Details About Brad Pitt's Strained Relationship With Son Maddox

Prior to their highly publicized split in 2016, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie became parents to six children: Maddox, Pax, Zahara, Shiloh, Knox, and Vivienne. The Jolie-Pitt siblings have been a media sensation since day one. Details of the children's private lives are scarce, with their celebrity parents sharing only small glimpses into their exciting and lavish world. Jolie seemingly enjoys discussing motherhood during press interviews, but Pitt is more reserved when it comes to his relationship with his kids. However, the actor did open up in 2014, telling Psychologies Magazine, "Being a father has changed me on so many levels and made me more generous and alive...I love being a father and all the responsibilities that entails" (via E!Online).

Fans were shocked when Pitt and Jolie pulled the plug on their iconic 12-year relationship. In a series of flaming testimonies, insiders claimed that the divorce was prompted by a fight between Pitt and one of his kids. The sources accused Pitt of becoming violent toward Jolie and the children during the fateful altercation. As more details emerged, it became evident that the couple's eldest son, Maddox Jolie-Pitt, was the kid at the center of the scandal. To this day, fans wonder what exactly went down during that infamous fight, and where Pitt's relationship with Maddox currently stands. Read on for a breakdown of all the details.

Brad Pitt adopted Maddox Jolie-Pitt in 2005

Maddox's birth and adoption from Battambang, Cambodia was the catalyst for one of Hollywood's most prolific families. Angelina Jolie paid her first visit to Cambodia while filming "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider." After falling in love with the country's rich culture and its resilient people, Jolie resolved to adopt a Cambodian orphan. Thus, the actor adopted six-month-old Maddox in 2002. By 2005, Jolie began dating her "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" co-star, Brad Pitt, and the Jolie-Pitt family soon materialized. In 2006, Pitt adopted Maddox. Their perfect union came as a surprise to Jolie, who was delighted by Pitt's fatherly affection for the little boy.

In a 2007 interview with Vogue, Jolie recalled the magical moment when Maddox — who was three years old at the time — accepted Pitt as a father figure. The "Salt" actress remarked, "He just out of the blue called him Dad. It was amazing. We were playing with cars on the floor of a hotel room, and we both heard it and didn't say anything and just looked at each other. And then we kind of let it go on, and then he just continued to do it and that was it."

The event was life-changing for Pitt, who later told The Telegraph, "Everyone talks about the joy of having kids – blah, blah, blah. But I never knew how much I could love something until I looked in the faces of my children" (via E!News).

They had a special bond during Maddox's childhood

As the Jolie-Pitt family grew, Brad Pitt and his son Maddox remained a dynamic duo. Maddox took an interest in hobbies like aviation and studying combat vehicles. These intellectual pursuits brought the youngster even closer to Pitt. In 2014, the proud dad revealed that Maddox gave him a lesson on tanks during the filming of the movie "Fury." 

"Maddox knows so much about tanks that when we first started on the movie, I was asking him for information," Brad told Radio Times (via Vogue). "He has an extensive knowledge developed on his own since he was young." But this wasn't the first time that Maddox lent a hand for one of Pitt's films. In 2013, Maddox made a cameo appearance as a zombie in the movie "World War Z," which starred his dad. 

The father and son also shared a passion for racing — and they had a collection of fast machines to prove it. In 2012, E!News reported that Pitt gave Maddox a Suzuki dirt bike for his 11th birthday. "It'll be a fun thing for them to do, and obviously [Brad] has a real passion for bikes which he'd like to pass on," a source told the publication. It must have been a huge moment for Maddox, who reportedly started riding dirt bikes with his dad in 2005.

Brad was accused of attacking Maddox on the family's aircraft

The family's picture-perfect image shattered in 2016 after Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from Brad Pitt. Soon, rumors began flying about the circumstances of their separation. Some sources claimed that Pitt became abusive towards Jolie and the children during an argument that took place on the family's private jet. In 2022, a court filing about the incident was made public. In the document, Jolie's legal team alleged that Pitt drunkenly attacked her, grabbing the actor's head and shaking her several times. The filing stated, "Pitt lunged at his own child and Jolie grabbed him from behind to stop him. Before it was over, Pitt choked one of the children and struck another in the face" (per NPR). A month later, authorities investigated the incident, but no charges were filed. 

Neither Pitt nor Jolie has publicly addressed the incident that doomed their marriage, but insiders have come forward to share what went down during the in-flight nightmare. One source confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that a physical altercation had occurred between Pitt and Maddox, who was 15 at the time. Another source told People that Pitt "made contact with Maddox in the shoulder area" when the teen stepped in to defend his mother. 

In 2020, Jolie opened up about her divorce to Vogue India. The "Maleficent" actor did not address the airborne altercation, but did confirm, "I separated for the wellbeing of my family. It was the right decision."

Brad denied allegations about being violent towards Maddox

2016 was a challenging year for the Jolie-Pitt children as they grappled with the airplane debacle and their parents' divorce — all while being hammered with tabloid gossip. Addressing the divorce to People, Brad Pitt stated, "I am very saddened by this, but what matters most now is the wellbeing of our kids."

As of this writing, Pitt and Jolie's divorce has yet to be finalized — although the A-listers were declared single by a judge in 2019. Throughout the ordeal, Pitt has maintained that he never abused Maddox or any other family members. In 2016, a Pitt source chalked the airplane incident up to a standard clash between an angsty teen and an exasperated father. "It was a typical argument between parents and kids," the insider told E!News, "Things got heated but they were never in physical danger." The source insisted, "There is no abuse. [Brad and Angelina] love the kids more than anything else in the world."

While he denied being physically aggressive, Pitt has owned up to yelling at his children. In a 2017 interview with GQ, the A-lister also admitted that his drinking got out of hand in the lead-up to his divorce.

Brad desperately wants to reunite with Maddox

With his marriage in ruins, Brad Pitt was left to pick up the pieces alone. Anticipating a long road to redemption, the actor started by addressing his troublesome relationship with alcohol. As he told the New York Times, Pitt spent the next year and a half attending Alcoholics Anonymous. It was an important step towards bettering himself for his kids' sake. However, for Pitt's oldest son Maddox, the gesture may have been too little, too late. 

One month after their fateful plane ride, the "Moneyball" actor was allowed to reunite with his children. But there was one notable absence during the emotional encounter: Maddox was nowhere in sight. According to an insider, the teen had chosen to opt out of the visit. "Maddox never wants to see Brad again," the source told Us Magazine. In 2018, the former couple reached a new custody agreement that allowed Pitt to spend more time with his children. However, Maddox was excluded from the arrangement since he was old enough to choose which parent he wanted to spend time with.

Still, Pitt is desperate to make amends with his estranged son. In 2019, an insider revealed that the actor was disappointed after several unsuccessful attempts to reconnect with Maddox. "Maddox hasn't been receptive," the source revealed to Us Weekly. "And for Brad, it's a tremendous loss."

Brad Pitt might have ditched the BAFTAs for Maddox

One lamentable thing about being famous is that everybody has an opinion about your personal life. In 2019, Wendy Williams offered Brad Pitt some not-so-great advice for reconnecting with Maddox. The talk show host's suggestion was ... extreme, to say the least. "Brad can fly to Korea and squat outside the dorm, I mean, there are things that parents can do, particularly if you have endless amounts of money," Williams proclaimed. "If you really want to reconnect with this boy, then leave Angelina out of it, and you go over there, and basically, you stalk him in the name of love" (via InTouch). Thankfully, Pitt did not take that advice. However, the actor does seem willing to move mountains to earn Maddox's trust — even if it means bailing on a major awards show.

In 2020, Pitt dropped out of the BAFTAs due to a family obligation. The Sun elaborated on the situation, claiming that Pitt was headed to a rare meetup with Maddox. A source allegedly told the tabloid, "Maddox gave Brad the chance to talk and he dropped ­everything." Purportedly, Pitt canceled his UK plans upon discovering out that Maddox was in town and was willing to meet with him. Other media outlets speculated that Pitt's absence was actually due to two of his other children recovering from surgeries — but regardless of the reason, we hope that the father and son got the chance to reconnect.

Maddox may not be ready to forgive his father

While Brad Pitt is reportedly heartbroken over their stormy relationship, it seems as though Maddox is focused on moving forward without his dad by his side. In 2021, Us Weekly reported that Maddox testified against Pitt in a custody hearing over the younger Jolie-Pitt children. Just a few weeks later, Maddox was spotted enjoying a carefree lunch with a friend in Los Angeles. In the photos, the young celebrity was all smiles. He even appeared amused by the paparazzi that were lurking nearby. Perhaps Maddox really was unbothered by the fallout with his dad, or maybe he was just putting on a brave face.

Considering the details of their estrangement and how young Maddox was at the time, Maddox's feelings toward the situation seem totally understandable. It's easy to sympathize with a beloved movie star like Pitt — but our hearts also break for Maddox, who seems to have been hurt and betrayed by his father's actions. In 2022, an insider told OK!, "The truth is, he still finds it difficult to get past what happened between them. Anyone who goes up against his mom is not going to get much time from Maddox. He would do anything for her."

Maddox is estranged from his father

In 2019, Maddox finally spoke out about his relationship with Brad Pitt. When an InTouch reporter approached the young man at his college campus, Maddox was asked whether Pitt would come visit. He replied, "I don't know about that, or what's happening." Then, the reporter dropped the million-dollar question, "Is your relationship with him over?" The college student apathetically responded, "Whatever happens, happens." The same year, a family friend confirmed the estrangement to Us Weekly, claiming that "Maddox doesn't really see himself as Brad's son."

Sadly, their fractured relationship continues to generate headlines. In 2019, some media outlets reported that Maddox refused to see his father on Christmas. Another diss came when Pitt was not invited to Maddox's big send-off for his freshman year at Yonsei University in South Korea. The "Bullet Train" actor also missed out on spending a milestone with his son. As InTouch reported, Maddox's 21st birthday came and went with no contact between the two. Reportedly, Pitt sent Maddox a gift along with a sentimental note — but Maddox rejected the gesture. With a seemingly ever-growing rift between them, many fans are left to wonder if the father and son will ever be able to patch things up.

Some of Maddox's family members want him to reunite with Brad

In the ultimate snub, Maddox Jolie-Pitt has reportedly thought about ditching Brad's surname. A source spoke to Us Weekly about the slight, saying, "He doesn't use Pitt as his last name on documents that aren't legal and instead uses Jolie." According to the insider, Maddox has considered legally changing his last name — a move that his mother expressly disapproves of. Despite Maddox's strained relationship with his dad, Jolie seems to understand that his last name is a testament to their extraordinary history, and to the bond that they once shared. After everything they've been through as a family, it's no wonder that Jolie wants Pitt to remain in Maddox's life. Purportedly, Jolie hopes that Maddox and his father will one day be able to have a fresh start together. 

According to sources, Maddox's younger sister, Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, also hopes that Maddox will reunite with their dad. Shiloh was quick to forgive Pitt after the fallout with Jolie. The teenager has a close relationship with both of her parents — and she wants the same for her siblings. "Shiloh has a tight bond with each of her siblings, and she's helped them all through the divorce process," a source told OK! in 2022. "She's encouraging them to have a relationship with their dad because he's always been there for them, and he's a human being and doesn't deserve to be treated like a monstrous criminal."