Brad Pitt Said His Upbringing Was ‘That Be-Capable, Be-Strong, Don’t-Show-Weakness Thing’

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie continue to make headlines despite splitting almost five years ago. With custody issues of their six kids still at the forefront, Pitt and Jolie are apparently not yet at an amicable place in their co-parenting relationship.

Pitt has previously spoken on fatherhood and his own upbringing, noting that he seems to have taken on many qualities of his dad.

Brad Pitt in a dark jacket and shirt attends the Japan premiere of 'Ad Astra' on September 13, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan
Brad Pitt | Ken Ishii/Getty Images

Brad Pit got introspective during ‘Ad Astra’

In the 2019 film Ad Astra, Pitt played astronaut Roy McBride, who goes on a daring space mission in search of his missing father (Tommy Lee Jones). The father-son themes struck a chord with Pitt, where he talked about his own dad, William, in an interview promoting the movie.

“I grew up with that be-capable, be-strong, don’t-show-weakness thing,” Pitt told the New York Times in 2019, revealing that he now sees a bit of his father in each of his roles. “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.”

The Fight Club star spoke of parental themes in another sit-down with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, repeating how his father came from tough times but was able to provide a home and stability for his family.

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“My dad always said he wanted to give me a better life than he had coming from extreme poverty, and he did it,” Pitt said in 2019. “And it makes me think, as a dad, what do I have to offer that’s better than I had, to my kids?”

Brad Pitt’s parents prioritized independence

The oldest of his siblings, Pitt previously shared that his parents molded their children toward self-sufficiency. Though Pitt saw his dad as a disciplinarian, he apparently also had a more lenient side.

“He could be a softie,” Pitt told The Telegraph in 2015. “But one thing my folks always stressed was being capable, doing things for yourself. He was really big on integrity – and that informed a lot of what [we] try to do now.”

In his interview with Amanpour, the Moneyball star reflected on how his own upbringing shaped his personal parenting style.

“My individual experience is somewhat universal, in the fact that you know our parents, our universe, our gods, our first imprint on on how to behave, react, feel in the world,” he told the CNN journalist. “And with that, to different degrees, some of us more than others, carry pain and confusion from that. I think it almost takes a lifetime to understand what was yours, and what was theirs.”

Brad Pitt hopes his movies reflect his growth

Taking on more complex roles over the years, Pitt commented on the importance of personally taking stock.

“I’m grateful that there was such an emphasis on being capable and doing things on your own with humility,” he remarked. “But what’s lacking about that is taking inventory of yourself.”

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Pitt continued, “It’s almost a denial of this other part of you that is weak and goes through self-doubts, even though those are human things we all experience. Certainly, it’s my belief that you can’t really know yourself until you identify and accept those things.”