Imbibe enough with all your serially monogamous BFFs and after your nth dark’n’stormy, you’ll become something of a third party oracle. Said besties will come to you with gifts of kiwi and first-borns and while you’ll keep the fruits and dismiss the progeny, you’ll be able to offer your sage advice. Mostly it’s the type you get when you’re invited to spend the company of said couple, but then subject to their awkward silences — silences that are less, “I love you,” and more, “Damn, that other chick’s hot.” And because Brangelina has kept an entire world intoxicated for so long, somehow suspended in the voodoo of their combined perfection, it really was only a matter of time before our constant scrutiny was going to bore a hole through their façade. And now here we are, weathering our own Brangelina hangover, wondering if Jennifer Aniston doing her own little paganistic happy dance, having burned down an effigy of the couple to nothing but a few cinders. But here are a few ways you can tell their relationship is on its last legs and wobbling.
1. Brad Pitt’s mayoral bid: Because Pitt probably wants to put his own stamp on the messianic complex that one seems to adopt when dating Jolie, he’s fixed that dreamy gaze of his on the tattered, ravaged ruins of New Orleans. And despite vaguely shirking word of his mayoral bid in the city, he hasn’t exactly withdrawn from the race. “I don’t have a chance. No, that’s not what I do best.” But Brad, that didn’t stop our last president either! The more important question is would Jolie be game for filling in the kitten heels as Pitt’s First Lady of New Orleans? Not when she can continue her reign as Empress of the Free World. Sort of. And so what we have here is a power struggle.
2. Body language: Judi James, relationship expert and authoress of The Body Language Bible exclaims on seeing the couple’s appearance at the Inglourious Basterds premiere, “Judging by the poses they have done recently I’m quite surprised they are still together. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they split up very soon.” Adds James, who may have been the third wheel many a time in her own lifetime, “He seems quite youthful and fun-loving – but you never see that side of him when he’s with Angelina. The humour seems to be suppressed and come out when he’s by himself. When he’s by himself he seems more relaxed, like he’s having a good time. I feel with Angelina he tries to become someone he’s not and the strain is showing.” James even adds that their affection was “badly choreographed” and as much as I want to agree with her crackpot theories, the only time there’s bad choreography in mating is when Kourtney Kardashian forgets to take her pill.
3. Angelina Jolie’s despotic reach: So here’s the other thing. Jolie has the entire universe at her fingertips. Gia for the lesbians; Girl, Interrupted for the gays; and Tomb Raider for everyone else. In her oeuvre, she’s played every type of role conceivable and for any gaps she’s neglected, she’s done all this humanitarian work. Basically, we all love her. She’s the brains behind the Brangelina brand and if Pitt was to step an inch too far right, she could crack a whip on his back or show him the door. In the off-chance she did that, we still wouldn’t look at her with the same contemptuous, cowering fear that we regard Madonna with.
4. Differing artistic visions: Pitt basically only ever portrays one character on-screen: Brad Pitt. He does it with aplomb and an unquestionable degree of sex appeal. But that’s it. Jolie, on the other hand, inspires confidence, because she’s done everything from terrible rom-coms to searing Oscar bait. And with conviction. Number one rule of artists dating other artists: neither one can be inferior to the other. The clock’s ticking on this one.
5. The kids: Ah, yes. Then we get to the meat of the relationship. These children, Maddox, Zahara, and the other 256 of them are and will always be Jolie’s. It’s likely they all have five-digit serial numbers tattooed on their backs, so in case Pitt were to run off with the children, Jolie would have her best men on it. Pitt’s not their father. To them, he’s just another manny. Men will come and go, children, but Angelina Jolie…she’s forever.