Today, at 10:28 a.m. EST, TMZ reported that United Nations ambassador and movie actor Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from mere movie actor Brad Pitt, presenting the world with a fresh round of existential torment. What does Brangelina minus Angelina equal? Was the W photo spread real? Is love real? In the face of these questions, we can only hope for solace in the flurry of Jennifer Aniston victorious GIFs, and a shared desire to make sense of the inscrutable.
Rumors will fly about what will come of those many, many children, and many, many houses. Those are complicated conversations that will occupy us for an indefinite period of time, and probably forever. The central question, at least for us and at least for now, is how this affects Washingtonians.
On first glance, you would think that the Brangelina split bears little relevance to DC. But you would be wrong.
- When she filed for divorce, Jolie cited irreconcilable differences. As of 1977, if you are filing for divorce in DC, you, too, can cite irreconcilable differences. DC law specifically phrases this as a marriage “irretrievably broken.” Much like our hearts.
- In January 2012, Jolie and Pitt visited President Obama at the White House. In photos snapped of their visit, they looked happy, reflecting two souls intertwined and thus a world at peace. If you are in DC, you can also visit the White House, as long as you plan the trip in advance. You can walk many of the same hallways they did, and perhaps feel the brush of their joint tender ghosts.
- Earlier this spring, it was reported that Jolie would be a visiting professor at Georgetown, which is located in DC. This turned out to be a rumor. But that’s fine. You can still stroll through campus, pondering a world in which Jolie, weary after delivering a two-hour lecture on world peace, is greeted by Pitt, ancient grains in tow.
- At the Smithsonian’s National Portrait gallery hangs a painting of Brad Pitt: rugged and long-haired, unshaven and reckless, serious but, in the teal sea of his eyes, hopeful. How will we experience that heavy brushwork now? Lonely and longing? Was he ever staring placid and “glassy-eyed,” as some critics suggested? Or can you see there, in the rise of his brow, a burgeoning skepticism about life and love to come?
- Angelina Jolie played a CIA operative in the movie Salt, which was shot in Georgetown, which, as we’ve established, is located in DC. We will all return to Georgetown in the coming days and weeks, but we’ll perhaps walk a bit more softly down the streets she and Pitt once happily tread.