Oscar nominee Brad Pitt has come a long way from his early days of stardom where he battled depression and drug use.
The 48-year-old star opened up about his past struggles with The Hollywood Reporter, saying he used drugs in attempt to escape the spotlight.
“I got really sick of myself at the end of the 1990s: I was hiding out from the celebrity thing and just being an online bingo player; I was smoking way too much dope; I was sitting on the couch and just turning into a doughnut; and I really got irritated with myself,” he told THR. “I got to: ‘What’s the point? I know better than this.’”
In addition to drug use, the “Moneyball” and “Tree of Life” star revealed he had his fair share of dark thoughts.
“I used to deal with depression, but I don’t now, not this decade — maybe last decade. But that’s also figuring out who you are,” he continued. “I see it as a great education, as one of the seasons or a semester: ‘This semester I was majoring in depression.’ I was doing the same thing every night and numbing myself to sleep — the same routine: Couldn’t wait to get home and hide out. But that feeling of unease was growing and one night I just said, ‘This is a waste.’”
Trips to Yugoslavia and Morocco in the late ’90s, where the actor said he saw “poverty to an extreme I had never witnessed before,” was the wakeup call he needed to change his life.
“I just quit. I stopped grass then — I mean, pretty much — and decided to get off the couch,” he recalled.
Pitt then looked to one of music’s biggest philanthropist for inspiration.
“I sought out Bono and sat down with him a few times and got involved in some of the stuff he was doing. But it all started before that. It started with private acts,” he explained, adding that his newfound passion to help others connected him with longtime partner Angelina Jolie.
“That may have been one of the things that brought us together,” Pitt said of Jolie. “Certainly, I’ve met very few people more dedicated than she is. She is always studying issues, daily. She has such compassion for the people she works with.”
Looking back, Pitt is at peace with past struggles.
“This idea of perpetual happiness is crazy and overrated, because those dark moments fuel you for the next bright moments; each one helps you appreciate the other,” he said. “We are all searching for meaning in our lives, love and betterment for ourselves and those around us.”