“It was hell – he turned their Beverley Hills mansion into a backwoods shack and regularly challenged Angelina’s celebrity friends to bizarre contests,” claims Darlene Offalgut – allegedly a former confidant of Angelina Jolie – of the top Hollywood actress’ former husband Billy Bob Thornton. “John Malkovich stopped coming round after Billy Bob challenged him to a projectile vomiting competition – John lost after he only managed to puke down the front of his shirt.” Offalgut, who was Jolie’s official buttock waxer for three years, claims to have been witness to several harrowing incidents which contributed to the breakdown of the couple’s relationship. “Billy Bob was always a feudin’ with one or other of her Hollywood friends – he once ran Lauren Bacall off the property after she beat him in a spittin’ contest,” she recalls. “But the worst feud was the one he had with her Daddy – that was the one which broke the marriage.” According to Offalgut, Jolie’s father, John Voight – who has had a pathological hatred of hillbillies since making Deliverance in 1972 – attempted to kill his Son-in-Law with a bow and arrow. “To be fair, though, Billy Bob had tried to rape him in the ass,” points out the thirty six year old former pole dancer. “He had him naked on the driveway, shouting ‘Squeal piggy’. It was nothin’ personal, mind you, he used to do it to all the city slickers who came to the house. It was kinda like he was marking his territory.” Lawyers acting for Sling Blade star Thornton have been quick to deny Offalgut’s claims, which have been made in a series of articles published in the Weekly World Shopper (available from all good convenience stores). In addition to denying the allegations concerning John Voight, they have also refuted that their client has ever brewed moonshine from an illegal still in his cellar, nor that he and a group of local vagrants had subsequently drunk the illegal liquor from glass jugs whilst sat on the kerb outside the house, cackling and leering at passing women. “Mr Thornton is not some kind of backwoods hillbilly,” his lawyers have stated. “He is one of America’s most respected screen actors. Just because he enjoys competitive banjo playing, it doesn’t mean he’s some kind of barely literate hick.” However, they did concede that he had insisted on building a makeshift ‘smoke house’ at the end of his luxurious garden, where he cured the carcasses of various animals he had caught, but denied that this had, in any way, contributed to the breakdown of his marriage. Offalgut disagrees. “Angelina just about tolerated it when it was just ‘coons and squirrels he’d shot, but when he started trappin’ and skinnin’ the neighbours’ pets, she started getting’ real upset,” she says. “I remember it came to a head when he ran out into the street and shot this big ol’ Afghan hound being walked by its owner – he skinned it and made a fur coat out of its hide for Angelina. When he gave it to her as a birthday present she just broke down and wept.”

Miss Jolie’s representatives have also entered the fray, taking exception to Offalgut’s allegations that Jolie’s adoption of several foreign orphans had put a strain on the marriage to Thornton. “At no time did our client attempt to adopt either a strapping twenty-five year old Brazilian body builder or a twenty-three year old Cuban male model,” said her lawyers in a statement to the press. “The suggestion that she would attempt to abuse the adoption process in this way is outrageous.” Offalgut remains adamant that her claims are true. “She tried to adopt them fellas to get back at Billy Bob after he ruined that dinner party she held for her swanky Hollywood friends,” she maintains. “George Clooney suffered a rectal prolapse after eatin’ that road kill pie Billy Bob insisted on servin’ up. As for John Cusack, he was lucky not to go blind after drinkin’ that moonshine.” According to Offalgut, the dinner party climaxed with Jude Law naked in the pig pen, being mounted by Billy Bob’s prize hog, as the drunken hillbilly took bets on ‘how many inches’ the terrified Brit actor could take. “Apparently he couldn’t walk or sit down for weeks afterward,” comments Offalgut. “Is it any wonder Angelina sought solace in the arms of a sophisticated guy like Brad Pitt.” Despite threats of legal action, Deke Spiggott – proprietor and editor of the Weekly World Shopper – still plans to publish the final instalment of Offalgut’s story, which threatens to reveal how Thornton challenged Brad Pitt to a naked mud wrestling contest – with Jolie as the prize. “Pitt was so scared of Billy Bob that rather than wrestle him, he offered him Jennifer Aniston and two pot-bellied pigs in exchange for Jolie instead,” cackles Spiggott, who also dismisses accusations that as Offalgut was fired by Jolie after a waxing accident, her testimony cannot be relied upon. “Hell, it was all amicable and no real harm was done – after all, it probably wasn’t the first time Angelina had something hot and sticky spilt across her magnificent ass. Darlene’s only motivation for telling her story was a desire to set the record straight about Angelina, who all too often is portrayed as some kind of predatory marriage-wrecker, when she’s actually a victim herself.”

The veteran scandal-monger vigourously defends his publication against accusations of sensationalism and muck-raking, pointing out that he has never been successfully sued for any of the stories he has published. “We never publish an outright lie – every story we carry is legitimate speculation based upon a handful of known facts,” says Spiggott. “Everybody knows Billy Bob Thornton looks like a hillbilly and that his wife ran off with a bearded weirdo. There must have been something flaky going on in that marriage to make her do that – we just filled in the gaps.” In recent years the Weekly World Shopper has survived legal challenges from several celebrities, most notably a joint action brought by Hollywood hunks Alec Baldwin and Tom Cruise after the paper ran a story alleging that their marriages – to Kim Basinger and Nicole Kidman respectively – broke up as the result of the two men sending nude pictures of their spouses to Reader’s Wives porn magazine. “In the end they couldn’t deny that they’d taken those pictures themselves,” Spiggott recalls. “Nobody could prove that it wasn’t them who sent them to that magazine.” Sean Penn, who was also named in the story, settled out of court. Spiggott claims that, for legal reasons, he cannot discuss the terms of the settlement, although he doesn’t deny that he suffered two broken ribs and a ruptured spleen. Nevertheless, the Angelina Jolie revelations have left Spiggott’s newspaper facing a legal threat from a new and unexpected quarter. “Frankly, we’re disgusted by the Shopper’s characterisation of Mr Thornton as a hillbilly,” says a spokesperson for the Association of American Hillbillies and Backwoodsmen. “We’ve spent years trying to get away from the kind of image he projects. Far from looking like inbred, educationally sub-normal psychopaths, many of our members are highly sophisticated individuals with reading ages in double figures. The paper’s continued association of Thornton with hillbillies is clearly detrimental to the image and self-esteem of our members. If they do not desist, we will have no option but to sue.”