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Inside Angelina Jolie's Heartbreaking Decision to Leave Brad Pitt: Divorce 'Is Not Something You Do Impulsively'

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After 12 years and six kids together, Angelina Jolie files for divorce from Brad Pitt just after their two-year wedding anniversary. Subscribe now for the real story behind the split, only in PEOPLE.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt may have had the ultimate Hollywood romance from the outside, but behind closed doors, their marriage was slowly coming apart.

After months of mounting tensions between the two, Jolie, 41, told Pitt she wanted a divorce, an end to their two-year marriage and 12-year relationship.

“Things built and built over time – it wasn’t any one thing,” a source close to the actress tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story, on newsstands Friday. “She’s loved this man for several years, and [divorce] is not something you do impulsively.”

Meanwhile, a Pitt source tells PEOPLE: “There was clearly a breaking point, where she’d just had enough,” says the Pitt source. “He may have been broken himself and said he couldn’t go on, and she reacted. This has been difficult for a while.”

On Thursday, PEOPLE confirmed that Pitt is under investigation for child abuse by the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services following a Sept. 14 incident on a private plane in which he allegedly got “verbally abusive” and “physical” with one of the couple’s kids in front of Jolie and at least some of their other children. In her divorce filing, Jolie listed the couple’s date of separation as the following day, Sept. 15.

In the cover story, sources detail how Jolie told Pitt she wanted a divorce, why he “begged” her to wait and how their relationship began to crumble after their 2014 wedding. They faced increasing differences over parenting styles (with Brad taking a
“stricter approach versus Angelina’s “more
relaxed attitude,” according to another insider), the direction of their careers and more.

For more details inside Jolie and Pitt’s decision to end their marriage, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

A Pitt source says Jolie told Pitt she was moving forward with the divorce just two days before she filed papers in an L.A. court on September 19 – and Pitt was “wrecked.”

RELATED VIDEO: Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie Divorce: Does Marriage Increase Strain in a Relationship?

“He was appealing to her to do this quietly – not to save the marriage but to consider the well-being of the children – and it was ignored,” says the Pitt source.

But Jolie – who said in a statement the decision was “for the health of her family” – did “what she needed to do,” says a source close to her.

For more on the divorce, watch People Cover Story: Brad & Angelina on the new People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to people.com/PEN or download the free app on your Smart TV, mobile and Web devices.

Still, both sides say Pitt and Jolie still love each other and expect them to find a way to “move forward in a dignified way,” as a Pitt source puts it. Says a Jolie source: “They have six kids together and are always going to be in each other’s lives.”