Wasser, 47, a partner at the law firm Wasser, Cooperman & Mandles, has proved so skilled at the game that she is known as Hollywood’s “disso queen”, for dissolution of marriage. Her clients are a roll-call of entertainment royalty: Johnny Depp, Kim Kardashian, Britney Spears, Ashton Kutcher, Heidi Klum, Stevie Wonder.

Those divorce cases were celebrity squalls compared to the storm in whose eye Wasser now finds herself, as the official splicer of Brangelina, representing Angelina Jolie in her divorce from Brad Pitt. An ostensibly private affair that is already playing out in a vortex of Google-powered rumor, every detail, real or imagined, devoured in a blink.

“For high-profile cases, Laura tries to keep clients out of the media spotlight. Which I agree is the better way to go, especially when there are children involved,” said Stacy Phillips, another high-profile divorce lawyer who works in the same office tower as Wasser in Century City, bordering Beverly Hills.

Even so, the stakes are higher with Jolie. There are six children, biological and adopted. There is wealth thanks to films such as Maleficent, Tomb Raider, Salt and Mr & Mrs Smith. If the actor were divorcing Ned from accounting there would still be public fascination, but after a 12-year romance and two years of marriage, she is divorcing the star of Troy, Fight Club and Legends of the Fall. Sex symbols both, their pairing a unity of impossible glamour, a sheen not seen since Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, now sundered.

Within minutes of Jolie, 41, initiating divorce proceedings on Tuesday, citing irreconcilable differences, the internet foamed. There were gifs of Pitt’s ex, Jennifer Aniston, smirking. Then allegations – vigorously denied – that Pitt, 52, had an affair with co-star Marion Cotillard. Then claims he boozed and smoked too much weed for Jolie’s comfort. And that he was being investigated for child abuse following an in-flight tantrum, a claim since discredited.