Last week, Angelina Jolie celebrated her 43rd birthday by taking all six of her children to a theme park in London—and even hopping on roller coasters with them. As it turns out, according to a court order obtained by CNN, at the same time she was weathering the much rockier roller coaster of her custody battle with Brad Pitt, which has continued for well over a year and a half, since their divorce in 2016.
Though Jolie has had full custody of their children—Maddox, 16; Pax, 14; Zahara, 13; Shiloh, 12; and Vivienne and Knox, both 9—since the divorce, now, according to the documents, the Superior Court of Los Angeles County has "determined that not having a relationship with their father is harmful to" the children, and that they are "safe with their father." (The court also told Jolie she must communicate these two points to their kids.)
After their divorce—which immediately followed an alleged instance of child abuse, of which Pitt has since been cleared—Pitt made it clear that, in addition to being a Hollywood god, he's painfully human and has been dealing with alcohol- and substance-abuse issues for decades. He's reportedly now been sober for over a year, which may have been a factor in the court's decision to grant him unlimited phone access to his children, and to outline a custody schedule for the summer that divides the children's time between their parents in London and Los Angeles. (They also told Jolie she must tell her children that having a healthy relationship with both of their parents is "critical.")
The arrangement is subject to change—and the court raised the possibility of both a future "reduction of the time [the children] spend with [Jolie]" and "ordering primary physical custody to [Pitt]"—but as of right now, Jolie, who's sought and still seeks sole custody, still has primary physical custody of the children. (For the record, a spokesperson for Jolie has since called the custody development a "misleading leak" that's "not in the best interests of the children," adding that "from the start, Angelina has been focused only on their health and needs, which is why it was so important that this last court hearing be conducted privately. It’s deplorable that someone, for their own selfish reasons, leaked selective portions of the confidential and sealed court record to create an inaccurate and unfair picture of what is really happening.”)
Jolie and Pitt have proved they're capable of being amiable—for example, they still run their shared wine estate—and it's hopefully true that Pitt has been "much, much happier" and "charming" since the divorce. Of course, the real hope here is that things will get sorted out soon for the children—at the very least so that they can continue enjoying days at the amusement park with Mom in peace.