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“This period has been about looking at my weaknesses and failures and

owning my side of the street.”

New York, N.Y.— “You know, I just started therapy. I love it, I love it. I went through two therapists to get to the right one,” Brad Pitt tells GQ Style’s Michael Paterniti from his home in the Hollywood Hills. The actor covers the summer issue of GQ Style, with a portfolio shot by Ryan McGinley at three major national parks across the country. Paterniti finds the actor still very much in the midst of processing his sensationalized split from Angelina Jolie. “It was too sad to be here at first,” Pitt says of his home, which was always filled with their kids. “So I went and stayed on a friend’s floor, a little bungalow in Santa Monica. I crashed over here a little bit, my friend [David] Fincher lives right here.”

The actor describes the past six months as a journey he didn’t intend to make but admits was “self-inflicted,” and now he’s a 53 year-old father and former husband in the middle of an un-raveled life, figuring out how to mend it back together. “I do remember a few spots along the road where I’ve become absolutely tired of myself. And this is a big one. These moments have always been a huge generator for change. And I’m quite grateful for it,” he says. “But me, 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. 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. I think that’s part of the human challenge: You either deny them all of your life or you answer them and evolve.”

Visitation with the kids was hard early on, Pitt says tells Paterniti in GQ Style, but he and Angelina are working on it. “I was really on my back and chained to a system when Child Services was called. And you know, after that, we’ve been able to work together to sort this out,” he says. “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.”

Court case aside, Paterniti wonders, how does Pitt cope with the very public slideshow of many of his worst moments as a human being drug out in public. “But so little of it is accurate, and I avoid so much of it. I just let it go,” Pitt explains. “It’s always been a long-run game for me. I hope my intentions and work will speak for themselves. But, yes, at the same time, it is a drag to have certain things drug out in public and misconstrued. I worry about it more for my kids, being subjected to it, and their friends getting ideas from it. And of course it’s not done with any kind of delicacy or insight—it’s done to sell. And so you know the most sensational sells, and that’s what they’ll be subjected to, and that pains me. I worry more in my current situation about the slideshow my kids have. I want to make sure it’s well-balanced.”

Pitt says he’s been spending a lot of time in a friend’s studio, sculpting with all kinds of materials. And it’s clear he’s working to process his current situation, and acclimate his priorities with his new situation. “Family 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. 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.”

The summer issue of GQ Style will be available on newsstands in New York and LA May 8, and nationwide on May 16.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017