but not now. All Lainey wants to do now is talk about how much of a "boss" AJ is, even when AJ doesn't do anything particularly noteworthy like giving an interview to Vogue magazine while promoting a film. Ugh.

I've long been of the opinion that Ted Casablanca was always king of the gossip heap. I've also long been of the opinion that AJ is Fake-à-la Ferocity. I vaguely remember that Ted commented a long time ago--before his column ended--that Brad & Angelina were no longer love birds as of years ago. Lainey, however, has an actual Pitt Porn tag/category for her posts to document the very public affection of Brangelina.

What Ted said & wrote about definitely made more sense after reading this book since the author noted that AJ would yell & scream at Brad when other people were around to see. She can be charming, but then that would just flip and she'd be her psycho self. After seeing how she was able to sell a relationship with BBT for a couple of years, it probably wasn't much of a stretch for her to do it with someone higher up the totem pole, aka Brad Pitt. Ted was right; Lainey is wrong.

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