Brad Pitt sat down with Oprah to promote his movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, due out Christmas Day, and he talked about parenthood, paparazzi, and the less-than-glamorous parts of parenthood with partner Angelina Jolie.
On how they explain paparazzi to the kids: “Their idea of the world is, when we get in the car and we’re going out there’s 20-30 people standing there with cameras who want to take their picture. This is their idea of the world at large. We try to explain to them, ‘They’re a little funny, they like taking pictures, they’re a little weird, but it’s alright.’ And our little one Zahara [3 1/2], said to me, ‘Actually, Daddy, it’s not alright.’ And it gets to them. We do our best, they have their friends, and we try to keep as much normalcy as we can, and do things together, as a family, we keep everyone together and that’s our rule.”
On what he would do if he could be unrecognizable for a day: “I would like to tear down my fences. I’d like to tear down my gate, I’d like to be able to see my neighbors. I’d like my kids to be able to run in each other’s yards and their yards and our yards and wave at everybody.”
On the W magazine shoot: “We have a lot of fun working together and taking on these projects.” Adding that it is “customary to do a photo shoot when a movie comes out,” Brad says this time they said, “Let’s do it together and see what happens. Angie is seen as a femme fatale, but she also has the biggest heart, just inexhaustible spirit and sweetness and goodness. She’s an inexhaustible mother and great grace and the real glue of the family, and that’s what I wanted to portray.”
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On the subject of more children: “Probably. It’s the thing I’m most proud of. It’s the greatest endeavor we’ve ever taken and the most interesting, most fulfilling, most rewarding thing I have ever experienced, and why should I stop?”
On how 4-month-old twins Knox and Vivienne are: “Lovely, they’re lovely. He kind of looks like me and she kind of looks like Angie. It’s a bit bizarre.”
On if they have help: “We had help in the nights because you want to be there for the other ones in the day. Not every night, because we also want to take them on ourselves and be part of that experience. In the beginning, it was mainly us trying to do both shifts.”
On having sleepovers with the kids: “They’re trying to kill us, they really are. They’re really well organized and they’ve got it set up where we’ll get them to bed, read the stories and one of them will show up about a half our later. They can’t sleep and they’ll want to read books, and we’ll do that for about an hour and a half, and that one will go to sleep, and then we’ll just be fading off and someone else – and I know they’ve got shifts, they’ve got it worked out, ‘At 2:30 you pee the bed, and then go crawl in their bed.’ But yeah, we do that once a week.
Brad also shared a funny story about Zahara: “Yesterday, Z.Z. goes, ‘Daddy, smell’ I go, ‘What, honey?’ and she goes ‘Smell’ [Brad makes a disgusted face] ‘What is that?’ And she goes, ‘Dog poop.’ I said, ‘Honey, you can’t – you can’t – don’t touch the – go wash your hands! Go, go!’”
On how fatherhood has changed him: “I’m impervious to poo, snot, urine, vomit. You can’t get me; you cannot break me down. In the beginning it was ‘Oh God, oh, how do they vomit that much,’ now it’s just, ‘Honey, come here, you see that? You need to chew your food. You see that? That is half a hot dog.”
On their holiday plans: “Last year was in New Orleans when we stayed at home, and the lead-up is to get something for everyone and make something for everyone and open one gift Christmas Eve. The next morning we go wild. The opposite year, we travel. This year, we want to go to one of the kids’ places of origin and spend time there and do something. It’s very important to us, and very important that they understand where they came from and have pride in where they came from, and that’s shared amongst everyone.”
On if Brad, who considers himself to be the disciplinarian in the family, can handle all six kids at once: “Four is usually my limit on my own, so far. I hope to advance to six.”
On sitting down and explaining about the twins coming home: “We made sure that they still get the single time, that they know that just because the babies have arrived, it doesn’t mean that they’re any less important. That was our big focus. And it’s worked out really well, they’re really sweet with them and loving, they take care of them, and they have a real pride in it. It’s really nice to see.”
Brad, who is also dad to also dad to Maddox, 7, and Pax, 5 this month, also shared that 2-year-old Shiloh only wants to be called John.