Brad Pitt: ‘I’ve Never Known Life to Be Any Happier’

With fiancée Angelina Jolie and their beautiful brood of six, Brad Pitt is the archetypal family man.

But that wasn’t always the case. It was a long road to happily ever after for the Hollywood leading man.

“For a long time I thought I did too much damage — drug damage,” Pitt says in the June/July 2013 issue of Esquire, which hits newsstands May 31. “I was a bit of a drifter. A guy who felt he grew up in something of a vacuum and wanted to see things, wanted to be inspired. I followed that other thing. I spent years f***ing off. But then I got burnt out and felt that I was wasting my opportunity.”

It was that feeling pushed Pitt to finally make a “conscious change” about a decade ago, helping him to get him to the life he leads today. “It was an epiphany — a decision not to squander my opportunities,” he explains. “It was a feeling of, ‘Get up.’ Because otherwise, what’s the point?”

Now, Pitt is in the perfect place. His world revolves around Jolie, his partner of almost eight years, and their bustling home of six children: Maddox, 11, Pax, 9, Zahara, 8, Shiloh, 6, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 4.

“I have very few friends. I have a handful of close friends and I have my family and I haven’t known life to be any happier,” he says. “I’m making things. I just haven’t known life to be any happier.”

And Pitt wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I always thought that if I wanted to do a family, I wanted to do it big,” he recalls. “I wanted there to be chaos in the house…There’s constant chatter in our house, whether it’s giggling or screaming or crying or banging. I love it. I love it. I love it. I hate it when they’re gone. I hate it. Maybe it’s nice to be in a hotel room for a day — ‘Oh, nice, I can finally read a paper.’ But then, by the next day, I miss that cacophony, all that life.”