Brad Pitt is making news with a candid interview with GQ Style in which he admits to drinking too much and reveals he is in therapy after splitting up with wife Angelina Jolie last year.
But that’s not the part of the conversation – which you can read by clicking here – that caught our ear.
We’re always amazed at how many times interviewers bring up the fact that Pitt hails from Missouri, like he’s some kind of refugee from that Bible-thumpin’ swath of nothingness in the country’s gut.
Golly gee, Brad Pitt, what was it like growing up MISSOURI?
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No, seriously. That’s how writer Michael Paterniti, who lives in Maine, begins the conversation in which he describes Pitt as “a 53-year-old human father/former husband smack in the middle of an unraveled life, figuring out how to mend it back together.”
GQ Style: “Let’s go back to the start. What was it like growing up where you grew up?”
Us: Here we go.
Pitt: “Well, it was Springfield, Missouri, which is a big place now, but we grew up surrounded by cornfields – which is weird because we always had canned vegetables. I never could figure that one out! Anyway, ten minutes outside of town, you start getting into forests and rivers and the Ozark Mountains. Stunning country.”
Paterniti: “Did you have a Huck Finn boyhood?”
Us: What the?
Pitt: “Half the time. Half the time, yeah.”
Us: He’s such a good sport.
Paterniti: “How so?”
Pitt: “I grew up in caves. We had a lot of caves, fantastic caverns. And we grew up First Baptist, which is the cleaner, stricter, by-the-book Christianity. Then, when I was in high school, my folks jumped to a more charismatic movement, which got into speaking in tongues and raising your hands and some goofy-ass shit.”
Paterniti: “So were you there for speaking in tongues?”
Pitt: “Yeah, come on. I’m not even an actor yet, but I know ... I mean the people, I know they believe it. I know they’re releasing something. God, we’re complicated. We’re complicated creatures ...
“I remember going to a few concerts, even though we were told rock shows are the Devil, basically. Our parents let us go, they weren’t neo about it. But I realized that the reverie and the joy and exuberance, even the aggression, I was feeling at the rock show was the same thing at the revival. One is Jimmy Swaggart and one is Jerry Lee Lewis, you know? One’s God and one’s Devil. But it’s the same thing. It felt like we were being manipulated. What was clear to me was “You don’t know what you’re talking about – ”
Paterniti: “And it didn’t f*** you up?”
Pitt: “No, it didn’t f*** me up – it just led to some eating questions at a young age.”
So, back to that drinking stuff.
Pitt and Jolie split last September just days after an alleged altercation between Pitt and the couple’s 15-year-old son, Maddox, on a private jet.
Pitt described “a few spots along the road” of his life “where I’ve become absolutely tired of myself. And this is a big one. These moments have always been a huge generator for change. And I’m quite grateful for it.”
Since the split, he told GQ, he’s been listening to a lot of Frank Ocean, seeing a therapist – “I just started therapy. I love it, I love it. I went through two therapists to get to the right one” – and drinking non-alcoholic fizzy drinks instead of booze. “I’ve got the cleanest urinary tract in all of L.A.,” he said.
He talked about how he couldn’t remember a day since he got out of college – he attended the University of Missouri before heading west – “when I wasn’t boozing or had a spliff, or something. Something. And you realize that a lot of it is, um – cigarettes, you know, pacifiers. And I’m running from feelings. I’m really, really happy to be done with all of that.
“I mean I stopped everything except boozing when I started my family. But even this last year, you know – things I wasn’t dealing with. I was boozing too much. It’s just become a problem. And I’m really happy it’s been half a year now, which is bittersweet, but I’ve got my feelings in my fingertips again.”
You miss the alcohol, Paterniti asked him?
“I mean, we have a winery. I enjoy wine very, very much, but I just ran it to the ground,” he said. “I had to step away for a minute. And truthfully I could drink a Russian under the table with his own vodka. I was a professional. I was good.”