Fake News: Former Atheist Brad Pitt Does NOT Become A Christian As He Recovers From Alcoholism

Fact Check

  • by: Alan Duke
Fake News: Former Atheist Brad Pitt Does NOT Become A Christian As He Recovers From Alcoholism
Did "former atheist" Brad Pitt "become a Christian" while recovering from alcoholism? No, that's not true: Pitt, who grew up as a Christian, told a GQ magazine interviewer in 2019 that he "called myself an atheist for a while" during a "rebellious" time of his life, but he returned to "spirituality." The actor never told the interviewer that he has "become a Christian" while dealing with alcoholism. He also never mentioned "finding God."

The misleading claim originated in an article (archived here) published by UpliftingToday.com in September 2019 under the title "Former Atheist Brad Pitt Becomes A Christian As He Recovers From Alcoholism". It opened:

Brad Pitt is known for being one of the biggest Hollywood stars alive today, and for many years, he was also an atheist. However, recent struggles of his that include addiction and a painful divorce from Angelina Jolie have led to him finding God.

For years, Pitt pushed all questions of faith aside in favor of life's many worldly distractions. It was only during his divorce from Jolie that he started to change and value the real blessings of life, including his children.

"I gotta be more -- I gotta be more for them," Brad said amidst his divorce. "I have to show them. And I haven't been great at it."

Pitt remembers sleeping on a friend's floor for weeks following his divorce because he was simply "too sad" to stay in the family's home all alone. These kinds of struggles are what softened his heart and allowed him to find God.

This is what social media users saw:

The midleading story is based on two GQ interviews with Pitt, one from May 2017 and the second published in October 2019.

In GQ's 2017 cover story titled "Brad Pitt Talks Divorce, Quitting Drinking, and Becoming a Better Man," Pitt describe his religious upbringing in a strict Christian home, including the charismatic Christian practice of "speaking in tongues" during church services.

I grew up in caves. We had a lot of caves, fantastic caverns. And we grew up First Baptist, which is the cleaner, stricter, by-the-book Christianity. Then, when I was in high school, my folks jumped to a more charismatic movement, which got into speaking in tongues and raising your hands and some goofy-ass shit.

In 2019 cover story titled "Brad Pitt Is Still Searching," Pitt is quoted talking about his spiritual journey from a Baptist, charismatic Christian, agnostic, athiest, and then to spirituality:

"Oh, man, I've gone through everything. Like, I cling to religion. I grew up with Christianity. Always questioned it, but it worked at times. And then when I got on my own, I completely left it and I called myself agnostic. Tried a few spiritual things but didn't feel right. Then I called myself an atheist for a while, just kind of being rebellious. I wasn't really. But I kinda labeled myself that for a while. It felt punk rock enough. And then I found myself coming back around to just belief in--I hate to use the word spirituality, but just a belief in that we're all connected."

Pitt does not say anywhere in either GQ interview that he has returned to Christianity or found God in the wake of his failed marriage. He speaks of returning to spirituality, but does indicate it was related to the divorce.

The UpliftingToday.com article adds context and details to Pitt's story to make it appear that his divorce from Angelina Jolie was the trigger for this, but that is never said by Pitt.

NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes upliftingtoday.com as:

A website that publishes lifestyle, entertainment, and news designed for social media through the use of emotional headlines. The site does not disclose its leaders, content creators, or how it gathers information.

According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.

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  Alan Duke

Editor-in-Chief Alan Duke co-founded Lead Stories after ending a 26-year career with CNN, where he mainly covered entertainment, current affairs and politics. Duke closely covered domestic terrorism cases for CNN, including the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, the UNABOMBER and search for Southeast bomber Eric Robert Rudolph. CNN moved Duke to Los Angeles in 2009 to cover the entertainment beat. Duke also co-hosted a daily podcast with former HLN host Nancy Grace, "Crime Stories with Nancy Grace" and hosted the podcast series "Stan Lee's World: His Real Life Battle with Heroes & Villains." You'll also see Duke in many news documentaries, including on the Reelz channel, CNN and HLN.

Read more about or contact Alan Duke

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