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Brad Pitt on the "disaster of a personal life" that keeps him in the headlines.

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

For three decades, Brad Pitt has been a commodity, one traded by movie studios, agents and tabloid media. Where interest in most Hollywood stars fades over time, the 56-year-old still has black SUVs trail his car, a rampart of flashing cameras spring up outside every building he enters, photographers goading him into a fight worthy of a double-page spread.

But why him?

Pitt reflected that question on Mark Maron’s WTF podcast this week after his Once Upon a Time In… Hollywood co-star, Leonardo Dicaprio, confessed he’s largely left alone by the paps these days.

Watch: Brad Pitt on opening up about addiction. Post continues after video.

Video via Channel 10

“I’m a little disgruntled with you, now that I hear that. I’m just, like, trash-mag fodder,” he laughed.

“I don’t know… because of my disaster of a personal life, probably.”

All part of the price of being Brad Pitt. One he started paying in the early ’90s.

Fame, depression and drugs: the beginning of Brad Pitt’s career.

Alcohol and drugs became a crutch for Pitt early on in his career. His profile swelled after an 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.

But speaking to The New York Times in 2019, Pitt conceded that his sudden success wasn’t “the lottery it appeared from the outside”.

Brad Pitt in 1991. Image: Getty.
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“In the '90s, all that attention really threw me,” he 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."

"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 a much-talked-about 2017 cover story. "And you realise that a lot of it is, um – cigarettes, you know, pacifiers. And I'm running from feelings."

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

It was widely reported that Jolie called an end to their 12-year relationship following an incident on a 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.

During the 2019 interview with The New York Times he said only this:

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

Exposing his "ugly side".

Over the past couple of years, Brad Pitt has exposed (what he calls) the "ugly side" of himself to the world, by opening up about his addiction.

After that 2017 GQ profile, he expanded in The New York Times interview two years later. He shared 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.”

Speaking to Carrie Bickmore on The Project in 2019, he explained that sharing his struggles acknowledges 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."

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

Featured image: Getty.

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