Long before Johnny Depp and Amber Heard regaled the world with tales of their herculean consumption of drugs and booze, Brad Pitt came forward with a candid account of his own struggles with substance abuse.
There are some major differences between the two situations, of course.
For one thing, Pitt made his confession in an interview, not on the witness stand.
And most importantly, unlike so many Hollywood hellraisers who came before him Pitt is now sober.
Pitt doesn’t discuss his sobriety often, but he opened up during a recent interview with author Ottessa Moshfegh that was published by GQ this week.
In the piece, Moshfegh revealed that she too is sober, a fact that might have prompted Pitt to feel comfortable enough to discuss decades-long battle with substance abuse.
The conversation began with an offer of beverage.
Pitt and Moshfegh both chose water, and the topic of addiction surfaced moments later when Pitt offered his guest a nicotine mint.
“I don’t have that ability to do just one or two [cigarettes] a day,” Pitt said.
“It’s not in my makeup. I’m all in and I’m going to drive into the ground. I’ve lost my privileges.”
The actor went on to reveal that he occasionally misses smoking, especially “in the morning, with the coffee—just delicious.”
He realized, however, that he’s not the “indestructible type,” like his friend, the famed British painter David Hockney.
“He’s still chaining, the hard-core English way. It looks great,” he said.
“I don’t think I have that. I’m just at that age when nothing good comes from it.”
From there, Pitt opened up about his experiences in Alcoholics Anonymous, revealing that despite being one of the most famous people on the planet, he was able to enjoy a degree of anonymity within the group.
“I had a really cool men’s group here that was really private and selective, so it was safe,” the actor said.
“Because I’d seen things of other people who had been recorded while they were spilling their guts and that’s just atrocious to me.”
Later in the interview, Pitt revealed that he’s been able to explore the feelings of anxiety and isolation that prompted him to seek solace in self-medication.
“I always felt very alone in my life, alone growing up as a kid, alone even out here, and it’s really not till recently that I have had a greater embrace of my friends and family,” he explained.
“What’s that line, it was either Rilke or Einstein, believe it or not, but it was something about when you can walk with the paradox, when you carry real pain and real joy simultaneously, this is maturity, this is growth.”
Pitt went on to explain that he believes he spent many years struggling with “low-grade depression” and was only recently able to discover a sense of true joy.
Like so many others who have struggled with addiction, the screen icon seems to feel occasional regret for his “wasted” years.
But he also seems to understand that shedding those feelings is crucial for his continued recovery.
At one point in the article, Moshfegh writes that there’s a tattoo on Pitt’s bicep, a quote from the 13th century poet Rumi, that reads:
“There exists a field, beyond all notions of right and wrong. I will meet you there.”
No doubt that’s a sentiment that would appeal to many who are in recovery.