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"I bonged myself into oblivion." The price of becoming Brad Pitt.

If you are struggling with alcohol abuse, support is available. Contact Alcoholics Anonymous on 1300 222 222.

Over the past couple of years, Brad Pitt has confronted his “ugly side”. It was a part of him kept hidden away from the red carpets and cameras, a part only those closest to him — those he loved the most — got to see. His alcoholism.

But in recent years, the actor has chosen to expose it to the world.

Speaking to Carrie Bickmore on The Project on Monday night, the 55-year-old explained that being open about his struggles is about acknowledging that others are in the same position.

“We all carry deep pains to different degrees, and regrets, and we’re very good, certainly in my culture, of burying those,” he said.

“I think [being open] leads to more well-rounded and certainly more comfortable existence with yourself, and I find that you can enjoy the good stuff more.”

Video via Channel 10

In 2017, Pitt spoke publicly about his addiction via GQ, explaining his then-recent split from partner of 12 years, Angelina Jolie: “This last year, you know — things I wasn’t dealing with. I was boozing too much. It’s just become a problem”.

In a recent interview with The New York Times, the 55-year-old revealed that he first opened up to a group of strangers. An all-male Alcoholics Anonymous group, which he attended for a year-and-a-half after Jolie filed for divorce in 2016.

“You had all these men sitting around being open and honest in a way I have never heard,” he told the publication. “It was this safe space where there was little judgement, and therefore little judgement of yourself.

“It was actually really freeing just to expose the ugly sides of yourself,” he said. “There’s great value in that.”

Fame, depression and drugs: Brad Pitt’s early career.

Alcohol and drugs became a crutch for Pitt early on in his career. His profile swelled after his appearance in the 1991 cult classic, Thelma and Louise, and roles in Interview With The Vampire, Legends of the Fall (for which he received a Golden Globe nomination) and Seven only cemented his status as Hollywood’s new obsession.

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But Pitt told The New York Times that his sudden success wasn’t “the lottery it appeared from the outside”.

Brad Pitt in 1991. Image: Getty.

“In the '90s, all that attention really threw me,” Pitt said. “It was really uncomfortable for me, the cacophony of expectations and judgements. I really became a bit of a hermit and just bonged myself into oblivion.”

He's spoken previously about grappling with depression for much of that decade. It was a period, he told the Hollywood Reporter, that helped him figure out who he was.

"I see it as a great education," he said, "as one of the seasons, or a semester: 'This semester I was majoring in depression'."

It was a trip to the Moroccan city of Casablanca in the late '90s, where he saw "poverty to an extreme I had never witnessed before", that helped pull him out of that oblivion. "It stuck with me."

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"I stopped everything except boozing."

The spotlight was never going to leave Pitt and as the most famous movie star on the planet, a man living the boyhood fantasy of millions, he wasn't willing to step out of its glare.

He just adapted. Compensated. Self-soothed.

"I can't remember a day since I got out of college when I wasn't boozing or had a spliff, or something. Something," he told GQ in that much talked about interview. "And you realise that a lot of it is, um – cigarettes, you know, pacifiers. And I'm running from feelings."

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He not only functioned, he somehow excelled. Dozens of box-office baiting, critically applauded performances, from Fight Club to Ocean's Eleven and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

It took starting a family with Angelina Jolie in 2006 to begin his sobriety, which meant giving up "everything except boozing".

Angelina-Jolie-Brad-Pitt
The former couple at a film premiere in late 2015. Image: Getty

But according to US tabloids, it was the booze that ultimately broke them.

It was widely reported that Jolie called an end to their relationship following an incident on a 12-hour flight between Nice, France, and Los Angeles in September 2016, during which Pitt became heavily intoxicated. She filed for divorce five days later, and applied for physical custody of their six children.

Pitt has never spoken publicly about the alleged incident or gone into detail about the toll his addictions took on his marriage. To The New York Times he said only this:

"I had taken things as far as I could take it."

Still, through it all, Pitt says he's learned an important lesson about parenting as he's grown older.

"I'm certainly better at listening, hearing them, and asking them questions about how they feel," he told The Project, "instead of trying to imprint one of my bits of wisdom on them."

Alcoholics Anonymous: 1300 222 222
Lifeline - mental health crisis support: 13 11 14
Beyond Blue - support for anxiety and depression: 1300 22 4636

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