In the midst of their ongoing divorce, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are reportedly facing another, very different legal battle. The Guardian reports that the couple, who own the Chateau Miraval estate in Correns, France, were sued by their interior designer for allegedly failing to pay her for her services and credit her for her work.
Designer Odile Soudant told French publication Libération that the couple hired her in 2010 to design lighting for four buildings on their estate, and then, in 2014, promptly stopped paying her, allegedly without an explanation, according to The Guardian. Soudant says that she had hired 17 people to work on the project, but it slowed to a halt when Pitt's payments stopped.
"Odile, I need you," she says Pitt wrote in one of their email exchanges. "Come here please. I need you to finish."
Another message from the actor reads:
"I don’t know how things happen in France but in the United States, friends don’t attack friends. I’ve been nothing but a fan of your work. Do not attack. Let’s finish the project and be proud of it. The work is too good to end on a bad note. Life is too short, my friend."
Despite this correspondence, Soudant says that her requests for money remained unanswered. In April, the Paris court of appeals ordered Chateau Miraval to pay the designer $662,000 — $70,000 of which was for damaging her reputation, according to Page Six.
A source close to Pitt told Refinery29 that the courts determined Soudant has been paid in full, and that other people involved in the situation, including the project manager and architect, have distanced themselves from Soudant and speak "incredibly highly" of Pitt.
However, Soudant says she's still battling to get credit for the work, which apparently was instead given to an employee after the conflict. "I am an artist and this is my work. When someone tries to steal my work it is something else," she told The Guardian. "This is all very painful for me."
In response to the news, a spokesperson for Brad Pitt issued a statement:
“We respect the Court’s decision resolving this long running, standard dispute over payment of invoices. This narrow ruling does not address any copyright issues involving [lighting] designs developed by Brad and has no connection to Chateau Miraval.”
Refinery29 has reached out to Angelina Jolie and will update this story if we hear back from her team.