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Actor/Oscar Nominee Brad Pitt is a long way from his early days being in the spotlight where he battled depression and drug use.

Pitt opened up about his past struggles with The Hollywood Reporter, saying he used drugs in attempt to escape the uncomfortable aspects of stardom.

“I got really sick of myself at the end of the 1990s: I was hiding out from the celebrity thing. I was smoking way too much dope. I was sitting on the couch and just turning into a doughnut – and I really got irritated with myself,” he told THR. “I got to, ‘What’s the point? I know better than this.'”

In addition to drug use, Pitt revealed he has suffered from depression.

“I used to deal with depression, but I don’t now, not this decade – maybe last decade. But that’s also figuring out who you are,” Pitt explained. “I see it as a great education, as one of the seasons or a semester. ‘This semester I was majoring in depression.’ I was doing the same thing every night and numbing myself to sleep – the same routine. Couldn’t wait to get home and hide out. But that feeling of unease was growing and one night I just said, ‘This is a waste.'”

During trips to Yugoslavia and Morocco in the late ’90s, the actor said he saw “poverty to an extreme I had never witnessed before.” It was the wakeup call he insists was needed to change his life.

“I just quit. I stopped grass then – I mean, pretty much – and decided to get off the couch,” he recalled.

Brad then looked to one of music’s biggest philanthropist for inspiration.

“I sought out [lead singer of rock band U2] Bono and sat down with him a few times and got involved in some of the stuff he was doing. But it all started before that. It started with private acts,” he explained, adding that his newfound passion to help others connected him with longtime partner Angelina Jolie.

“That may have been one of the things that brought us together,” Brad said of Angelina. “Certainly, I’ve met very few people more dedicated than she is. She is always studying issues, daily. She has such compassion for the people she works with.”

“This idea of perpetual happiness is crazy and overrated, because those dark moments fuel you for the next bright moments; each one helps you appreciate the other,” he said. “We are all searching for meaning in our lives, love and betterment for ourselves and those around us.”

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