Brad Pitt 'very saddened' as Angelina Jolie files for divorce

Jolie's lawyer says the decision was made "for the health of the family"

Brad Pitt 'very saddened' as Angelina Jolie files for divorce

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Pitt attend the WSJ Magazine Innovator Awards 2015 at The Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2015 | Image: Charles Sykes / AP/Press Association Images

Actor Brad Pitt has said he is "very saddened" after his wife Angelina Jolie filed for divorce after 12 years together.

Robert Offer, Jolie's lawyer, said in a statement that the decision had been made "for the health of the family".

He added: "She will not be commenting and asks that the family be given privacy at this time."

Jolie (41) cited irreconcilable differences with Pitt, listing their date of separation as September 15th.

The nature of the differences has not been revealed but TMZ reports there was conflict over Pitt's parenting, with a source saying Jolie was "extremely upset with his methods".

Reacting to Jolie's decision to end their marriage, Pitt said: "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."

The couple have six children - Maddox (15), Pax (12), Zahara (11), Shiloh (10) and eight-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne.

Jolie is seeking custody of all of them with visitation rights for Pitt, and she does not want spousal support.

The pair, known to some as 'Brangelina', married in a private ceremony in France in 2014 but they had been together since 2004.

They had first met on the set of the film 'Mr And Mrs Smith', while Pitt was still married to 'Friends' star Jennifer Aniston.

Jolie had been married twice before - to actors Jonny Lee Miller and Billy Bob Thornton.

#Brangelina

She is being represented in these proceedings by divorce lawyer Laura Wasser, who helped her divorce Thornton and is also representing Johnny Depp in his divorce from Amber Heard.

The split drove fans to social media, with some lamenting the break up, many considering Aniston's response and one even blaming it for an earthquake in California moments after the announcement.

#brangelina was mentioned roughly 720 times per minute on Twitter, more than triple mentions for the United Nations General Assembly, according to analytics firm Zoomph.

As well as their film careers, Pitt and Jolie are both known for charitable work: they set up the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation 10 years ago to assist in humanitarian crises around the world, launching it with a US$1m donation to Médecins Sans Frontières.

Jolie represented the UN High Commission for Refugees as a goodwill ambassador between 2001 and 2012, becoming a special envoy in April 2012.

She has also been a well-known symbol in the battle against cancer, having undergone a double mastectomy and removal of her ovaries and fallopian tubes to prevent an aggressive form of the disease that killed her mother, aunt and grandmother.

Pitt started the Make It Right Foundation after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, donating US$5m (€4.4m) to help rebuild New Orleans after the disaster.

The 52-year-old is currently focusing on opening a luxury resort in Croatia.