AS Angelina Jolie walked down the aisle in a dress embroidered with drawings from their six children, husband-to-be Brad Pitt gifted her an equal share of the dream home they planned to enjoy together for the rest of their lives.
But after one of the most bitter divorces in Hollywood, the couple are now at loggerheads over the £150million vineyard in the South of France.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie had one of the most bitter divorces in Hollywood
The couple are now at loggerheads over the £150million vineyard they own in the South of France
An aeriel view of the Miraval property in Correns, near Brignoles
As the pair continue to take their fight — dubbed the War of the Rosés — through the courts, extraordinary details have emerged of their former life together.
Jolie’s lawyer accuses Pitt, 59, of behaving like a “petulant child” after his ex sold her half of their wine estate to a Russian oligarch.
And they also threw shade on his skills as a winemaker, suggesting he “deals in illusions, not dirt and grapes”.
Brad and Angelina bought the Chateau Miraval plot for £21million in 2008, initially with a 60-40 split in the former’s favour.
It has been suggested that at the time, Pitt’s vineyard skills were so non-existent his favourite “wine” was Heineken.
In turn, he is said to see the sale as a “betrayal” and act of revenge by Jolie, 48, after a judge granted him 50-50 custody over his kids following their split in 2016, two years after they tied the knot.
Pitt claims that by selling the vineyard to Russian Yuri Shefler, Jolie has set out to tarnish the reputation of its highly regarded rosé wine.
But what is now a grapes of wrath tale began so differently in 2005.
The pair were the hottest — and most scrutinised couple — in the world when Brad dumped wife Jennifer Aniston after falling for Angelina on the set of their movie Mr & Mrs Smith.
Keen to get away from the glare of publicity, Brangelina, as they were nicknamed, went house hunting while on holiday in France in 2007.
They booked a three-day helicopter tour of Provence to search for a place where their kids “could run free and not be subjected to the celebrity of Hollywood.”
Miraval, with its 1,000 acres, lake, vineyard and 35-bed manor house, fitted the bill perfectly.
It also had a recording studio in an old water tower where Pink Floyd recorded their 1979 album The Wall.
When Angelina discovered she was pregnant with twins Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline, now 14, the couple were keen to push through the sale as fast as possible so their other children Maddox, now 21, Pax Thien, 19, Zahara Marley, 18, and Shiloh, 17, would have a private place to grow up.
The estate’s former owner, American engineer Tom Bove, described how a helicopter touched down on his land one day and out stepped Brad and Angelina, who had a then baby Shiloh in her arms.
He invited the couple to stay for a meal, saying: “Angelina let him [Brad] talk.
“From my side she was very gentle.
“You read all this stuff now, but they were a very nice couple, very sweet and obviously in love.
‘Angie is smiling’
“Brad and I moved the tables around in the garden and we had lunch, drank the wines of Miraval, which were very good, then we toured the rest of the property.
“It seemed they wanted to buy it right then.”
Bove says that Pitt told him: “This is the first place we visited where Angie is smiling.”
At the couple’s 2014 wedding, which took place in the estate’s ancient chapel with 20 guests, Pitt transferred ten per cent of his share to his bride as a wedding gift.
Lawyers had suggested a “doomsday clause” stating that should the couple ever split, they would have the right to buy each other’s share.
But Pitt apparently rejected this, saying it “wasn’t necessary for two reasonable people” who planned to be together forever.
It would prove to be a fateful mistake.
Pitt’s lawyers have since claimed he and Jolie later made a pact agreeing never to sell the property without each other’s consent — something she has denied.
Bove was asked to stay on to manage the estate, giving him a first-hand glimpse into the couple’s celebrity lifestyle.
He described, “Vans and vans arriving with furniture, incredibly packed by the finest movers”.
Nannies, a cook, a maid, cleaners, protection guards and personal assistants also arrived as Pitt got the renovations under way; work that Bove says was, “More Californian as opposed to Provencal”.
Provence was turning into a version of the Hollywood Hills, with movie star pals including Johnny Depp, who was then married to singer Vanessa Paradis, George Clooney, John Malkovich and Star Wars filmmaker George Lucas all living close by.
Furniture designer Frank Pollaro was flown in from New Jersey to install a 1920s-inspired French desk Pitt bought Jolie for her birthday.
On it was an inscription from Pitt and a mother-of-pearl constellation in her Gemini birth sign.
Pitt was delighted to discover Pollaro was a wine enthusiast and told him: “I don’t know much about wine but I’d like to learn.”
When the actor later visited Pollaro in 2009, the designer gifted him a bottle of Chateauneuf-du Pape and later got an email from him saying: “That wine sure was terrific, and Angie loved it too.”
‘Love letter to wife’
Asked by Vanity Fair what kind of wines Pitt liked at that point, Pollaro said: “I think he liked Heineken.”
The family loved life on the estate.
According to Vanity Fair, Pitt installed 30 small screens which flashed with images of the children and built a petting zoo filled with goats, chickens and peacocks.
Pollaro said: “Miraval was a love letter to Brad’s wife and his children, providing a beautiful life for Angelina and the kids and shielding them from the intense pressures of celebrity.”
But the star was also determined to make “a world-class wine”.
To do this he teamed up with Marc Perrin, the producer behind the Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine he had been gifted by Pollaro.
When the first 6,000 bottles of Miraval Rosé were put up for sale in 2012 they sold out within five hours. Sales would reach £38million in 2021.
Meanwhile, Miravel was also producing honey, olive oil, a skin care wine and music from Miraval Studios. It looked like the A-list couple had found their utopia.
Gary Bradbury, head of security at Miraval, said Pitt “thought the world” of his wife.
He added that during the reconstruction work, Brad spent eight to 12 hours a day with workmen, but would always find time for his children.
Gary said: “At one o’clock, he’d tell me to give him a knock so he could get the quads ready for the children to ride on the estate.
“Or he would take the kids fishing on the lake.
“He made sure he was available for his children at all times.
“Angie would come out and bring lunch and we’d all sit there and have a picnic.
“It was very lovey-dovey, quite romantic.
“I used to take my sandwich and walk away.
“It was their time.”
It is said that Pitt, who liked jogging through the surrounding forests, enjoyed the laid-back pace of life there and would sit on a rock strumming his guitar.
And he had dreams of turning part of Miraval into an artist’s colony.
“I’m a farmer now,” he told Wine Spectator in 2014.
But in September 2016, tensions that had been brewing between the couple boiled over on an ill-fated flight during which Pitt allegedly drunkenly attacked Jolie and poured red wine and beer on his kids.
No charges were brought but Jolie filed for divorce the next day.
A row over custody spilled over into legal tug-of-war over Miravel, from which Jolie claimed she was being “frozen out.”
She also objected to an advert for the wine showing Pitt asleep on a lounge chair, which she said “reminded me of painful times”.
Jolie sold her half of the estate in October 2021, something Pitt claims he only found out about when it was announced in a press release.
And in February last year, he filed a lawsuit against her claiming she illegally sold her share.
The star’s lawyers claim the sale was made to “undermine” Pitt and “negatively impact” the venture.
A source told Vanity Fair: “It’s no coincidence that she sold her interest in Miraval to an adversarial party, and part of the family home to a stranger, right after a judge granted a huge win: 50-50 custody.”
Jolie’s former investment firm Nouvel, which dealt with the sale, has now filed a suit against Pitt saying he has been acting “like a petulant child” and “deals in illusions, not dirt and grapes”.
It also accused Pitt of “looting” the vineyard and spending millions on vanity projects.
It seems tragic their remaining fight is over a home they once loved so much.
In an email to Pitt four years after their divorce, Jolie wrote: “Even now it’s impossible to write this without crying.
“Above all, it’s the place we brought the twins home to, and where we married.
“A place where I thought I would grow old.
“But it is also the place that marks the beginning of the end of our family.”
Brad celebrates a new rosé in 2020
Brad inspects the vines on his estate in May
The cover of Hello magazine marks the couple’s dream wedding day in 2014
A bottle of Miraval Rosé from theestate