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Brad Pitt – Movie Star Heart Throb: From Fame to Addiction
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Brad Pitt – Movie Star Heart Throb:
From Fame to Addiction

By Michael Ricketson

With Brad’s part in Thelma and Louise, he set Hollywood and the world alike on fire with the sensual and sexual on-screen chemistry with Geena Davis. 

He had arrived. 

The small-town kid from Missouri had made it big in Hollywood. The dream became a reality as ten years later he married Jennifer Aniston of Friends fame. Then came Mr. and Mrs. Smith with co-star Angelina Jolie. That’s when the rumors started to fly and the press went wild! Could it be possible that Hollywood’s golden couple was going to be destroyed by an affair with Angelina Jolie?! It seemed impossible, but in 2005 Jenn filed for divorce. Such is marriage in Hollywood, as sadly, we all sat back and watched the dream turn into a nightmare.

As Hollywood marriages go, the Angelina dream didn’t last very long either as currently, Brad is in a bitter court battle with Jolie over custody of their kids.

How did this happen? Well, the bottom line truth is alcohol played a big factor in their nasty breakup. Hollywood is hard enough without throwing substance abuse on the kindling. But scandal can’t keep the 57-year-old, twice People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive, from the silver screen. He’s still got the sex appeal, looks, and box office draw that makes him a sought-after commodity.

A star stays a star as long as the box office return on investment rules the marketplace. But Brad is a survivor and charges on in spite of his real-life drama. Sadly, the bitter divorce case cost him shared custody of his children whom he dearly loves. But miracles do happen even in Hollywood. Brad has put in the personal effort with a lot of hard work and will keep fighting to get his children back.

Now sober, he’s got plans for the future, but what will be his next box office smash?

Small Town Boy Dreams Big

William Bradley Pitt was born on December 18th, 1963, in Shawnee, Oklahoma, to Jane Etta and Willian Alvin Pitt. He also has several siblings. Brad’s parents moved to Springfield, Missouri, where they raised him. At the time, Springfield was a tiny city. Brad’s activities in high school were as diverse as the characters he played in films. Brad played sports as well as debate and student government, and even high school musicals.

Brad later went off to college to earn a degree in Journalism, where he acted in some Fraternity shows.

However, he dropped out of college with only two credits to graduate to move to California and pursue an acting career. Before Brad made it big, he supported himself one way by dressing as a giant “El Pollo Loco” chicken. Imagine that!

But what was it about his small-town roots that drew him to Hollywood? In 2017, he told GQ’s Michael Paterniti that growing up in a fundamentalist Christian home and going to revivals played a part. But ultimately, it was the stories he saw in films that drew him. To quote Brad, “But as a kid, I was certainly drawn to stories – beyond the stories that we were living and knew- stories with different points of view. I found those stories in film, especially in different cultures and lives that were so foreign to mine. I think that was one of the draws that propelled me into films.”

Not Just Another Pretty Face

Well, he did win “People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive” twice! While we all know Mr. Pitt for his film career, he actually got his start on television. Bras played in shows like Dallas, Growing Pains, and even a soap opera, Another World. Everybody knows, to make it big in Hollywood, you’ve got to have a look. But for Brad, it was the look first and foremost. Of course, he could act, but real success seemed to elude him. Brad did some small films before getting his big break in a major movie whose director, surprisingly, didn’t like him because he looked too young!

That director was Ridley Scott, and the movie was Thelma and Louise. While it was a tiny part, it got people talking about this sexy young actor. He dripped with sensuality, and the chemistry between Brad and Geena Davis was so scintillating we couldn’t take our eyes off the screen. By the way, Brad was a last-minute choice when Stephen Baldwin dropped out two weeks before filming began to film Backdraft.

It took a small army of industry professionals to convince Ridley to hire Pitt. Thelma and Louise opened up a lot of doors for Brad Pitt; Many see it as his big break. 

A Career and Substance Abuse

In 1992, Brad was cast in Rober Redford’s A River Runs Through It. Redford revealed that it wasn’t his audition that won him the part but rather, “[he] had an inner conflict that was very interesting to me.”

It almost seems that Redford picked up on something that would later become a concern for Pitt. It’s like they say that people can see things in us that we can’t see in ourselves. Brad has admitted that he used drugs and alcohol often. He claimed that not a day since college could he remember not drinking or using drugs. Brad suffered from depression and the drugs and alcohol helped him deal with the stresses of fame.- or at least he believed they did!

Even while using it, he was able to make a name for himself. A River Runs Through It elevated him to the status of an actor with depth instead of just a sexy face on the screen. His diversity as an actor led to some memorable roles and awards. In Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, Pitt plays a man turned into a vampire only to be tortured by his eternal existence. That same year he starred in Legends of the Fall. The following year in 1995, he played in Se7en and 12 Monkeys, which earned him a Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.

Fast forward to 2005 to Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and that film will be the beginning of Brad and Angelina’s long relationship.

When they began adopting children, he gave up everything but alcohol, which would later cause much trouble and add to ruining his marriage. But Brad has done well battling his own personal demons and since then, has shown his true acting talents with films like Megamind, Inglorious Bastards, and The Tree of Life. He was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar twice for his performances in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Moneyball. But it wouldn’t be until 2014 for Pitt to win an Oscar: Best Picture for Twelve Years a Slave. 

Brad Pitt has won many prestigious awards during his illustrious film career. His first acting Oscar came in 2020 for Best Supporting Actor for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

A far cry from the 2014 MTV Movie Award for Best Scared-As-Shit Performance for World War Z! Going way back to 1995 at the MTV Movie Awards, Brad earned the Best Actor in a Movie Award for his sultry portrayal of a vampire with a conscience for his role in Interview With the Vampire. If that honor weren’t enough, at the same MTV Movie Awards in 1995, and again in 1996, he cemented his silver screen sex appeal by winning the Most Desirable Man Award. We all know the Teen Choice Awards have become a big deal since introduced in 2002. In 2004, he received the Teen Choice Award for Actor in Movie for Action/Drama for his part in Troy, an epic historical war film. Back to the MTV Movie Awards; in 2006 he won the Best Fight Award for his fight scenes with his future ex-wife, Angelina Jolie, Mr. & Mrs. Smith. To browse the rest of this huge list click here.

 

A Marriage in Ruin

Brad and Angelina met on a movie set while Brad was still married to Jennifer Aniston, of Friends fame.

Shortly after they met, the rumors began circulating about the heat on the set, and soon after Aniston filed for divorce. He and Angelina spent almost 12 years together since 2005. Brad adopted Jolie’s existing children, and ultimately adopted more to grow their family. They birthed their own daughter Shiloh on May 27, 2006. They were finally married in France in 2014 with their children by their side. The marriage only lasted a couple of years before, in 2016, Angelina filed for divorce. There wasn’t much information at the time, so rumors began as we know people love to speculate. The whole thing was a shock to the world and the press wondered if this ultimately would affect their careers. In grand Hollywood style, their careers continued to flourish in spite of their personal turmoil. ALL press is good press in Hollywood!

People viewed them as the perfect Hollywood power couple. They had fame and fortune, homes in several states and countries, and a private jet. 

They had the power and portfolio to pick and choose roles, what films to produce, and who they wanted in those films. The pick of the litter, as it were. Their family life balance was the envy of all Hollywood. First, one parent worked while the other stayed home with the kids. Then they switched so the other could work; the children always came first in the Pitt-Jolie household.

As mentioned above, Brad gave up marijuana and other drugs for his family but kept alcohol as his only vice. He has freely admitted that he had begun to “booze it up” more than he should have before the divorce. And the alcohol is what ultimately led Jolie to file for divorce.

During a flight with his family on their private jet, Brad had become intoxicated and began to fight with Angelina. Her oldest son Maddox came between them and confronted Brad. Someone on the plane made a call to report child abuse, which prompted the FBI to investigate the situation. Eventually, they made no abuse charges against Pitt: But his marriage was over.

The alcohol seemed to have won once again as it insidiously destroyed an entire family.

An Evolution

After the breakup, Brad had to face the realization that he did indeed have a problem.

His alcohol consumption had been too much. He decided he needed therapy and, of course, quit drinking alcohol. Unfortunately, he had used it as a pacifier and ran away from his feelings. Commenting on his feelings after starting therapy, he said, “I think that’s part of the human challenge: You either deny them all of your life or you answer them and evolve.”

Anyone who’s been in therapy knows how difficult it can be to process your emotions. The battle is never with someone else; it’s always with ourselves. Brad gets it. 

As far as the public knows,  Brad is still sober and doing well in therapy. But, of course, for someone who has been working on themselves for four-plus years, it hasn’t stopped him from working in the film business. He has four films slated for 2022. Yes, FOUR. The first is Bullet Train, based on the novel Maria Beetle. Then there’s Blonde, based on the 2000 novel of the same name by Joyce Carol Oates. Next is Babylon, a period piece written and directed by Damien Chazelle. And finally, She Said, directed by Maria Schrader.

The man is a force to be reckoned with.

Fame Isn’t Always What We Imagine

The public around the world is constantly amazed by the life of celebrities: all that money, all that fame, private jets, the best hotels, Armani and Gucci, an open expense wallet – sounds glamorous – but wait: Be careful what you wish for. Hollywood is replete with stories of actors who achieve great success that ends with dramatic downfalls because of substance abuse. If you or someone you know has a problem, how fast would your plunge to the bottom be with all of that power and money? I’m sure, “Don’t even ask,” would be your answer. Self-work is the most demanding endeavor a human being can undertake and we at Hollywood International People applaud Brad Pitt for his courage and resolve.

 

Sometimes, as in Brad’s case, we lose our family. Other’s lose jobs, friends, and even their lives. He loved Angelina immensely, as well as their children.

But when you’re in that chemical addiction fog, the things you love the most don’t seem so important. It’s not until great loss do we realize the tragedy. The glitz and glamour of the limelight couldn’t save Brangelina’s marriage, but the love of their children will live forever. Beyond any shadow of a doubt, enduring love will win in the end.

And with his greatest love, Brad Pitt is continuing to work on himself as he rebuilds relationships with his children. With all sincerity, isn’t that what the entire world needs today?

Don’t we all need good relationships, kindness, and love? 

We can all  learn a valuable lesson from Brad Pitt: 

Hard work and kindness heal just about everything.

 

 

References

A&E Networks Television. (2020, August 18). Brad Pitt. Biography.com. Retrieved from https://www.biography.com/actor/brad-pitt.

Ahlgrim, C. (2020, November 19). All 32 guys who have been named People’s Sexiest Man Alive. Insider. Retrieved from https://www.insider.com/who-has-been-sexiest-man-alive-people-2018-11.

Chiu, F. (2021, June 27). Brad Pitt admitted to having suffered from depression and drug addiction due to stardom. Republic World. Retrieved from https://www.republicworld.com/entertainment-news/hollywood-news/when-brad-pitt-admitted-to-have-suffered-from-depression-and-drug-addiction-due-to-stardom.html.

Crabtree, E. (2021, September 23). Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s ups and downs through the years. Us Weekly. Retrieved from https://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/pictures/brad-pitt-angelina-jolies-ups-and-downs-through-the-years/september-2016-21-3/.

Crabtree, E. (2021, September 23). Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s ups and downs through the years. Us Weekly. Retrieved from https://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/pictures/brad-pitt-angelina-jolies-ups-and-downs-through-the-years/september-2016-21/.

Deveney, R. (2021, June 21). Brad Pitt’s battle with alcohol addiction. The Recovery Village Drug and Alcohol Rehab. Retrieved from https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/alcohol-abuse/news/brad-pitt-opens-pitfalls-alcohol-addiction/.

IMDb.com. (n.d.). Brad Pitt. IMDb. Retrieved from https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000093/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm.

Mel. (2001, September 27). Brad Pitt gets brutally honest about the divorce that’s ripped his family apart. GodVine. Retrieved from https://www.godvine.com/read/brad-pitt-shared-truth-divorce-alcohol-1645.html.

Paterniti, M., McGinley, P. by R., Welch, W., & Style, T. E. of G. Q. (2017, May 3). Brad Pitt talks divorce, quitting drinking, and becoming a better man. GQ. Retrieved from https://www.gq.com/story/brad-pitt-gq-style-cover-story.

 

 

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