What You Never Knew About Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt is among that rare breed of stars who are synonymous with Hollywood. With a face that has come to be known the world over, acting credits that have earned him tons of awards, and production success lauded for pushing great cinema, the value of Pitt's stardom is volcanic. Fifty-eight years old as of publication, Pitt has been around Tinseltown for over three decades. He began his bright career as a shirtless cowboy in the 1991 film "Thelma & Louise" — with only seven minutes of screen time (via Insider). A year later, "A River Runs Through It" established him as an actor worth looking out for — and sure enough, everyone was! 

Pitt occupies high status in cinema, courtesy of a long list of critically acclaimed performances in industry-altering films like "Fight Club," "Se7en," "Inglourious Basterds," and "Moneyball." Under his production company Plan B Entertainment, Pitt has also backed several Oscar-winning projects, including "The Departed" and "Moonlight." As his frequent collaborator and director Quentin Tarantino put it to GQ: "He's one of the last remaining big-screen movie stars." While Pitt's on-screen oeuvre is obviously impressive, a sizeable part of his celebrity comes from the man he is. Let's take a dive into some lesser-known stories about the ace artist.

Brad Pitt dropped out of college two weeks before graduation

Acting beckoned Brad Pitt before he completed college. If it hadn't, he probably would have embarked on a career in journalism. Just two weeks shy of graduating from journalism school at the University of Missouri, Pitt took off to Los Angeles in search of his destiny. "It just came to the time of graduation and everyone — all my friends were committing to jobs — and I just realized I was not ready for that yet," he explained in an interview (via Poynter). "I knew where I wanted to go." Pitt's professors at J-school reportedly reached out with a proposal for him to claim his remaining credit scores and get his degree, but the "Fight Club" star seems to have passed on the offer. 

Hailing from Oklahoma, Pitt attended Kickapoo High School in Missouri (via People), where he was apparently quite the gifted speaker and sportsman. Far Out Magazine noted that Pitt's initial interests lay in art direction. After dropping out of college, with just $325 in his pocket, he made the big move to the City of Angels, giving his parents the impression that he was going to study at an art college in Pasadena (via The Hollywood Reporter). After a few uncredited roles in the late 1980s, Pitt found his footing with a four-episode part on the television series "Dallas" – and the rest, as they say, is history.

He drove strippers around before becoming an actor

Before he was a global movie star, Brad Pitt was doing a number of odd jobs (literally!) to make ends meet. One of these was driving strippers around in Los Angeles — but the gig didn't just involve chauffeur duties. Apparently, Pitt had to help out his clients in their enterprise. "My job was to go to the place and get the assignment, then go to the girl's apartment, pick her up, and drive her to the party," Pitt once revealed in an interview, per Page Six. He was also charged with playing the music and catching articles of clothing as the girls removed them.

As eccentric as the whole thing sounds, it actually led Pitt toward his film career. In fact, Pitt has gone so far as to declare that "strippers changed my life" (via People). It was reportedly through one of his clients that he was introduced to acting coach Roy London's classes. "He was tough, lovely, compassionate, tough. I give him full credit for pointing me in this direction ... I learned so much from that man," Pitt said, according to the Mirror.  

Among his other varied job profiles was a stint as a mascot for the restaurant El Pollo Loco, which required him to dress up in a feathered chicken suit to attract customers. Pitt, who is today one of the world's most esteemed film figures, feels "no shame" in embracing his past gigs, as he revealed on Ellen DeGeneres' show (via Insider): "Man's gotta eat!"

Brad Pitt has said he suffers from face blindness

If you're a friend of Brad Pitt (bless your luck!) and you happen to meet him at a party only to find that he doesn't recognize you, don't take it personally. The actor claimed in a 2022 interview with GQ that he lives with a condition called prosopagnosia, known commonly as face blindness. According to an expert opinion quoted in The New York Times, prosopagnosia can either be a congenital disorder (from birth) or an acquired one, and can cause the affected person to have trouble recognizing the faces of close family or even their own. 

However, no one seems to believe Pitt — or so he says. The "Ad Astra" star revealed that his inability to place people's faces has often led to him being perceived as aloof or disrespectful. Though he hasn't been formally diagnosed with prosopagnosia, Pitt has been speaking about his condition for years. "I can't grasp a face and yet I come from such a design/aesthetic point of view," he told Esquire in 2013, saying that he would get it tested. Prosopagnosia has affected his interactions to such an extent that Pitt said he dislikes socializing outdoors — "that's why I stay at home." 

His acting career might be coming to an end

With a career spanning over three decades, more than 80 film credits, almost 70 productions to his name, and two Oscar wins, Brad Pitt has traced an illustrious career as one of Hollywood's most dependable celebrities. But all of that could be set to change, as the 58-year-old has ruminated about bringing the curtain down on his life's work. For some time now, Pitt has been "old" — something he declared at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in 2020 (via the Associated Press). "I can't stand night shoots anymore, and I'll gladly hand a stunt over to a stunt man. I no longer remember the first rule of 'Fight Club.'" 

Pitt's tenor seems to have visibly transformed in recent times, as he told GQ in 2022 about being on the "last leg" of his career: "What is this section gonna be? And how do I wanna design that?" In his upcoming release, he stars as Ladybug, a gullible assassin, in David Leitch's action film "Bullet Train." He proclaimed during promotions that his own life mirrored that of his character, who is much like a "22-year-old going through self-discovery" (via The Print). His fashion choices have also been changing, as he told Esquire that in getting crankier with age, "comfort becomes more important."

Malaysia banned an ad starring Brad Pitt

Hollywood heartthrob Brad Pitt, who has twice won the honor of being People's Sexiest Man Alive, has long been a billboard fixture for global brands. In 2002, Pitt found himself in a bizarre situation when an advertisement he did for Toyota created a stir in Malaysia. The ad in question was for one of the automobile company's most popular vehicles, reported The Guardian. The campaign did not go over well with authorities in the Southeast Asian country. As Deputy Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin said, they "canceled the ads because they were considered an insult to Asians." 

The ad appeared to be wildly popular among the general population in Malaysia, with fans reportedly ripping down the ad posters and taking them home (via People). Maidin, meanwhile, questioned the use of Western faces in ads for Asia. "Aren't our own people handsome enough?" he asked. 

Malaysia isn't the only Asian country to have turned hostile against Pitt. Per CBS News, China reportedly banned Pitt following the release of his 1997 film "Seven Years in Tibet," which touched on the contentious history between China and Tibet. 

He shares a close friendship with Bradley Cooper

Brad Pitt and Bradley Cooper apparently share a connection that goes beyond glitzy Hollywood parties and film sets. The award-winning A-listers gave their friendship a shoutout from the stage in 2020 at the National Board of Review Awards. Cooper, while presenting an award to his buddy, mused about the "power of Brad Pitt," and Pitt revealed that it was Cooper who helped him embrace sobriety. Both men have traced their own journeys from addiction to sobriety; while Cooper said he gave up the use of substances at the age of 29 (per The Hollywood Reporter), Pitt attended Alcoholics Anonymous following his 2016 divorce from Angelina Jolie, via The New York Times

E! News reported that Pitt and Cooper have known each other for years, but their friendship has taken on more profound meaning in recent times. The pair were spotted enjoying the men's singles final at the U.S. Open in 2021 together, per Harper's Bazaar. Though they have never shared the screen, their increasing closeness has inspired some what-if movie posters, with Pitt and Cooper reimagined as leads in "Wedding Crashers" and "Lethal Weapon 3" (via Access).

Brad Pitt's characters are always eating on screen

If you've been watching carefully, you may have noticed that Brad Pitt constantly eats on screen. So popular is the subculture of Pitt's film characters noshing on camera that he has been called the Laurence Olivier of the genre (per The Washington Post). Scroll through the internet and you'll find plenty of videos where the actor is putting food into his mouth during films — in "Ocean's 11" as Rusty Ryan or as Cliff Booth in "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood." Pitt has a simple explanation for what has seemingly gained a cult following over years: "I like to busy myself, I'm a grazer by nature," he told Joe.

Pitt's mouth is particularly full in "Ocean's 11," as fans have noticed. Pitt attributed this trait to Rusty's "always on the move" character in the film: "I figured he could never sit down and have a proper meal. So he always had to grab something on the run." Insider once noted a count of at least 60 films in which Pitt has been spotted snacking on something — from fruits to chips to bacon (and even human blood in "Interview with the Vampire"). "He makes it look like an actual human being eating, and you don't get that a lot," casting director Caroline Liem once said (via The Washington Post). 

He met his ex-wife Jennifer Aniston on a blind date

Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were the golden couple of the early millennium. As two supremely good-looking, sought-after actors — Pitt made a splash with his 1991 appearance in "Thelma & Louise," while the world knew Aniston for her lead role in the hit sitcom "Friends" — their romance set the benchmark high. They met in 1994, courtesy of an appointment set up by their managers. "He was just this sweet guy from Missouri, you know?" Aniston told Rolling Stone. It wasn't until 1998 that Pitt and Aniston went on a date and ultimately began seeing each other (via Brides). 

Hollywood's finest fairytale wasn't fated to last long. In 2005, five years after they married in a stunning million-dollar ceremony, Pitt and Aniston parted ways amid swirling rumors that romance was brewing between Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Even so, Aniston was quoted as saying to Vanity Fair in 2006: "We exited this relationship as beautifully as we entered it." Pitt, too, has had nothing but praise for Aniston, calling her an "incredibly giving, loving, and hilarious woman who remains [his] friend" (via E! News). Every time Pitt and Aniston have reunited post-divorce — be it at the SAG Awards or at birthday parties — reactions have been effusive, proving that the pair still remains a fan-favorite couple.

Playgirl was forced to recall an issue after Pitt's lawsuit

The world has been graced by a topless Brad Pitt endless times on screen. But it spurred a whole scandal in the 1990s when the dashing actor was snapped in the nude nonconsensually in pictures that made their way into the public eye (via The New York Times). Playgirl took the lead in publishing a sensational cover story in August 1997 that gave a full exhibition of Pitt's pictures with a headline that screamed: "Brad Pitt Nude!" The notorious full frontal shots of Pitt were taken in 1995 when the star was vacationing in the West Indies with his then-girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow, per TMZ. He claimed he was clicked by paparazzi who trespassed on his property. 

Pitt quickly moved to sue the magazine, approaching a Los Angeles court to seek a restraining order against it. As reported by NYT, Playgirl's legal reps could not specify how the nude pictures of Pitt reached the magazine, arguing that they had already made a big splash in international media since being taken in 1995. Pitt ultimately won the legal battle, with a judge recalling the August issue of Playgirl (but not before it reportedly sold out), according to the Los Angeles Times. The controversy famously inspired a line in Shania Twain's 1997 song "That Don't Impress Me Much" (via Billboard). 

Brad is a distant cousin of Barack Obama

The jury is out on who's the more famous cousin: Brad Pitt or Barack Obama. The Oscar-winning actor and the 44th president of the United States are distant relatives, a connection that's not the most common public knowledge. It turns out the two distinguished men are ninth cousins through an ancestor named Edwin Hickman, as charted out by The Guardian. The lineage traces back to two of Hickman's sons, whose respective descendants are Pitt and Obama. While little is known about Hickman, who died in the 18th century, his roots have been found in Virginia. A common Southern origin is what probably drew a line between Pitt and Obama. 

The curious kinship hasn't gone unnoticed by the concerned parties. The nature of their relationship surfaced around 2008 during Obama's campaign trail for the presidency. "I think he got the better-looking side of the gene pool," Obama said, referencing his Pitt connection (via Access). Cosmically enough, it was also revealed at the time that Hillary Clinton, Obama's Democratic nomination opponent, was related to Pitt's then-partner Angelina Jolie. While Pitt hasn't publicly alluded to Obama being a cousin, he was supposedly in "respectful awe" of the politician when they met at the White House in 2009 (via Politico).  

He can fly a plane and play the guitar

It's no secret that Brad Pitt is a multifaceted man. From acting in films to producing some of the best ones, Pitt appears to know the ropes of cinema front to back. But that's not where the extent of his skill set ends. From flying a plane to playing the guitar, the 58-year-old can do it all ... and then some. The former interest is something he picked up under the influence of his ex-wife Angelina Jolie, who is a licensed pilot (via People). "She got me into it. She's definitely more experienced. Yeah, she's badass," Pitt told Rolling Stone in 2008, elaborating that he and Jolie had different flying styles. Fly Aeolus noted that Pitt even possesses his own fighter aircraft.  

In addition to flying planes, the "Allied" actor has discussed his less-than-impressive guitar tunes (via The West Australian). "I play the guitar and I love music, but I really suck!" Pitt once said in an interview. It appears he has since attempted to improve his playing, waking up early to get in some guitar practice, as he told GQ in 2022. Given the number of trades he has already mastered, we wouldn't put it past Pitt to release a Grammy-worthy album soon!