They fell in love on the set of ‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith’, a blockbuster action comedy that made them Hollywood’s hottest couple. But when Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt reunited on screen a decade later, it was a different story.
‘By The Sea’, a 2015 film written and directed by Jolie, was a passion project for the actress, who wanted to work with her husband again and explore their relationship through a fictional lens.
The film, set in the 1970s, follows Vanessa and Roland, a glamorous but unhappy pair who travel to a seaside resort in France, where they encounter a young couple in the next room. As they spy on their neighbors through a hole in the wall, they confront their own issues and try to reconnect.
But instead of rekindling their love, the film exposed their cracks and pushed them further apart. The movie was a flop at the box office, earning only $3.3 million worldwide against a budget of $25 million. It also received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the cinematography and performances but criticized the slow pace and lack of plot.
But the real damage was done behind the scenes. According to Jolie, who filed for divorce from Pitt in 2016, the film was an attempt to save their marriage, which was already crumbling due to their busy schedules and personal differences.
“We had met working together and we worked together well… I wanted us to do some serious work together… I thought it would be a good way for us to communicate,” she told The Hollywood Reporter in 2017.
She added: “In some ways it was, and in some ways we learned some things. But there was a heaviness probably during that situation that carried on and it wasn’t because of the film.”
Pitt, who was accused of child abuse by Jolie during their divorce proceedings, also admitted that the film was a challenge for their relationship.
“It was probably not the wisest way to spend a honeymoon. Because you know, it’s very jarring for the crew,” he told GQ Style in 2017.
He added: “We’re not ones to run away from these things. We get into it. We’re human.”
The film also took a toll on their physical and mental health. Jolie revealed that she had developed Bell’s palsy, a condition that causes temporary facial paralysis, during the filming. She also underwent a preventive double mastectomy and oophorectomy after discovering she had a high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.
Pitt confessed that he had struggled with alcoholism and depression for years, which affected his marriage and his parenting. He said he had quit drinking and sought therapy after his split from Jolie.
The couple, who share six children, have been locked in a bitter custody battle since their separation. They have also been involved in several legal disputes over their finances and properties.
‘By The Sea’ is not the only movie that has ruined real-life marriages of actors. Other examples include ‘Cleopatra’, which ended the marriages of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton; ‘The Break-Up’, which led to the split of Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn; and ‘Daredevil’, which sparked the affair of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner.
But ‘By The Sea’ stands out as a rare case of a movie that was meant to heal a marriage but ended up breaking it instead.