Brad Pitt Discusses Pain of Divorce for the First Time: ‘I Gotta Be More’ for My Children

Brad Pitt bares his scars and his weaknesses that have surfaced as a result of his public divorce from Angelina Jolie.

Pitt speaks with Michael Paterniti for GQ Style about how his life has changed since he and Jolie called off their relationship of 11 years. Pitt says that he’s been listening to Frank Ocean and Marvin Gaye, he just started therapy after consulting with two therapists “to get to the right one,” and he has been spending his downtime at a friend’s sculpting studio.

“I’m working with clay, plaster, rebar, wood. Just trying to learn the materials. You know, I surprise myself. But it’s a very, very lonely occupation. There’s a lot of manual labor, which is good for me right now. A lot of lugging clay around, chopping and moving and cleaning up after yourself. But I surprise myself,” says Pitt.

Pitt says that he’s living in his Hollywood Hills estate, which his kids know as their “childhood home,” after his privacy was compromised while crashing on his friend’s floor in Santa Monica. “I was out there one morning, 5:30, and this surveillance van pulls up,” Pitt recalls. “They don’t know that I’m up behind a wall, and they pull up—and it’s a long story—but it was something more than TMZ, because they got into my friend’s computer. The stuff they can do these days…. So I got a little paranoid being there. I decided I had to pick up and come here.”

Pitt admits that his addictions to alcohol, marijuana, and cigarettes were “pacifiers” that helped him escape his feelings.

“I’m really, really happy to be done with all of that. 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,” he says. “It’s just become a problem. And 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.”

The actor says that the period after announcing his divorce has been focused on recognizing his failures and owning up to them.

“It’s such a silly idea, the idea that the world is fair. And this is coming from a guy who hit the lottery, I’m well aware of that. I hit the lottery, and I still would waste my time on those hollow pursuits.”

This experience has taught Pitt that family comes first. “People on their deathbeds don’t talk about what they obtained or were awarded. They talk about their loved ones or their regrets—that seems to be the menu,” he explains. “I say that as someone who’s let the work take me away. Kids are so delicate. They absorb everything. They need to have their hand held and things explained. They need to be listened to. When I get in that busy work mode, I’m not hearing. I want to be better at that.”

“I grew up with a Father-knows-best/war mentality—the father is all-powerful, super strong—instead of really knowing the man and his own self-doubt and struggles,” he continues. “And it’s hit me smack in the face with our divorce: I gotta be more. I gotta be more for them. I have to show them. And I haven’t been great at it.”

“It’s just very, very jarring for the kids, to suddenly have their family ripped apart.

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CREDIT: Ryan McGinley for GQ Style

Read the full interview over on GQ.com or in the Summer 2017 issue of GQ Style.