Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett
By 2004, Brad was cast in a classic Hollywood leading man role as Achilles in the Greek epic Troy. Brad then met his real-life love, Angelina Jolie, in the action-packed, tongue-in-cheek Mr. and Mrs. Smith. But Brad still knows how to have fun—he and his Ocean's buddies always deliver.
"It's been four long years since I've uttered these words, and they are sure to make this audience very happy," Oprah says. "Brad Pitt is here!"
Along with the joys of fatherhood, Brad says he's learned to develop a thick skin. "I'm impervious to poo, snot, urine, vomit," he says. "You can't get me. You cannot break me down."
Photo: People magazine
With four other children—6-year-old Maddox, 4-year-old Pax, 3-year-old Zahara and 2-year-old Shiloh—Brad says it was necessary to have a little help at home. "We had help in the nights because you want to be there for the other ones in the day," he says. "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."
Brad says fatherhood has had a positive effect on him. "It really tells you a lot about yourself and who you are and how you react to things," he says. "They make me better. They make me a better person as a father." The children have also brought new meaning to his life. "It makes everything else perfunctory in a way but also more fun because you've got this other thing to go home to," he says. "Even the films, I can't help but do a film thinking my kids will see that someday and that may mean something to them. So it puts an extra importance and yet takes off the importance at the same time."
Brad says living in a fishbowl can be hard on his kids. "We try to explain to them, 'Yeah, these people are a little funny, they kind of like taking pictures and they're a little weird. But it's all right.' And our little one, Zahara, said, 'Actually, Daddy, it's not all right.' And it gets to them."
Sticking together is a big part of Brad's plan to keep the family balanced. "They have their friends, and we try to keep as much normalcy as we can. And do things together, do things as a family," he says. Since the twins have joined the family, Brad says he and Angelina are focusing on making sure each child knows they are no less important. "It's worked out really well," Brad says. "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; they're amazing."
Photo: W magazine
Photo: People magazine
When it comes to bedtime, the joke's on Brad and Angelina. Brad says his kids trick them into having "slumber parties" at night. "They're trying to kill us, they really are," Brad jokes. "We'll get them to bed, read the stories, and then one will show up about a half hour later and can't sleep and wants to read books." Like clockwork, Brad says as soon as one child falls asleep, another will wake up. "I know they've got shifts," he jokes. "They've got it worked out, you know?"
"What's so interesting is that you seem happier than you've ever been," Oprah says.
"I dare say," Brad says.
Photo: Paramount Pictures
Although Brad's character goes through an entire lifetime, different actors were not used for different ages—it's all Brad. "It's kind of Brad," he says. "With a lot of help from CG [Computer Graphics]."
Although Brad describes his family as nomadic, he calls New Orleans one of his home bases. There, he says he can ride his bike around the French Quarter and sit on the porch with his family without creating a buzz. "We have some semblance of a normal life there."
Photo: Paramount Pictures
Making this film, Cate says, made her reflect on her own life because she lost her father when she was 10 years old and was raised in a house with her grandmother and mother. "I had that sense of generations in the one household. So I thought a lot about my mother and also having children," Cate says. "And that's what the film does. It takes you on the whole cycle from birth to death."
Cate says she was able to draw from her personal experiences. "My first job was working in an old people's home," Cate says. "I love being around people who are older."
Jennifer and her husband, Michael, are Skyping in from Homer Glen, Illinois, with a question for Brad. Has Brad ever been left home alone in charge of all six children? "And how have you handled it?" Jennifer asks.
Brad considers himself to be the disciplinarian in the family but hasn't been left alone with all six children. "Four is usually my limit on my own, so far," Brad says. "I hope to advance to six."
Cate says that in a relationship it is important to be able to laugh, but more importantly your bodies must be compatible. "Someone once said to me, and I think it's quite true, that if your bodies actually fit together when you're sleeping in bed—I'm not going to get into too much detail—you're in good stead," Cate says.
"You mean when you're spooning?" Oprah asks.
"When you can spoon with someone, then you're okay," Cate says. "Because you might not vote the same way, you might not have the same politics, but sometimes that works for people."
Cate also says her husband has the qualities she admires in a man. "I think it's a sense of humor, and also my husband is a very strong individual," Cate says. "So he's happy for my success, and I'm happy for his."
"Let me say, if you have a partner, it's great fun. It's a great thing to go do together," Brad says. "And it becomes personal and special in its own right."
Brad says he'd like his family to be able to have a normal life. "I would like to tear down my fences. I'd like to tear down my gates. 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 I'd wave at every car that went by. That's what I'd do," Brad says. "Maybe barbecue. See the ice cream truck."
Cate says: "Well, in Australia, we sweat for Christmas. That's what we do because it's so hot." Cate's father was American, so her family celebrated an American Christmas and Cate says they were the only people in their neighborhood to celebrate Thanksgiving. "We have a traditional, big English roast, which no one wants to eat because it's so hot. So there's a lot of food," she says. "But my mother was very big on going around and helping other people at Christmas."
Because some of the Jolie-Pitt children were born in different countries, Brad says they like to travel to the countries where they were born. "This year, we want to go to one of the kids' places of origin and spend time there and do something [helpful]," Brad says. "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."
Cate says she goes through stages. "I went through a stage where all I wanted to eat was muesli for three years," Cate says. "And then I went on to sushi, and the first time I fell pregnant I went completely off fish." But if Cate had to choose a last meal, she says she is simple. "Probably a bowl of rice."
Brad says he's not a very picky eater. "I'll eat anything and everything. I go through different stages, and I like the same thing for a week and two weeks," Brad says. His current favorites? "I've been enjoying the Indian food lately," he says.
See Brad and Cate in action with scenes from the movie.