In a recent interview, Brad Pitt said he stopped reading press about himself in about 2004

By Helen Murphy
December 11, 2019 12:40 PM

In a new interview with The New York Times Magazine to promote his Golden Globe and SAG Award-nominated performance in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, the actor revealed that he stopped paying attention to press about himself around 15 years ago.

“I stopped reading all press about 2004,” the 55-year-old said. “Not just reviews. I mean any magazine in the doctor’s office. Because some of it would bounce around like a rat in the skull. It would stay there, and it would inform some of my decisions and choices in work, in life, and I didn’t find any of it helpful.”

“I don’t go out of my way to avoid it; I just don’t seek it out,” Pitt continued.

The Ad Astra star added: “I don’t know how many women they’ve said I’ve been dating the last two or three years, and none of it’s true.”

Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt
| Credit: Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Elsewhere in the interview, Pitt said he used to be “uncomfortable” with his stardom.

“I spent most of the ’90s hiding out and smoking pot,” he shared. “I was too uncomfortable with all the attention. Then I got to a place where I was aware that I was imprisoning myself. Now I go out and live life, and generally people are pretty cool.”

“After I stopped hiding out, once I got back out in the world, I realized that you have that ability to make someone feel good for a moment,” Pitt added. “I’m not trying to say anyone is being brushed with my greatness. I’m trying to say that I have the opportunity to brighten someone’s day. That’s a rare thing.”

Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt
| Credit: Matteo Chinellato/NurPhoto via Getty

Pitt has most recently been seen spending time with actress Alia Shawkat, though a source recently told PEOPLE that the two “are just friends — absolutely nothing romantic is going on.”

Last month, Pitt and Shawkat were spotted at Kanye West‘s “Nebuchadnezzar” opera show at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, following previous sightings together. A source told PEOPLE that the Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood actor “was with a group of people, including Alia” at the show.

“They were all in a VIP box. Brad was friendly with Alia, but it didn’t look romantic at all,” the source said.

Pitt split from Angelina Jolie in September 2016 after two years of marriage. The pair, who share six children, was declared legally single in April, though their divorce proceedings continue and are being handled by a private judge.