Samuel L. Jackson Doesn't Care About Brad & Angelina's Divorce & Neither Should We
If, when the news first broke that the celebrity fairy tale of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's marriage had ended your first thought was, "I wonder what Samuel L. Jackson has to say about all of this," then you, my friend, are in luck. Good Morning Britain happened to be just as curious about his opinion on the matter when they asked him about it during an interview on Thursday. After the show's interviewer comments on how sad Jolie and Pitt's divorce announcement is, Jackson responds glibly, "Is it?" Guys, it turns out that Jackson doesn't really care about Jolie and Pitt's divorce. However, he did share some incredibly sharp observations concerning the cultural response to the celebrity break-up, and you know what? I'm kind of inclined to agree with a lot of it.
It's life. You know people carry on. People do what they do. There's a huge segment of America that still thinks what he did to Jennifer Aniston was just wrong, and they're just overjoyed that the Wicked Witch lost a husband or whatever... And I'm sure there's another segment that thinks it is sad and it's a dissolution of another family and all those kids or whatever, but I don't know why it's everybody's business, or why people care anyway.
Though his delivery of the point could be considered as being a little blunt, Jackson's refreshingly honest response makes me want to jump up and down and applaud him. Though we're obviously entitled to have our own reaction to celebrity news of this sort, because we can relate to it or empathize with the pain of it or feel supportive of famous people on a fan basis, the obsessive outpouring of speculation which has followed in the wake of this particular news is on a grotesque, high level.
The perversity of just how thirsty public interest is in knowing every sordid detail of Jolie and Pitt's divorce is highlighted, I think, by Jackson's response. It's not even so much what he's said that feels so poignant in illustrating why the intimate details of a celebrity break-up is kind of none of our business, but the fact that he was even asked about the situation in the first place that proves it. Surely I'm not the only person who saw that Jackson had apparently made this statement and felt deeply confused by it; had it of been George Clooney (a notable friend of both Pitt and Jolie), then it might have made some sense. But Jackson? Is he even friends with them both?
Though he's been in three films alongside Pitt (Johnny Suede, True Romance, and Inglorious Basterds), both of their roles in all three movies are so small that I actually doubt they shared much, if any, screen time. The truth is that the lives of celebrities do play out to us like fairy tales, and, whether the stories we're told by the media about them are true or not, we become in some way invested in them. It's very telling, for instance, that Jackson chose to use the trope of the "wicked witch" to describe the way that some members of the public may think of Jolie, because that's also a pretty accurate depiction for how the media depicted the humanitarian and actress when she and Pitt were first rumored to be dating.
Tabloids don't appear to sell us absolute truths, but salacious, digestible depictions of it, relying on the dependability of archaic tropes and dubiously sourced "facts" (which may as well be fiction) with which to formulate stories of real lives. It's easy to form some form of investment in a celebrity or a couple when we're reading and hearing about them all the time, and their existence — however it's presented to us — can feel real and tangible. When something happens to disrupt the narrative that we've come to know, and perhaps even find some sort of comfort in, it can feel genuinely upsetting. There's a reason, after all, why so many tales finish with And they lived happily ever after, because who wants to hear otherwise? Why shatter the illusion?
But Pitt and Jolie, like all celebrities, aren't characters. Their lives aren't stories for us to gossip endlessly about and to peek our greedy eyes at through the unhallowed peep show of the tabloid media. They're actual people, and, no matter how much we might think we know them or their lives, we well and truly don't. And like Jackson said, what has, is and will happen to these people is truly none of our business.
Jolie's lawyer confirmed that she did in fact file for divorce from Pitt in a statement via her lawyer to Reuters. "This decision was made for the health of the family. She will not be commenting, and asks that the family be given its privacy at this time," said Robert Offer, according to the newswire. Meanwhile, Pitt confirmed his divorce from Jolie in a statement to PEOPLE, saying, "I am very saddened by this, but what matters most now is the well-being of our kids... I kindly ask the press to give them the space they deserve during this challenging time." Both statements make a point of asking for privacy, which, honestly, they shouldn't need to ask for.
Though we're entitled to still feel something when we hear such news as Brangelina's divorce, we truly don't have much of a right to know anything beyond that. Like how we all move on from the dramas, break-ups and heartache that can carelessly punctuate our actual lives, I definitely think it's time for all of us to close the book on this particular fairy tale, move quickly on, and allow it to play out beyond the final chapter — without our reading of it.