If you’ve ever watched movies, stood in line at the grocery store next to the magazine shelf, or tuned into the E! network for more than 10 minutes—you already know who Brad Pitt is.
Depending on your age, you’ve also known him as half of Brad & Gwyneth, Brad & Jen, or Brangelina.
As the heart-throb hitchhiker from Thelma & Louise in the early 90s, Tyler Durden from the smash hit Fight Club in 1999, or Rusty Ryan from the Ocean’s franchise, Brad Pitt has been one of the most famous faces in Hollywood for decades.
Is there anything we don’t know about the A-list actor? We’re digging into 8 fascinating facts about the star, to find details you might not have heard yet.
Brad Pitt: 8 Facts about Hollywood’s Leading Man
1. He was banned from entering China.
In 1997, Brad Pitt starred in a movie called Seven Years in Tibet. The hit movie portrayed the harsh rule of the Chinese over the Himalayan region, and was told from the perspective of an Austrian explorer who met the young Dalai Lama.
The Chinese government weren’t happy about the movie’s message, and its depiction of China’s controversial takeover. It was also unhappy that the Dalai Lama was portrayed in such a positive light.
China banned Brad, director Jean-Jacques Annaud, and actor David Thewlis from ever setting foot on the mainland, an interesting fact about Brad Pitt.
In 2014, Brad was able to accompany then-wife Angelina Jolie as she promoted Maleficent, provided he keep a low profile. In 2016, he was permitted to promote his own movie—Allied—in China, but the public were not allowed to ask him questions in a live Q&A session.
Pitt is not alone—Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, and Martin Scorsese have all been banned from entering China at some point in their careers.
2. He had his teeth chipped for a movie role.
In 1999, Pitt starred as Tyler Durden in the cult classic Fight Club. He went to daunting lengths to get into character, even going to the dentist to get his teeth chipped. He wanted the character to seem authentic.
He also studied boxing, grappling, and taekwondo for his role, so that he’d be able to do his own stunts in the film.
When filming was over, he got his teeth fixed.
3. He shows a huge commitment to every role.
In the movie Troy, in which Brad portrayed Greek legend Achilles, he and co-star Eric Bana didn’t use stunt doubles for their battle. They made an agreement to pay each other every time they accidentally hit the other person—$50 for a minor hit and $100 for an injury. Pitt ended up owing Bana $750, an interesting fact about Brad Pitt.
He also trained for six months to get the Greek demi-god’s physique, and tore his Achilles tendon during filming.
During filming, Pitt also had to give up smoking.
4. He supports equal rights.
Brad donated $100,000 to support the fight against Proposition 8—the California initiative to overturn the Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage. In an interview, Pitt said, “no one has the right to deny another their life, even though they disagree with it. Discrimination has no place in America.”
Along with his wife, he also donated $2 million to help fight tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia.
5. He has been married to two of the world’s biggest stars.
In 1998, at the height of Friends fame, Jennifer Aniston’s agent set her up on a blind date with Brad Pitt. Obviously the date went well, and at the 1999 Emmy Awards, the two made their public debut.
In July 2000, they got married in an extravagant Malibu wedding—outdoors, with paparazzi helicopters overhead and media outlets offering upwards of $1 million for photos of the bride and groom.
As newlyweds, Brad took up a guest spot on Friends, and the two were considered to be the original Hollywood Power Couple.
Then the actor fell in love with Angelina Jolie on the set of his movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
Despite him being married at the time, Jolie has spoken publicly about how she realized at the time that things could mean more than she originally thought, and that the two became “kind of a pair” during filming.
Brad and Jennifer divorced in 2005, by which time Brad and Angelina had publically started a relationship. The new couple were interviewed for W magazine in March of that year, the same month Jennifer filed for divorce. Three months later, they went public to announce they were expecting their first child together.
The couple went on to have 3 biological children together, and Pitt adopted 3 children with the actress. They married in 2014 despite saying they would wait until everyone (referring to same-sex couples) could marry. The marriage only lasted 2 years.
6. He had a stalker.
In the late 90s, a 19 year old stalker broke into Pitt’s home, dressed in his clothes, and fell asleep in his bed—alone. Shocked housekeeping staff discovered her in the morning, still asleep, and she was arrested. Pitt was on-location at the time, but secured a court order for the stalker to stay more than 100 yards away from him for 3 years, an interesting fact about Brad Pitt.
7. He told Oprah his favorite foods.
In 1998, Pitt told the TV talk show mega-star that he liked Twizzlers, pizza, and his favorite cereal was Frosted Flakes. In another interview he revealed that one of his favorite movies growing up was Saturday Night Fever.
8. He started a foundation to help New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Brad Pitt started the Make It Right Foundation in 2007, with a goal of constructing new ‘green’ homes. He partnered with respected architects Frank Gehry and David Adjaye to outfit the homes with solar power, energy-saving appliances, and non-toxic paint. Construction costs per home were $150,000, and over 100 homes were built.
Pitt has since resigned from the foundation’s board. The foundation faces issues from residents for issues with rotting materials and mould, said to have stemmed from using materials that can’t withstand the high rain and humidity of New Orleans.
Brad Pitt has had an enviable Hollywood career spanning 3 decades, and continues to exercise his creativity in films—as an actor and producer. He’s also taken the time to get his pilot’s licence, build homes for displaced New Orleans residents, attract a stalker, raise 6 children, and marry (and divorce) two of the most famous women of this generation.
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