In a shockingly candid conversation for GQ Style’s latest cover story — and his first magazine interview since his high-profile split from Angelina Jolie last fall — Brad Pitt opened up about the “self-inflicted” collapse of his relationship, which, as he put it, “ripped apart” his family.
Last September, Jolie filed for divorce after a reported altercation involving the couple’s 15-year-old son, Maddox, which launched an FBI and Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services investigation that Pitt was ultimately cleared of. Since then, Pitt said that he and Jolie (who he still refers to as his “partner”) are primarily focused on co-parenting their six children.
“I was really on my back and chained to a system when Child Services was called,” Pitt told GQ Style. “And you know, 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. And fortunately my partner in this agrees. It’s just very, very jarring for the kids, to suddenly have their family ripped apart.”
And while Pitt admitted that he’s still grieving the demise of his marriage (he told GQ Style that joy remains “an elusive thing”), he revealed that, in the aftermath of the divorce, he decided to abandon all substance use — including alcohol, marijuana, and cigarettes — and has been sober for six months.
“Personally, I can’t remember a day since I got out of college when I wasn’t boozing or had a spliff, or something. Something. And you realize that a lot of it is, um — cigarettes, you know, pacifiers. And I’m running from feelings,” he told the mag. “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. 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.”
Pitt also opened up about his destructive former drinking habits.
“I mean, we have a winery. I enjoy wine very, very much, but I just ran it to the ground,” he said. “I had to step away for a minute. And truthfully I could drink a Russian under the table with his own vodka. I was a professional. I was good.”
Here are GQ Style’s three covers with Pitt, photographed by Ryan McGinley, celebrating America’s national parks.