Brad Pitt Reveals That He Is Now Sober

By Paul Gaita 05/05/17

Pitt says at the height of his drinking problem, he could "drink a Russian under the table with his own vodka."

Brad Pitt

With his divorce from actress Angelina Jolie now largely out of the public eye, actor Brad Pitt has spoken candidly in a new interview about his past alcohol and drug use, the emotional turmoil that fueled them, and his life in recovery.

The 53-year-old actor told GQ Style that he was "really, really happy" to have quit drinking and smoking marijuana, and was addressing his past issues through therapy and making sculptures. Pitt also acknowledged that he has refocused his energies to place his children's welfare at the forefront, and may even step away from acting.

Pitt called the highly publicized split from Jolie in September 2016 a "huge generator for change," and the impetus for him to curb his alcohol and drug habits. "I can't remember a day since I got out of college when I wasn't boozing or had a spliff, or something," he recalled. "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." 

Pitt claimed that at the height of his drinking problem, he could "drink a Russian under the table with his own vodka. I was a professional. I was good." At the time of the interview, Pitt said that he was six months sober—an accomplishment he called "bittersweet, but I've got my feelings in my fingertips again."

More importantly, he's using the time to reflect on the issues that brought him to the flashpoint incident involving his children on a private jet last year. During the flight, Pitt reportedly become involved in an alcohol-fueled altercation with his 15-year-old adopted son, Maddox, which prompted not only the split with Jolie but also investigations from the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and the FBI. He was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing by both agencies. 

Pitt and Jolie agreed to curb a tone of what he called "vitriolic hatred" during the court proceedings of their divorce case, largely for the benefit of their children. "I heard one lawyer say, 'No one wins in court—it's just a matter of who gets hurt worse,'" he said. "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."

With Pitt and Jolie now agreed to "act as a united front" in their children's future and to keep their divorce behind courtroom doors, Pitt is now in a process of re-prioritizing his life. He's found a new outlet in art: "I'm making everything. I'm working with clay, plaster, rebar, wood."

And he's intimated that acting might take a back burner to his family and other pursuits. Though he has a new movie, War Machine, slated for release on May 26, Pitt says, "I don't really think of myself much as an actor anymore. It takes up so little of my year and my focus. Film feels like a cheap pass for me, as a way to get at those hard feelings. It doesn't work anymore, especially being a dad."

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.