Brad Pitt Knows Daughter Shiloh’s Recent Decision to Remove “Pitt” from Her Surname Represents “More Than a Name Change”: Sources

The May 27 legal filing reportedly left Pitt “devastated.”

Brad Pitt
(Image credit: Getty)

On the occasion of her 18th birthday, Shiloh Jolie-Pitt (soon to be, if the courts agree, just Shiloh Jolie)—who is the daughter of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitthired her own lawyer and filed paperwork to legally drop “Pitt” from her surname. Though at least three of her five siblings have informally dropped “Pitt” from their last name, as well, Shiloh is the first that is known to make the change official, and it is a decision that has “devastated” her father, Pitt, Page Six reports.

Though the outlet reports that the actor has been “putting on a brave face” since Shiloh’s May 27 filing, he sees it all as a “symbol of deeper estrangement” and “more than a name change,” a source said.

Brad Pitt and Shiloh Jolie-Pitt

Pitt and Shiloh in 2009, when she was about three years old.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It was a decision they said “has been brewing for years,” likely following Jolie and Pitt’s split in 2016 after 11 years as a couple, allegedly after an altercation on a plane. Jolie and Pitt began their relationship in 2005 after meeting on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith; Shiloh was born the next year, in 2006. The couple eventually married in 2014 but broke up just two years later; technically, they’re still legally married, as their divorce—specifically custody agreements surrounding their youngest children, twins Knox and Vivienne (who are still underage), and their winery, Chateau Miraval—is still being worked out. That said, they were declared legally single in 2019, and Pitt has romantically moved on with Ines de Ramon, whom he has been dating since November 2022.

Jolie and Pitt share six children: Shiloh, plus Maddox, Zahara, and Vivienne, all of whom have reportedly dropped the “Pitt” surname informally, and Knox and Pax; it remains unknown whether they still use “Jolie-Pitt” or not. The children’s estrangement against him is something another source said Pitt is “finding it extremely difficult to come to terms with,” specifically this recent move by Shiloh.

None of the six children “have much of a relationship” with their father, but he, for his part, is “not ready to give up on them.” (This weekend marks Father’s Day in the U.S., which will no doubt be tough for Pitt.) 

Angelina jolie and Brad Pitt

Jolie and Pitt broke up in 2016 after 11 years as a couple, and six children together.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Page Six reports that Pitt is hoping to “forge” a bond with his six children as they “get older and have a life of their own,” insinuating lives away from Jolie, who the outlet reports has used their brood “as a weapon against Brad” and “separated” them from him amid their contentious divorce.

“The reminders that he’s lost his children is, of course, not easy for Brad,” a source told People. “He loves his children and misses them. It’s very sad.” Us Weekly’s source told the publication that “all he can do is be the best father he can possibly be,” they said. “He adores his children, and always will.”

According to a source speaking to Us Weekly, the kids have “struggled to forgive and connect with Brad since the divorce,” they said. “Their mom is the head of the household, and she’s raised them with love and selflessness their whole lives. Once Brad left, it was very hard for them to see him go to war with her.” 

Shiloh Jolie-Pitt

Since the divorce, Jolie (seen here with five of her six kids in 2021) has been the parent the brood has remained closest to.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Shiloh Jolie-Pitt

Shiloh is the first of the six Jolie-Pitt children to file legal paperwork to remove "Pitt" from her surname, which she chose to do on her 18th birthday last month.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Of any potential involvement by Jolie to distance the kids from Pitt, “He feels that the negative narrative Angelina presents to the kids is a major obstacle in his efforts to reconnect,” they said. “With Angelina having daily influence over the children, Brad finds it nearly impossible to change their perceptions.” But, another source counters, “For anyone to suggest she’s controlled them is off base.”

Pitt spoke to GQ in 2017—the year after his breakup from Jolie—and admitted to his shortcomings as a parent: “I grew up with a Father Knows Best, war mentality,” he said. “Instead of really knowing the man [his father] and his own self-doubt and struggles. And it’s hit me smack in the face with our divorce—I gotta be more. I gotta be more for them. I have to show them. And I haven’t been great at it.”

Both Jolie and Pitt almost never speak directly about their divorce, but Jolie told Vogue last September that, in the aftermath of her split from Pitt, she and her children are still “healing”: “We’re still finding our footing,” she said. 

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.