The rumors surrounding the Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie divorce have gotten more troubling with each passing day. After it was first announced that Jolie had filed for divorce from her husband of two years on Tuesday, reports came out alleging that it was because of Pitt's behavior around the children, and that the actor's alleged abuse of marijuana and alcohol reportedly caused a dangerous situation for the family. While those rumors have not been confirmed, things took a turn on Thursday, when it was reported by TMZ and People that Pitt was under investigation from the LAPD for verbal and physical abuse towards his children. (Bustle has reached out to reps for both Pitt & Jolie, but did not hear back at the time of publication.) The LAPD has reportedly denied the report, but that has not stopped many people from questioning the truth behind the claims, and, specifically, wondering about the well-being of the Jolie-Pitt children. Yet while this concern might stem from good intentions, speculating about the state of the couple's six kids is not how anyone should be responding to the news.
While it's perfectly understandable to wonder if the Jolie-Pitt children are OK because of the new allegations, it's crucial to remember that they're just that — allegations. There is no confirmation that Pitt was abusive towards his children in any way, and the LAPD's reported denial of the investigation brings the validity of the claims into question. Yet even if the report does have truth to it, speculating on the state of the children shouldn't be anyone's focus. Both Pitt and Jolie have made it clear in their statements regarding the divorce (neither have officially released statements regarding the Sept. 22 allegations at this time) that the health and well-being of their six kids is their first priority, and that they'd appreciate privacy while they deal with what's clearly a family matter. Yes, they're celebrities, and it's natural that fans will wonder what happened behind-the-scenes to cause the divorce. But there are six minors involved in the situation, and having millions of people speculate over what might or might not have happened to them at the hands of their father is disrespectful and unnecessary.
In the years since they began their family together, Pitt and Jolie have made every effort to keep their children's lives private, rarely bringing them to public events and even less frequently commenting on them to the media. By and large, any reports about the children's actions that were released in the press were the efforts of paparazzi or prying reporters, rather than voluntary submissions by Jolie or Pitt. They're one of the most famous celebrity families in the world, subject to endless media coverage and speculation, and so it makes perfect sense that Jolie and Pitt have chosen to keep their children out of the spotlight as much as possible. Now that the divorce has been announced and the abuse allegations have been reported, the former couple likely wants even more privacy, and for their children not become the focus of fans or the media. It's a perfectly reasonable expectations, one that we should all feel an obligation to honor.
None of the six Jolie-Pitt children are over 18; they range in ages from 8 to 15. They are all old enough to understand at least the basics of what their parents' fame means, and have likely already experienced some fraction of loss of their privacy because of it. To add to this difficult element now — in a way that's even more damaging, due to the nature of the claims against Pitt — is not acceptable. Jolie and Pitt are celebrities whose divorce is, understandably, a hot topic for the media, but while Pitt & Jolie chose the spotlight, their six children never elected to have their lives scrutinized and dissected by millions. It's only right to respect that.