“I need to be more accessible, especially to the ones I love.”
In his first in-depth magazine interview since his marriage to Angelina Jolie fell apart, Brad Pitt tells GQ Style that he’s stopped drinking, is going to therapy, and that most of what’s been written about the end of his marriage isn’t true.
The May issue of GQ Style features three different covers, all shot by Ryan McGinley and showing a leaner, more world-weary Pitt looking, in the words of interviewer Michael Paterniti, like “an LA dad on a juice cleanse.”
While the 53 year-old father of six may not be on a juice cleanse, exactly, Pitt does admit the only thing he’s drinking these days is “cranberry juice and fizzy water.” That’s because he gave up alcohol in the wake of his split. “I can’t remember a day since I got out of college when I wasn’t boozing or had a spliff, or something.” The alcohol and pot was his way of “running from feelings,” he says, so he quit.
“I mean I stopped everything except boozing when I started my family. But even this last year, you know – things I wasn’t dealing with. I was boozing too much. It’s just become a problem…I’m really happy it’s been half a year now, which is bittersweet, but I’ve got my feelings in my fingertips again. I think that’s part of the human challenge: You either deny them all of your life or you answer them and evolve.”
Pitt says he never saw the divorce coming. “I remember literally having this thought a year, a year and a half ago; someone was going through some scandal…I went, ‘Thank God I’m never going to have to be a part of one of those again.’ I live my life, I have my family, I do my thing, I don’t do anything illegal, I don’t cross anyone’s path.”
When Jolie filed for divorce, Pitt resisted. “The first urge is to cling on. And then you’ve got a cliché: ‘If you love someone, set them free.’ Now I know what it means, by feeling it. It means to love without ownership. It means expecting nothing in return.”
After his marriage ended, Pitt said he realized he’s “really good at cutting myself off, and it’s been a problem. I need to be more accessible, especially to the ones I love. I certainly shield. Shield, shield, shield. Mask, escape. Now I think: ‘That’s just me.'”
Therapy, he says, is helping. “I just started therapy. I love it. I love it. I went through two therapists to get the right one.” He’s found that facing “horrible feelings” and owning up to his mistakes is vital if he wants to move forward with his life. “I am those mistakes. For me every misstep has been a step toward epiphany, understanding, some kind of joy. Yeah, the avoidance of pain is a real mistake. It’s the real missing out on life. It’s those very things that shape us, those very things that offer growth…there’s no love without loss.”
As for the divorce, which is not yet final, he and Jolie are trying to keep things civil for the sake of their six children. “I was really on my back and chained to a system when Child Services was called,” he said, referring to an incident last September, in which an alleged struggle between Pitt and his 15 year-old son was reported to the police and investigated by the FBI.
“After that, we’ve been able to work together to sort this out. We’re both doing our best. I heard one lawyer say, ‘No one wins in court – it’s just a matter of who gets hurt worse.’ And it seems to be true. You spend a year just focused on building a case to prove your point and why you’re right and why they’re wrong, and it’s just an investment in vitriolic hatred. I just refuse.”
As for what’s been written about the reasons behind the divorce, Pitt says it’s mostly wrong, and he tries not to let it bother him, except where it concerns his kids. “So little of it is accurate… I just let it go…I know the people who love me know me. And that’s enough for me.”
Main image via Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com, other images via Instagram.