The FBI has said it is considering whether to launch an investigation into an alleged incident on an aircraft carrying Brad Pitt and his children, when he reportedly got into an argument with 15-year-old son Maddox.
Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from the actor on Monday, citing irreconcilable differences, and has asked for physical custody of the couple’s six children.
In a statement, the FBI confirmed it was aware of allegations involving an “aircraft carrying Mr. Brad Pitt and his children”.
“The FBI is continuing to gather facts and will evaluate whether an investigation at the federal level will be pursued,” it added.
According to TMZ, the Hollywood gossip website, the allegations stem from a flight from France to Minnesota on Wednesday of last week, when he is alleged to have got drunk before going “wild,” screaming and “getting physical.”
The New York Daily News reported that Pitt had got into a verbal argument with eldest son Maddox, 15.
“He was never physically abusive to her or the kids,” a source close to the actor told The New York Post. “He did yell at one of their children on the plane during an argument, but he didn’t hit the child. Brad is denying claims of inappropriate behaviour.”
The incident had been referred to the FBI, because it happened mid-air, TMZ said.
Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), which was earlier said to be investigating, is not involved.
Witnesses told the site that the plane landed at Minnesota airport around 8pm, where Pitt continued to rant on the tarmac before trying to leave in a fuel truck.
An anonymous third person then called child protection services, according to TMZ.
The report claimed that Pitt and Jolie had been interviewed by the child protection agency.
Amara Suarez, of Los Angeles child protection services, told The Telegraph: “We have very strict confidentiality rules regarding our children, so are unable to confirm or deny.”
Earlier, the LAPD had denied reports that it had opened an investigation into Pitt. A police patrol car seen on Thursday morning entering the gated compound where Jolie and Pitt live was a standard patrol, said Tony Im, a police spokesman.
Officer Luis Garcia said: “We have absolutely not initiated anything on Brad Pitt. We don’t know where this has come from – maybe hearsay or something – but certainly no complaint has been made to us.”
A second LAPD officer, Jenny Houser, told The Telegraph: “LAPD is not handling any report or investigation of child abuse against Mr Brad Pitt.”
A source close to Pitt told TMZ: “He takes the matter very seriously and says he did not commit any abuse of his children.
“It’s unfortunate that people involved are continuing to present him in the worst possible light.”
In quotes | Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
On being directed by his wife: “I need to know I’m in good hands, and I trust Angie with my life. I love her instincts. She’s ferocious with a story and she’s really decisive at her post – in command.” (2015)
On finding time for each other: “We find our time. We carve out mummy/daddy time that’s not mummy/daddy time. It’s called a hotel.” (2011)
On family life: “A lot of love, a lot of fighting, a lot of refereeing; a lot of teeth-brushing and spilling… Chaos, total chaos. But so much fun.” (2015)
On her relationship with her husband: “Brad and I have our issues… To be clear: we have fights and problems like any other couple. We have days when we drive each other absolutely mad and want space.” (2015)
On her priorities: “I say kids first, woman to Brad and then my work internationally; and try to educate myself and learn about the world and do some good things while I’m alive.” (2010)
On the film By the Sea: “The film says, ‘Whatever you go through, weather the storm and stick together.’ So it was kind of a message to each other that we are going to stick together whatever comes.” (2015)
Jolie and Pitt were together for 12 years, marrying in 2014, and have six children.
The actress cited irreconcilable differences as the reason behind her decision to seek a divorce.
Pitt, 52, was said to be devastated, and furious at suggestions that she was concerned by his alleged alcohol consumption, marijuana smoking and “anger issues”.
Jolie is said to have been angered by his relationship with Oscar-winning French actress Marion Cotillard – his co-star in the film Allied, out in November.
This is going to be my first and only reaction to the whirlwind news that broke 24 hours ago and that I was swept up into. I am not used to commenting on things like this nor taking them seriously but as this situation is spiraling and affecting people I love, I have to speak up. Firstly, many years ago, I met the man of my life, father of our son and of the baby we are expecting. He is my love, my best friend, the only one that I need. Secondly to those who have indicated that I am devastated, I am very well thank you. This crafted conversation isn’t distressing. And to all the media and the haters who are quick to pass judgment, I sincerely wish you a swift recovery. Finally, I do very much wish that Angelina and Brad, both whom I deeply respect, will find peace in this very tumultuous moment. With all my love Marion Ceci sera la première et seule réaction que j’aurai concernant la déferlante inouïe qui à commencé il y a de ça 24 heures et à laquelle je suis mêlée malgré moi. Je n’ai pas pour habitude de commenter ni de prendre au sérieux le tas d’absurdités déversées à mon sujet mais la situation prenant une telle tournure et affectant des gens que j’aime, je me dois de m’exprimer. Pour commencer, j’ai rencontré il y a quelques années l’homme de ma vie , le père de notre fils et du bébé que nous attendons aujourd’hui. Il est mon amour, mon meilleur ami et le seul homme dont j’ai besoin. Ensuite, à ceux qui me prétendent dévastée, je vais très bien merci. Ce genre d’inventions aberrantes ne m’affecte en aucun cas. Et pour finir, à la “presse”, à tous les haters, trolls et consorts qui ont le jugement si rapide je vous souhaite sincèrement… un prompt rétablissement. Ceci dit et un peu plus sérieusement, je souhaite à Angelina et Brad, deux personnes pour qui j’ai un profond respect, de trouver la paix dans ce moment tumultueux. Avec tout mon amour. Marion
Cotillard has a five-year-old son, Marcel, with her partner, French actor Guillaume Canet.
On Wednesday night Cotillard spoke out for the first time about the swirling speculation, denying any romantic involvement with Pitt and announcing she is pregnant with her second child by Canet.