It’s no secret that Brad Pitt is doing quite well for himself this year. He’s seemingly at the top of his career game with two prestige films (Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood and James Gray’s upcoming space drama, Ad Astra) that may bring him to the forefront of the awards conversation this winter. He’s been proudly wearing a lot of newsboy caps. He’s been going to the gym. But this newfound happiness was hard-won.
In a new profile from The New York Times, the actor revealed that he is now sober after spending some time in recovery with Alcoholics Anonymous. His tumultuous divorce from Angelina Jolie came as a shock to many when it was announced in 2016 that their eleven year relationship would come to an end. At the time, rumors circulated about why the two would split after over a decade together with six kids in the mix, but it was eventually reported that one catalyst for the divorce proceedings had something to do with Pitt’s drinking. “I had taken things as far as I could take it, so I removed my drinking privileges,” the actor admitted.
When Jolie filed for divorce, Pitt entered Alcoholics Anonymous for a year and a half, with a group of men he had not known before. It was this group of men that brought him down to earth and helped him get in touch with his recovery process. “You had all these men sitting around being open and honest in a way I have never heard,” he told the The New York Times. “It was this safe space where there was little judgment, and therefore little judgment of yourself.”
As the Times profile mentions, it is surprising that Pitt’s time in recovery was treated with respect and not sold as a story to the press by anyone who could have seen or heard the stories he told about himself in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. “It was actually really freeing just to expose the ugly sides of yourself,” the actor admitted. “There’s great value in that.”
After his year and a half in Alcoholics Anonymous, Pitt now appears to be refreshed, thanks to working through some of his issues in a group setting. He has already explained that slowly but surely, he will take a step back from appearing on screen when he admitted that he sees acting as a “younger man’s game,” and told The New York Times that he’s keen on staying behind the camera with some producing, partially because “producing just means you don’t have to get up really early and put on makeup.”