When it comes to the kids, Angelina Jolie has been calling the shots for nearly two years. She's had primary custody of Maddox, 16, Pax, 14, Zahara, 13, Shiloh, 12, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 9, ever since she filed for divorce in 2016, while Brad Pitt has had visitation that's often been, multiple sources tell In Touch, at Angelina's whim. But now Brad can claim a major victory in the wake of their bitter split. After months of biding his time and biting his tongue, Brad's decision to play a long game as their emotionally fraught divorce battle rages on has paid off.
"Brad's finally got the kids, and he's overjoyed,” a family friend tells In Touch. “To Brad's delight, Angelina has decided to let the majority of the children, who have summer camps and a slew of other activities in the works, stay in LA with their father while she’s in Britain shooting Maleficent 2." It almost didn’t happen. Brad was livid after she initially told him she’d found a home just outside of London to live in with all six kids while she filmed the Disney sequel through August, "but to keep him from fighting her on it," says the friend, "she promised Brad that he could spend longer periods of time with the kids over the summer."
It’s what the kids want, too. Angelina relaxed her position on custody when the children told her they wanted to stay in LA (where she bought a home five minutes from Brad’s house last year) for most of the summer while she was filming abroad, says the friend. Even though Angelina, 42, has a flexible shooting schedule "and might come back to LA for short visits over the summer," adds the friend, Brad, 54, "couldn’t be happier, because now he knows he'll be able to have quality time with the kids."
Brad's already preparing the house. "He gets such enjoyment out of seeing them cut loose at their amusement park–like former home," says the friend, "so he’s really spruced up the pool area, the skateboard ramp and the bike track." He's also made sure work this summer won’t interfere with his custody. He's built his summer filming schedule — he’s currently working on the 1960s-set Quentin Tarantino movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood with Leonardo DiCaprio in LA — around the kids "so that he can be home most nights and take short getaways with them," says a source. "Brad has an assortment of day and overnight trips planned with the kids over the summer."
Spending more time with his children could give him the leverage he needs to get joint custody once and for all. "He's been patient long enough," says the friend. "Something's got to give. Angelina can’t control everything forever."
For more on this story, pick up the latest issue of In Touch — and for more exclusive content sign up for our newsletter!