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Brad Pitt Says Angelina Jolie Divorce Has Influenced His Acting: A ‘Breakup of a Family’ Is an ‘Eye-Opener’

The new film Ad Astra is a passion project for Brad Pitt, not only because he’s been trying to get it to the screen for years but also because it touches on themes relevant to his life — including, apparently, his divorce from Angelina Jolie.

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“It seems universal that we all carry great pains, great feelings of loneliness and regrets,” Pitt, 55, mused on NPR’s Weekend Edition on Sunday, September 22. “I had a friend who worked in a hospice and he said: The only thing that people talk about is their loves and then their regrets in love, dealing with love. I thought: Man, that’s really interesting. If that’s our focus on the way out, better start working on that now.”

Brad Pitt On Life Post-Divorce
Brad Pitt Rob Latour/Shutterstock

When asked if he wanted to explore that process onscreen, Pitt replied, “I would be exploring it whether there was a script that allowed that or not. A breakup of a family is certainly an eye-opener that as one — and I’m speaking in general again — but as one needs to understand, I had to understand my own culpability in that, and what can I do better. Because I don’t want to go on like this.”

He also discussed the interaction between masculinity and trauma. “I don’t know that we’ve been taught to deal with those painful events very well,” he said. “In fact, we’re better at burying them — at least certainly speaking for myself. You know, it’s this Marlboro Man image of: Don’t show weakness.”

“But then we were questioning: In doing that, are we actually denying our own feelings?” he added. “Denying a part of ourselves — a vulnerability, in this guise of Superman — to really be open for our loved ones, for our sons and daughters, in the sense that we’re all flawed; most of us are doing the best we can. And is there a peace of mind that comes from embracing one’s foibles and humiliations as well as our successes?”

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Jolie, 44, filed for divorce from the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood actor in September 2016. The former couple battled for more than two years over their six children — Maddox, 18, Pax, 15, Zahara, 14, Shiloh, 13, Vivienne, 11, and Knox, 11 — before reaching a custody agreement in November 2018. Pitt and the Maleficent star have yet to finalize their divorce, but they’ve been legally single since April.

In June, a source revealed to Us Weekly how Pitt has been focusing on himself since the split, saying that the Oscar winner has taken to sculpting. “It’s very therapeutic for him; it’s his go-to outlet,” the source said. “He can get caught up in it and carried away to the point where he doesn’t want to stop.”

Related: See the Evolution of Brad Pitt’s Single Style

Pitt has also made “some new pals” and “loves to travel with friends and loves seeing the world,” the source told Us.

“He’s grateful that all the animosity is in the past,” the source added. “He’s most excited about being a dad and sharing his life with his children.”

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