Brangelina Split: How International Media Covered It
A look at coverage around the world, from France and Germany to India and Australia.
The Brangelina split has made headlines around the world.
The morning after Angelina Jolie announced she was filing for a divorce from Brad Pitt, Germany's leading tabloid, Bild, splashed news of the split on its front page and atop its home page under a headline purportedly quoting Pitt saying that Jolie "had unleashed hell" with the filing.
The country's more somber broadsheets were less sensational and pushed news of the split below the fold or further down on their home pages, with the bulk of coverage focused on the he-said-she-said aspect of the story.
But Germany's flagship news program, Tagesschau on public broadcaster ARD, decided news of the bombing of an aid convoy in Syria and the plight of refugees was more important, bumping any Brangelina coverage off the air.
The divorce filing heard 'round the world did not fall on deaf ears in France, where the Jolie-Pitts have a home. Chateau Miraval, the family’s mansion nestled in the terraced hills of Var between Cannes and Marseille in the south of France, was the site of their wedding just two years ago and is the home of the eponymous rosé wine that has made a splash in supermarkets across the country.
The story received news coverage in daily papers Le Figaro and Le Parisien, topping the news of the hospitalization of former French President Jacques Chirac. It dominated blogs and tabloid websites like Closer, Public and Gala, while the French version of The Huffington Post led with a screaming headline Wednesday: “The role of a lifetime: ‘Brangelina’ — The end of the mythic, but not perfect, couple.”
Mostly, the French news media has stayed away from fanning any speculative fires about the role of Pitt’s Allied co-star Marion Cotillard.
Cotillard appeared on the cover of this week’s Closer, which proclaimed the actress pregnant with her and long-term partner Guillaume Canet’s second child based on a paparazzi shot of her with a belly and a baggy dress at the premiere of It’s Only the End of the World. (Canet previously was married to Diane Kruger.)
And while the tabloids dissected the innocuous words of Canet on the TV chat show C a vous Monday night, when he joked, “I don’t know her very well,” when questioned about Cotillard’s least favorite vegetable, the publications carefully repeated American rumors without generating any of their own. They’ve reported that Cotillard is “devastated” by the link.
It’s not just speculation that French tabloids avoid, as some have been successfully sued for breach of privacy for reporting true stories.
European code, and particularly French law, has much tougher privacy protections than the U.S. Actress and producer Julie Gayet successfully sued tabloid Closer in 2014 for exposing her relationship with French President Francois Hollande, winning a 15,000 euro judgment from the magazine for breach of privacy. Gayet argued that she had not chosen to publicize the relationship previously, having tried successfully to keep her private life out of the tabloids since her divorce in 2006, and that the magazine profited from exposing her private life.
Publishing company Mondadori attempted to argue that the story — which briefly caused chaos inside the Palais de l’Elysee, as former first lady Valerie Trierweiler was hospitalized and subsequently moved out — was in the public interest, as it raised questions about state security, but the courts didn’t buy it.
The same magazine lost a suit after publishing topless paparazzi photos of Kate Middleton in 2014. It was required to turn over all the photos and fined 2,600 euros.
Still, French tabloids have long been speculating about a Jolie-Pitt split, due to rumors that the couple were quietly floating their French property on the market since June, with Jolie pushing the sale while Pitt wanted to keep the Var vineyard.
In the U.K., The Sun has been one of the most active outlets on the Brangelina story. "Never-before-seen pictures show Brad and Angelina having furious row during day out at Legoland," it said online on Wednesday in what it called an exclusive.
Italian news was saturated with the break of Brangelina. Media outlets from RAI to Sky to La7 aired footage of the couple in happier times traveling around Europe promoting films and focusing on Jolie's refuge work. The couple last filmed By the Sea on Malta's Gozo island, just south of Italy. Many are now interpreting that film as a message about the couple's failed marriage.
Newspapers such as La Repubblica, Italy's national paper, dedicated a front-page column to the divorce news. Stories focused on the hyped-up media animosity between Jennifer Aniston and Jolie, with galleries dedicated to Italian memes of Aniston basking in the news, similar to the English-language memes. Galleries dedicated dozens of photos to recent high-profile splits, from Joshua Jackson and Kruger to local celebs such as Valentino Rossi and Linda Morselli.
The Corriere della Sera focused on Cotillard's shock at affair rumors. And an op-ed in the paper stated that the end of the supercouple marks the end of their "sickening" love story and a return to normalcy because, even though we don't know the reasons behind the split, it proves even the most money, beauty and glamour cannot buy happiness. It makes the two seem human again, and in turn makes them just like us.
Indian media, from print to TV, largely covered the Pitt-Jolie divorce via international news feeds. Social media also was in focus, with tweets from some stand-up comics, such as Vir Das, who soon will tape his first Netflix comedy special, who posted: "Don't let the Pitt Jolie divorce shake your faith in marriage. You don't have those kind of looks or options....you're gonna be fine."
Tuesday’s revelations that Jolie had filed for divorce from Pitt came just in time to headline Australia’s breakfast TV programs. By day's end down under, the story was still a part of the evening news bulletins, while tabloid magazines stretched their weekly print deadlines to include the news.
In Australia, reporting on the split put Today show host and Australia’s highest-paid TV presenter, Karl Stefanovic, in a too-close-to-home situation, coming two days after it was revealed that he had split from his wife of 21 years.
"You can obviously argue it’s no one’s business, what’s going on inside there," said Stefanovic while discussing Pitt and Jolie’s divorce on air. "They’re high-profile, it’s a tough one. It is a big media story."
Stefanovic should know in part how the Hollywood system works. He is a close friend of Mariah Carey’s fiance, billionaire Aussie businessman James Packer, and has reportedly sought sanctuary from his marriage split at Packer’s Bondi Beach apartment.