Inside Brad Pitt's Big Return — and Why He's 'Very Excited About Life' Now

The Oscar-winning actor stars with Leonardo DiCaprio in Quentin Tarantino's latest film, Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood 

Brad Pitt is still one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

He earned rave reviews for his role as a tough, loyal stuntman in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood — his first film in two years.

Since his 2016 split from Angelina Jolie, the actor, 55, has “worked very hard on himself to be a better, healthier person and to be the best dad possible,” a source tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue.

“These were always his priorities. That his career is going well is a happy bonus that he is thrilled about.”

For more on Brad Pitt, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday

The Oscar winner’s positive lifestyle changes also included focusing on his diet and workout regimen — and the results are on full display in a shirtless Once Upon a Time scene reminiscent of his star-making six-pack moment in 1991’s Thelma & Louise.

Thelma and Louise

He “really takes his workouts seriously,” the source says. “It’s been a whole lifestyle change. And he looks amazing.”

RELATED VIDEO: Once Upon A Time … in Hollywood Actors Leonardo Dicaprio And Brad Pitt Formed The Bromance We Didn’t Know We Needed

On the family front, the father of six recently helped celebrate Shiloh’s 13th birthday, and his oldest son Maddox, 18, will soon head to college in South Korea to study biochemistry. “Despite having help, Brad is a hands-on dad,” an industry insider says. “He comes from a close family, and he has continued to be a parent who is interested in the lives of his children.”

<a href="" data-inlink="true">Brad Pitt</a>
John Rasimus/Barcroft Media/Getty

Between his latest movie’s box office success and Pitt’s personal strides, he’s “really found his happiness again,” the first source says. “He is back and very excited about life. And it’s well-deserved.”

Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood is out now.

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