A New Man

Brad Pitt Has His Stride Back Post Divorce From Angelina Jolie

Insiders say ‘everyone is in a much better place.’

When Brad Pitt made a surprise appearance on June 8 at the New York City premiere of Okja, a new film produced by his Plan B entertainment company, he seemed like a new man. Looking happy and healthy, Brad smiled and waved to fans from the red carpet, then mingled at the afterparty, where he shared lots of hugs with cast and crew. “He was in a great mood,” a source says. “It’s as if a huge burden has been lifted from him.”

And it has. Brad’s world was shattered in the wake of his shocking split from Angelina Jolie — he was denied visitation with their children, hit with allegations of child abuse, and was no doubt ruing the reportedly violent altercation with their eldest son, Maddox, 15, on that infamous plane flight last September, which prompted Angie to file for divorce. But now, a resilient Brad, 53, has picked up the pieces and has put his life — and his family — back together. “He’s had time to own up to the mistakes he made, especially the drinking, that led to everything falling apart, and that’s brought him and the kids much closer together,” the insider says. “He’s told them that he missed them desperately, every minute they were apart. Now, everyone is in a much better place.”

coming clean
Intensive group therapy sessions with his brood — which also includes Pax, 13, Zahara, 12, Shiloh, 11, and twinsKnox and Vivienne, 8 — have played a big role in the healing process. “The kids don’t love therapy, but they know that Brad has to do it,” says the insider. “He’s made some tearful confessions, which have allowed them to get a better sense of his issues and come to terms with what went wrong in their parents’ marriage. Brad has firmly but gently explained that no matter how much he loves their mother, they are not getting back together. He doesn’t want them to have any false hopes.”

Maddox, however, is the lone holdout who refuses to talk to his dad. “He’s still traumatized by the fight on the plane,” the insider says. “Maddox is fiercely loyal to Angie and sees himself as her protector. But all of the other kids are delighted to have Brad back in their lives full-bore, especially Shiloh. She loves that he’s into sculpting now and has even asked to go to his art studio with him!”

Since he was granted unsupervised visits with the children in February, Brad’s taken every opportunity to spend quality time together. “They’ve gone to the zoo, had movie nights at home, and he even cooks for them,” the insider says. “Brad’s much more attentive these days — and more fun to be around.” And now that Angie, 42, and the kids have moved into a mansion just two miles from Brad’s place, it’s easier for them to make the trip. “It’s a sign of her commitment to coparenting, even as she and Brad are still hashing out their custody agreement. But she won’t allow sleepovers. She doesn’t think Brad is quite ready yet.”

And he’s OK with that. “Brad has been faithfully attending AA meetings and is totally committed to getting healthy for the children’s sake,” adds the insider. “He’s already come such a long way, and he’s getting better day by day.”

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