Brad Pitt has admitted heavy drinking helped ruin his marriage and revealed he is teetotal and in therapy in his first interview since his shock split from Angelina Jolie.
Jolie, 41, filed for divorce in September, citing irreconcilable differences. She accused Pitt of hitting their teenage son on a flight from France to Los Angeles, sparking tabloid gossip and an FBI probe.
The 53-year-old was cleared by the FBI and social workers and wants joint legal and physical custody of Maddox, 15, Pax, 13, Zahara, 12, Shiloh, 10, and twins Vivienne and Knox, eight, while Jolie is demanding sole guardianship.
"I mean I stopped everything except boozing when I started my family. But even this last year, you know -- things I wasn't dealing with: I was boozing too much," Pitt told GQ Style magazine.
"It's just become a problem. And I'm really happy it's been half a year now, which is bittersweet, but I've got my feelings in my fingertips again."
Pitt, who has three Oscar nominations for acting and one win for producing "12 Years a Slave," says he was able to swap alcohol for cranberry juice and fizzy water after deciding he didn't "want to live that way anymore."
- 'No one wins' -
"Truthfully, I could drink a Russian under the table with his own vodka. I was a professional. I was good," he told the magazine's summer edition.
Pitt, who has a new movie, "War Machine," on Netflix later this month, said the past six months had been about "looking at my weaknesses and failures and owning my side of the street."
He and Jolie -- known in the gossip columns as "Brangelina" -- got married in France in August two years ago, but had been a couple since 2004.
He voiced fears over the toll the public custody battle might be taking on his children and said he and Jolie were trying to keep proceedings out of the courts.
"I heard one lawyer say, 'No one wins in court -- it's just a matter of who gets hurt worse.' And it seems to be true, you spend a year just focused on building a case to prove your point and why you're right and why they're wrong, and it's just an investment in vitriolic hatred," he said.
"I just refuse. And fortunately my partner in this agrees. It's just very, very jarring for the kids, to suddenly have their family ripped apart."
Pitt also said he's learning to face his feelings despite his upbringing, where he was taught to "just deal with it."
He no longer defines himself as an actor, he said, as it takes up so little of his time and focus.
"Film feels like a cheap pass for me, as a way to get at those hard feelings. It doesn't work anymore, especially being a dad," he said.