Brad Pitt has given a bleak assessment of the human condition as he moves on from the collapse of his five year marriage to actress Angelina Jolie.
The Hollywood star has embraced a life of abstinence that began shortly after their divorce was finalised in 2016, but his newfound positivity is tempered by the belief that all of us experience wrenching heartache at some point in our lives.
Speaking to the latest edition of British GQ, Pitt, 58, insisted emotional turmoil and deep sadness are an inevitable part of growth.
Opening up: Brad Pitt has given a bleak assessment of the human condition as he moves on from the collapse of his five year marriage to actress Angelina Jolie
‘I think all our hearts are broken,’ he said. ‘I always felt very alone in my life, alone growing up as a kid, alone even out here, and it’s really not till recently that I have had a greater embrace of my friends and family.
‘What’s that line, it was either Rilke or Einstein, believe it or not, but it was something about when you can walk with the paradox, when you carry real pain and real joy simultaneously, this is maturity, this is growth.’
Despite the overriding sense of isolation, Pitt admits he’s found community and friendship through his decision to give up alcohol in 2016.
Reflective: Speaking to the latest edition of GQ , Pitt, 58, insisted emotional turmoil and deep sadness are an inevitable part of growth
Newly divorced, the actor spent 18-months attending regular Alcoholics Anonymous meetings while embracing the group’s core principles of abstinence from all mind altering substances, and honesty regarding the nature of addiction.
‘I had a really cool men’s group here that was really private and selective, so it was safe,’ he explained. ‘Because I’d seen things of other people who had been recorded while they were spilling their guts, and that’s just atrocious to me.’
Pitt, a lifelong smoker, also made the decision to cut cigarettes out of his life, opting instead to substitute tobacco with nicotine flavoured gum.
‘I don’t have that ability to do just one or two a day,’ he said of his past smoking habit. ‘It’s not in my makeup. I’m all in. And I’m going to drive into the ground. I’ve lost my privileges.’
The actor’s self-awareness regarding his own characteristic flaws are a far cry from the hazy past, when he freely admitted to smoking marijuana on a daily basis, including throughout his first marriage to Jennifer Aniston.
‘I spent most of the ’90s hiding out and smoking pot,’ he told New York Times in 2019. ‘I was too uncomfortable with all the attention.’
Life imitating art: Pitt and Angelina Jolie fell for each other on the set of 2005 action-thriller Mr & Mrs. Smith, in which they played an on-screen couple
Old times: Pitt with ex-wife Jolie at the 84th annual Academy Awards in 2012. The couple ended their marriage in 2016
Success: The actor has since won plaudits – and awards – for his role as hapless stuntman Cliff Booth in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Pitt lived with Juliette Lewis from 1990 until 1993, after which he was with Jitka Pohlodek from 1993 until 1994. Then came Gwyneth Paltrow; they were together from 1994 until 1997. In 1998 he fell for Jennifer Aniston whom he was married to from 2000 until 2005.
However the couple divorced soon after Pitt crossed paths with Jolie on the set of action-thriller Mr & Mrs. Smith, in which they played an on-screen couple.
In 2006 the actress confirmed she was pregnant with his first child, daughter Shiloh – a double blow for Aniston, whose marriage to Pitt bore no children – with twins Knox and Vivienne following just two years later.
They married in a private ceremony at their jointly owned French chateau in 2014, nine years after falling for one another, but by 2016 Jolie had initiated divorce proceedings.
Mitigating factors included a hated argument between Pitt and adopted son Maddox aboard a Los Angeles bound private jet. The actor was later cleared of any wrongdoing in November 2016.
Tabloid fodder: Pitt lived with Juliette Lewis from 1990 until 1993. Seen in 1992
Intense relationship: Then came Gwyneth Paltrow; they were together from 1994 until 1997. Seen in 1997 before their split
The golden couple: In 1998 he fell for Jennifer Aniston whom he was married to from 2000 until 2005. Seen in 2004
He has since moved on following his divorce by romancing 29-year old Nicole Poturalski, while winning plaudits – and awards – for his role as hapless stuntman Cliff Booth in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.
However a sense of impending doom is ever-present, and Pitt admits he is frequently tortured by the same recurring dream, in which he is brutally stabbed.
‘For a solid four or five years there, the most predominant dream I would experience would be getting jumped and stabbed,’ he explained in an email to GQ.
‘And I would awake in a terror. I didn’t understand why it/they would want to hurt me. This stopped a year or two ago only when I started going straight back into the dream and asking simply why?’
The July/August issue of GQ is available via digital download and on newsstands on 28th June.