In an interview with The New York Times published Wednesday, the 55-year-old Ad Astra actor looked back on his decision to give up drinking, which came after his split from Angelina Jolie, 44.
He shared with the outlet that he was moved by his fellow male group members in Alcoholics Anonymous.
“You had all these men sitting around being open and honest in a way I have never heard,” Pitt said. “It was this safe space where there was little judgment, and therefore little judgment of yourself.”
“It was actually really freeing just to expose the ugly sides of yourself,” Pitt continued. “There’s great value in that.”
Pitt has spent a lot of timing looking inward recently, especially as he prepped for his role in Ad Astra — a film about an astronaut in search of his father (Tommy Lee Jones).
He channeled a lot from his own father for the performance, Pitt told The Times, adding that he’s reached a point where he sees his dad in every role he plays now.
“I grew up with that be-capable, be-strong, don’t-show-weakness thing,” Pitt said of his dad, who owned a trucking company. “In some ways, I’m copying him. He had grown up in extreme hardship and poverty, always dead set on giving me a better life than he had — and he did it. But he came from that stoic ilk.”
Elsewhere in the profile, Pitt spoke out about how the media’s attention early on in his career forced him to retreat.
“In the ’90s, all that attention really threw me,” Pitt said. “It was really uncomfortable for me, the cacophony of expectations and judgments. I really became a bit of a hermit and just bonged myself into oblivion.”
Though he appeared to be living the perfect life, with an engagement to Gwyneth Paltrow and marriage to Jennifer Aniston, he told The Times it wasn’t “the lottery it appeared from the outside.”
Ad Astra hits theaters Sept. 20.