The Brangelina divorce is a sad reality, not gossip column fodder

Jolie and Pitt in November 2015. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
Jolie and Pitt in November 2015. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)

So, by now you’ve heard about, read about and probably fell down a rabbit hole of “in memoriam” photo galleries dedicated to the Brangelina split. Yes, it’s the biggest split to happen in Hollywood, since…well, dare I say Brad and Jen? Of course before fact checking any of the details, everyone’s first reaction is to bring it back to where it all began – two thirds of the Jennifer Aniston love triangle.

Not surprisingly, it didn’t take long for the onslaught of memes, quotes and GIFs featuring Aniston celebrating, side-eyeing and smirking with captions like “karma’s a bitch” and “once a cheater, always a cheater.” And, sure – all those things may be true, but it seems that lost in the shuffle of the witty tweets and Rachel Green punchlines, is a sad reality. And I don’t just mean the dissolution of America’s most gorgeous couple – although red carpets will certainly be a little less interesting without the hope of a Brange appearance – I mean the dissolution of a family; a family with six children, no less. Six.

ALSO SEE: Could Brad and Angelina’s divorce really be based on parenting styles?

I am a child of divorce – a few times over, actually – and let me tell you that no part of having your parents split up is pleasant. Even if both parties attempt to keep the kids out of it or promise to shelter them from the drama, the negativity, fighting, conflict and stress inevitably trickles down. The sound of tears behind closed doors. The nasty phone calls that echo through the home. The unspoken pressure to choose one parent over the other – even if it’s just about which one to hug first after a soccer game. It sucks, full stop. And that’s only the case with a mere “civilian” divorce – now, multiply that pain and suffering by about a million and that’s what the Brangelina kids are in for.

It’s been less than a day since news broke and already the vicious stories, rumours and statements have begun. The first story to come out of the divorce drama was a source demonizing Pitt and uncovering some unsavoury details about him as a husband and as a father. Apparently Jolie got fed up with his substance abuse and anger issues and filed for divorce in hopes of protecting the children (but no word on who’s protecting them from the fallout of having their dad hung out to dry in the public eye.) A few hours later came a statement from a source in his camp calling the allegations “a malicious lie.” Then, multiple reports claiming Pitt cheated with co-star Marion Cotillard and later word that Jolie is a controlling opportunist looking to get into politics. Let the games begin.

ALSO SEE: Parenting through a divorce: How to keep stress and sadness for children to a minimum

This kind of he-said, she-said back and forth is a normal occurrence in bitter divorce battles. What’s not normal: six kids being subject to the scrutiny of international headlines, magazine covers and news programs, not to mention millions of tweets, all with something nasty to say about their parents split. Don’t forget that Brad and Angie’s children span in ages from 8-15. They can read. They understand what’s going on. They will remember everything. Every word will stay with them.

So, before you go and write a post about how satisfying this split is, how good it is for gossip, or how happy you are that “beautiful Brad Pitt” is single again, just remember that Maddox, Pax, Shiloh, Zahara, Vivienne and Knox are real kids who are about to endure a pretty crappy time in their lives. Pitt and Jolie certainly don’t deserve a break from the court of public opinion, but their kids didn’t ask for nor do they deserve any of this.