Brad to the Bone
He went from middle school "Reject" to A-list actor and Hollywood heartthrob. Here, to celebrate his birthday, are 20 cool facts about Brad Pitt.
He's From Humble Stock
William Bradley Pitt was born December 18, 1963, in Shawnee, Oklahoma. His dad ran a trucking company; his mom was a school counselor. The family moved to Springfield, Missouri, where Brad and his two siblings were raised.
His Family Was Religious
Although his parents raised their kids to be good, conservative Southern Baptists, Brad didn't take to it. In describing his religious beliefs, he says that he leans toward agnosticism or atheism.
He's (Distantly) Related to a President
In 2008, the New England Historic Genealogical Society released a report maintaining that Brad is related to Barack Obama. They're said to be distant cousins connected by a man named Edwin Hickman, who died in Virginia in 1769. Oddly, the same report pointed to a family link between Hillary Clinton and Brad's second wife, Angelina Jolie.
He Once Was a "Reject"
In middle school, Brad didn't have enough game to play on the basketball team. Instead, he became a member of a lesser team called the Cherokee Rejects. His father, Bill Pitt, coached the athletically challenged b-ball squad.
Melissa Etheridge Let Him Crash at Her Place
The singer-songwriter, whose career was just taking off, let Brad sleep on her couch when he arrived in L.A. back in the '80s. Years later, it was inaccurately rumored that Pitt had donated his sperm for his friend Etheridge and her partner's pregnancy. Etheridge recently came to Brad's defense amid his nasty breakup with Angelina Jolie.
He Danced Like a Chicken
Brad (seen here escorting Christina Applegate to the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards) did a lot of odd jobs before his acting career kicked in. He even wore a chicken outfit and danced in the street, drumming up business for one of L.A.'s El Pollo Loco restaurants.
A Stripper Helped Him Get Started
No, not the young woman seen here—this is a shot from one of Brad's early modeling assignments. Another of his early jobs involved chauffeuring strippers to bachelor parties around L.A. On one occasion he drove a woman to an acting class, which is where he met the acting coach Roy London. "I learned so much from that man," Pitt said of London. "I give him full credit for pointing me in this direction."
He Started in Television
In 1987, Brad appeared in two episodes of NBC's daytime soap "Another World," which led to a four-episode gig on CBS's primetime soap "Dallas" (pictured here), where he played Charlie Wade's boyfriend Randy.
He Even Did a TV Commercial
In 1989, a 26-year-old Brad appeared in TV commercials as the new face of Pringles potato chips. Hey, a guy's gotta make a living. (In 2005, he did a star turn in a Heineken commercial directed by David Fincher, who had directed him in "Seven" and "Fight Club.")
His Big Break Nearly Didn't Happen
The role that really launched Brad's career was that of a small-time hustler known only as "J.D." in the 1991 hit movie "Thelma & Louise." The small part was supposed to go to Billy Baldwin, but he backed out to take a larger role in Ron Howard's "Backdraft."
Robert Redford Gave Him His First Big Role
After seeing Brad in "Thelma & Louise," Redford cast him in his 1992 movie "A River Runs Through It." This was the young actor's first starring role and quickly led to more of them in movies like "Interview with the Vampire," with Tom Cruise; "Legends of the Fall," with Anthony Hopkins; and "Seven" with Morgan Freeman.
Playgirl Ran Nude Photos of Him
In 1997, the magazine somehow dug up naked pictures of Brad and his then girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow and turned them into a splashy pictorial feature. Brad immediately filed a restraining order, forcing Playgirl to pull the issues from newsstand and cease any distribution of the photos.
A Fan Broke Into His House
In 1999, a 19-year-old female fan entered Brad's home, dressed in his clothes and fell asleep in his bed. The next morning she was discovered by a housekeeper, who alerted the police. The girl was arrested. In court, Brad was granted an injunction barring her from coming near him for three years.
And Then Came Jen
After dating the likes of Robin Givens and Juliette Lewis as well as Gwyneth Paltrow, Brad and "Friends" star Jennifer Aniston met in 1998 when their agents hooked them up for a date. The couple married in 2000, but divorced five years later. They remain close friends.
He Owns a Gun
Brad was given his grandfather's shotgun when he was six and has been a proud gun owner ever since. "It's very strange, but I feel better having a gun," he once told an interviewer. "I don't feel safe, I don't feel the house is completely safe, if I don't have one hidden somewhere. That's my thinking, right or wrong."
He's an Unashamed Dropout
In 2004, Brad screened a documentary at the University of Missouri, where he had studied journalism before dropping out in 1986—with only two weeks left before graduation!
He's a Pilot
When he met Angelina Jolie, she already had her pilot's license, and this inspired Brad to take up flying himself. He's got a soft spot for World War II-era aircraft and, in 2013, plunked down a cool $3.3 million on a vintage Supermarine Spitfire.
He Dabbled in the Wine Business
Not only did Brad marry Angelina Jolie in France, but they also bought a sprawling estate in Provence called Chateau Miraval. In 2012, they released a well-regarded rosé wine, though their later white wines didn't fare so well. The estate was put up for sale shortly after the couple formerly known as Brangelina announced they were getting divorced.
He Had His Own Line of Furniture
In 2012, Brad collaborated with the Frank Pollaro design firm to launch a high-end furniture collection. The actor's interest in design and architecture goes back a ways. He's a big fan of Frank Lloyd Wright and once even took time off from acting to study with the renowned architect Frank Gehry.
He Has a Philosophy
"By nature, I keep moving, man. My theory is, be the shark. You've just got to keep moving. You can't stop."
Comedy classics from the '70s
Sometimes flattery will get you everywhere
Thunder only happens when it's raining—and this band went through a downpour
Fresh perspectives on aging in films that are genuinely moving or funny—and often both
Hit singles of the '70s and early '80s that had only one mission—to make you get up and dance
The Backwoods Barbie who became a country-pop icon