Brad Pitt, the superstar who hasn’t let his personal problems overshadow his image, turns 60

Neither his complex relationship with Harvey Weinstein, nor his acrimonious divorce from Angelina Jolie, nor being called ‘a terrible and despicable person’ by one of his children has hurt the actor. Not only is he a pop culture icon, he’s an expert in damage control

Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt at Wimbledon on July 16, 2023.Adam Davy (PA Images/ Getty Images)

Last July, during the Wimbledon final, one person was capable of overshadowing the game and the rest of the illustrious spectators, which included Prince William and Kate Middleton. That person was Brad Pitt, who sparked a flurry of comments about how he managed to look so good at 59 years of age. This is nothing new for the actor. Brad Pitt — who won an Oscar for best supporting actor for his role in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and is one of the highest paid actors in the industry — was voted the sexiest man alive by People magazine in 1995 and 2000. On Monday, December 18, he turns 60.

Most discussion about Brad Pitt revolves around his acting talent, physique and past relationships (he’s been with Juliette Lewis, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie). But there is little talk about the darker aspects of his life, be it his complex relationship with Harvey Weinstein; his bitter divorce from Jolie who, for the moment, has custody of all their children; or his son Pax’s accusation that he is “a terrible and despicable person.” Brad Pitt is not only a pop culture icon, he’s also an expert in damage control.

Paltrow, Jolie and Pitt against Weinstein

In 2022, Gwyneth Paltrow gave an interview to The New York Times where she revealed details about her relationship with Harvey Weinstein. The actress, according to Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey — the reporters who exposed the producer’s methodical abuse of women —, was one of the main sources of their investigation. Paltrow told them that Weinstein had harassed her at his Beverly Hills hotel when she was barely 22 years old and tried to abuse her. “I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified,” she said in the interview.

Weinstein asked her not to say anything about what had happened. But she told her then partner, Brad Pitt. “He said, ‘If you ever make her feel uncomfortable again, I’ll kill you,’” she recalled Pitt saying to Weinstein.

Pitt later confirmed what happened. “I just wanted to make sure nothing was going to happen further because she was going to do two films [with Weinstein],” Pitt told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, while expressing his support for the #MeToo movement. “I think the interesting thing is that we, Hollywood specifically, but the workplace, men and women’s dynamic,s is being re-calibrated, re-calibrated in a very good way that is long overdue.”

Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Pitt at the premiere of the film 'The Devil's Own,' in 1997.
Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Pitt at the premiere of the film 'The Devil's Own,' in 1997.Kevin.Mazur (WireImage)

Despite knowing about Weinstein’s misconduct, in 2009, Brad Pitt worked on the film Inglourious Basterds, directed by Quentin Tarantino and co-produced by the Weinstein Company. Later, in 2012, the same production company was in charge of distributing the film Killing Them Softly, starring (and produced) by Pitt.

In an interview with The Guardian in 2021, Angelina Jolie revealed that, in 1998, she worked with Weinstein in the film Playing by Heart. Jolie was 21 years old and confessed that she had to “escape” after the producer invited her to his hotel room. “I warned people about him. I remember telling Jonny [Lee Miller], my first husband, who was great about it, to spread the word to other guys — don’t let girls go alone with him. I was asked to do The Aviator, but I said no because he was involved. I never associated or worked with him again. It was hard for me when Brad did.”

Jolie, who was with Brad Pitt for 12 years, said that she felt that the actor minimized her experience, and that they fought when he returned to work for Weinstein: “Of course it hurt.”

In addition to being an actor, Brad Pitt has built a reputation for being a great producer. In 2002, he founded, along with his then wife Jennifer Aniston and Brad Grey, former CEO of Paramount Pictures, the production company Plan B. In 2006, he became the sole owner of the company. Although the first project was Troya (2004), Plan B has since been producing political movies. Curiously, one of its latest projects was the 2022 film She Said, which was based on the 2019 book about the investigation that uncovered the Weinstein story.

Pitt vs. Jolie

After 12 years of together, Pitt and Jolie separated in 2016. It was Jolie who filed for divorce — citing “irreconcilable differences” — and requested custody of their six children. In September 2016, the two reached an agreement that Angelina Jolie would have “temporary” custody of their children. Since then, the ex-couple has been locked in a legal battle over the custody of their children. Jolie maintains that Pitt abused two of her children and grabbed her by the head while shaking her on a private plane in 2016. The two have also been fighting over Château Miraval, a mansion and vineyard in the town of Correns, in the heart of the French Riviera. Jolie sold her stake in the mansion for $164 million without her ex-husband’s consent.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Joile at the Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2008.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Joile at the Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2008.Gareth Cattermole (Getty Images)

In February 2022, Pitt sued Jolie for the sale of that property. According to the actor, both had agreed that they would never sell their share of the estate, which is where the two got married. However, as reported by The New York Times in October of that year, Jolie tried to sell her share to the actor, but in exchange, Pitt wanted her to sign a confidentiality agreement pledging not to publicly discuss what happened on that plane in 2016. Jolie refused.

Since the actress began the divorce proceedings, Brad Pitt has apologized for his actions in several interviews. In a 2017 interview with GQ, he spoke about his problems with alcohol, and said that he had not drunk for six months. “I was boozing too much,” he said. “It’s just become a problem.” Pitt reportedly had to undergo drug tests in order to see his children.

The actor also spoke about his “weaknesses” and “flaws” and wanting to become a better man. “Brad has owned everything he’s responsible for from day one — unlike the other side,” Pitt’s attorney, Anne Kiley, told Page Six. “He’s not going to own anything he didn’t do,” the statement continued. “He has been on the receiving end of every type of personal attack and misrepresentation.”

Brad Pitt collecting his Oscar award for best supporting actor on February 9, 2020.
Brad Pitt collecting his Oscar award for best supporting actor on February 9, 2020.Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

Of his adopted children, Zahara, 18, has dropped her father’s last name from her surname, and now goes by Zahara Jolie. And another of his adopted children, Pax Jolie Pitt, 20, recently made headlines after a message he posted on his private Instagram account was leaked. In the message, posted on Father’s Day in 2020, Pax said Pitt had turned their family’s life into “constant hell.”

“Happy Father’s Day to this world class assehole!! You time and time again prove yourself to be a terrible and despicable person. You have no consideration or empathy toward your four youngest children who tremble in fear when in your presence,” he wrote in reference to his siblings Zahara, Shiloh, Knox and Vivienne. “You will never understand the damage you have done to my family because you’re incapable of doing so.” “You may tell yourself and the world whatever you want, but the truth will come to light someday,” he added.

Some of Brad Pitt’s friends blamed Jolie for turning the children against him and carrying out “textbook parental alienation.” While Jolie has been photographed numerous times with her children, Brad Pitt has not been seen publicly with them since the 2016 incident.

For his part, Pitt has dedicated himself to work. Since 2016, he has starred in eight films. In 2022, he launched his own cosmetics brand, Le Domaine. And in 2023, he launched a new brand of gin called The Gardener Gin. Oblivious to any scandal, he is also keeping his love life out of the news. He is reportedly in a relationship with jewelry designer Inés de Ramón. In Pitt’s case, when it comes to damage control, it’s all about hard work and discretion.

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