Brad Pitt is opening up like never before.
The Once Upon a Time in Hollywood star is featured in New York Times magazine’s The Great Performers issue, where he gets candid about everything from life’s struggles to doing drugs and his thoughts on recent dating rumors.
Over the past few years, since Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from Pitt in 2016, the 55-year-old actor has been the focus of many headlines, with everyone wondering who he is (or isn’t) dating. In 2018, for example, rumors started swirling that he was seeing MIT professor Neri Oxman.
Then there was jewelry designer and holistic healer Sat Hari Khalsa in September and, most recently, fans have been wondering if he and actress Alia Shawkat are an item, as they’ve been spotted together on multiple occasions as of late. Multiple sources told ET that Pitt was just friends with all of these women, but now, he’s debunking the rumors himself.
When asked by the outlet whether he reads stories about himself, Pitt admits he doesn’t “go out of my way to avoid it; I just don’t seek it out.”
“I don’t know how many women they’ve said I’ve been dating the last two or three years,” he says. “And none of it’s true.”
While talking about various projects he’s taken on over the years, Pitt also shares that he “stopped reading all press” around 2004. “Not just reviews. I mean any magazine in the doctor’s office,” he adds. “Because some of it would bounce around like a rat in the skull. It would stay there, and it would inform some of my decisions and choices in work, in life, and I didn’t find any of it helpful.”
As for playing Cliff Booth in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which scored Pitt a Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture nomination at the 2020 Golden Globes, he says he took some inspiration from his own life to get into character.
“With Cliff, it’s connected to my dad, the way he carries himself. It’s also the iconic figures like Butch and Sundance and in Clint Eastwood movies,” he explains. “Then it’s where I am in my life. I don’t care who you are, life is struggle. It’s how you perceive those struggles. As I’ve gotten older, I take them more as another day in the office, acceptance of what the day throws you.”
For fans who have seen the Quentin Tarantino-directed film, one of the most memorable scenes is one in which Pitt’s character takes LSD. But has Pitt ever taken the drug himself?
“Who, me? Oh, sure. Oh, sure. I’m microdosing right now,” he jokes. “By the way, that was brilliant of Quentin. He came up with that a couple of weeks before we started shooting. We already had the script, and then he said, ‘You’re going to be on acid in that scene.’ I said, ‘Great!’ It gives you so much room. The clichés of acid trails; it’s always funny. Everyone gets it.”
Pitt continues on, telling the outlet that he spent “most of the ’90s hiding out and smoking pot.”
“I was too uncomfortable with all the attention,” he admits. “Then I got to a place where I was aware that I was imprisoning myself. Now I go out and live life, and generally people are pretty cool.”