Brad Pitt’s Battle With Marijuana: a History

Photo: Kelly Chiello and Photo by Getty Images

What broke up Brangelina? According to the most prominent of the story’s sources, it was not cheating that tore apart Hollywood’s alpha couple, but marijuana — specifically, Pitt’s love of it, which allegedly created what Jolie considered an inappropriate environment for their children. If the rumors are true, this wouldn’t be the first time Pitt’s pot habit has made the news. Over the years, Pitt has discussed his lifelong battle with the demon weed, taking pains to distance himself from his youthful stoner image, with unsuccessful results. Here’s a timeline.

September 10, 1993
True Romance is released, featuring Pitt as Michael Rapaport’s couch-dwelling roommate Floyd, whose life is spent watching cartoons through a haze of smoke. Despite Pitt’s meager screen time, the role enters the stoner canon, and becomes a key component of his star image. (Why do you think his characters are always so hungry?)

August 7, 2009
Stopping by Jimmy Kimmel Live, Quentin Tarantino reveals how he got Pitt to sign up for Inglourious Basterds — all it took was a visit to Pitt’s home in France, where the pair discussed the script with the help of some herbal refreshments. “We’re poppin’ rosé and he’s got this really cool Pink Floyd kind of rosé,” the director recalls. “We’re knocking it back, and then a smoking apparatus of some sort found its way on the table. It was like a pop can, red with a little silver stripe. When Brad woke up the next day, he was like, Ughhhhhhh. He sees the smoking apparatus and he starts counting the empty bottles of wine. It was six.” Tarantino later clarifies that Pitt doesn’t smoke weed while he’s on set.

August 14, 2009
Pitt appears on Real Time With Bill Maher, where the host reminisces about the time Pitt spent an entire party sitting on the floor rolling joints. “You rolled these perfect joints,” Maher says. “The most perfect joint I have ever seen. Like a machine … It was better than a cigarette.” Pitt accepts the compliments with a chuckle, admitting, “I’m an artist.” Still, he swears he gave up marijuana when he had kids: “I’m a dad now. You want to be alert.”

September 15, 2011
In an interview with Parade, Pitt reveals that he spent a dark period in the late ‘90s wallowing in his own self-hatred, and also roomfuls of marijuana smoke. “I started to get sick of myself sitting on a couch, holding a joint, hiding out,” he says. “It started feeling pathetic.” Pitt also raises the possibility that his unhappiness in his marriage to Jennifer Aniston contributed to the problem, a suggestion he quickly apologizes for.

January 5, 2012
During the Oscar campaign for Moneyball, Pitt sits down with THR to discuss his life, including more details of his late-’90s stoner phase. “I was hiding out from the celebrity thing; I was smoking way too much dope; I was sitting on the couch and just turning into a doughnut; and I really got irritated with myself.” Fortunately, a trip to Morocco gave him new respect for the depths of human suffering and knocked him out of the depressive phase. “I just quit,” he says. “I stopped grass then — I mean, pretty much — and decided to get off the couch.” (That “pretty much” is doing a lot of work.)

December 20, 2012
Pitt joins John Legend, Russell Simmons, Danny Glover, and director Eugene Jarecki in releasing a joint statement applauding president Obama’s decision not to contest referenda legalizing recreational marijuana use. “The President’s statement reflects a saner and more sensible drug policy,” they write, calling it a much-needed “step away from the decades-long failed war on drugs.”

May 20, 2013
In an Esquire cover story, Pitt discusses the fact that he famously dropped out of college two credits shy of graduation, attributing it to his marijuana habit. “All I had to do was write a paper,” he says. “What kind of guy is that? That guy scares me — the guy who always leaves a little on his plate. For a long time, I thought I did too much damage — drug damage.” Still, he says, around the millennium he made a conscious effort to clean up his act. “I got burnt out and felt that I was wasting my opportunity,” he explains. “It was an epiphany — a decision not to squander my opportunities. It was a feeling of get up. Because otherwise, what’s the point?” (The profile also contains an interesting quote from Andrew Dominik, who directed Pitt in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, about Pitt and Jolie’s house: “There’s a breeze blowing through every window. As soon as you walk through the door, you feel stoned.”)

April 19, 2015
The National Enquirer runs a story on “drug-crazed Brad’s twisted double life.” The story inside does not quite live up to the hyperbole: According to the tabloid, Pitt has a secret man-cave in his Airstream trailer, and a source says, “Brad will often head there with a buddy, a few joints, some beer and a pack of cigarettes to wind down from the stresses of the day.” The source also says that Jolie is furious about the habit: “Here she is doing all she can to stay healthy — while Brad is puffing his life away.”

September 19, 2016
Jolie files for divorce from Pitt. A TMZ source says that the marriage ended because she was “fed up” with Pitt’s weed habit as well as his drinking, which combined with alleged anger issues created an unsafe environment for the couple’s children. As Jolie’s lawyer says, the filing was solely “for the health of the family.”

Brad Pitt’s Battle With Marijuana: a History