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Brad Pitt has a face that is recognizable around the world, but even with decades spent on the big screen and dominating gossip magazines, there’s not a whole lot we really know about the private actor. Now Pitt, who is starring in the upcoming space drama Ad Astra, has opened up just a little bit about his newfound sobriety and his journey is one that may surprise people.

Pitt is the latest subject of a New York Times interview and focused mostly on his career, but did pull back the curtain slightly on his private life, most notably his decision to stop drinking. “I had taken things as far as I could take it, so I removed my drinking privileges,” said Pitt, who revealed that following wife Angelina Jolie’s decision to file for divorce in 2016, Pitt attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for a year and a half. The famous sobriety support group relies on members being able to speak candidly and amazingly none of the people in Pitt’s all-male AA group sold any of his stories to the tabloids. “It was actually really freeing just to expose the ugly sides of yourself,” said Pitt, who explained that all the men in his group trusted one another. “There’s great value in that.”

Pitt said that the group gave him a place to speak freely without fear of judgement or retribution, something that is difficult for anyone to find, let alone a wealthy movie star with privileges both real and assumed. “You had all these men sitting around being open and honest in a way I have never heard,” he said. “It was this safe space where there was little judgment, and therefore little judgment of yourself.”

Though Pitt doesn’t specify what events transpired to push him to get sober, it’s widely assumed that his family and specifically his children were the catalyst. In 2016, an investigation by Los Angeles Child Services was launched after Pitt reportedly got physical with his oldest son Maddox, then 16. According to various sources, Pitt had been drinking when he and Maddox had an altercation aboard a private plane, with the event leading to Jolie filing for divorce. Their separation has been tabloid fodder, but it now appears as though Pitt has rebuilt most of his relationships with his children, quite possibly thanks to his decision to stop drinking.

Pitt, who is currently in Venice promoting Ad Astra and earlier this year starred in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, also revealed that fans will likely see him in fewer roles on the big screen. Also a producer and artist who enjoys sculpting and landscaping, is determined to focus on other projects. “It’ll be fewer and farther in between for me, just because I have other things I want to do now,” said Pitt. “When you feel like you’ve finally got your arms around something, then it’s time to go get your arms around something else.”