It had been three long months since Brad Pitt stepped out into the spotlight at the Golden Globe Awards, so when he made a rare public appearance on April 5 for the Hollywood premiere of the film The Lost City of Z (which his company Plan B produced), about a British explorer who vanishes while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon in the 1920s, fans were shocked to see that Brad seemed to be vanishing himself!
More than half a year after he was blind- sided by his wife Angelina Jolie’s divorce filing last September, Brad’s physical transformation was painfully apparent. “He looked like he was wasting away,” says one eyewitness.
“His trousers and jacket were baggy and loose, and he seemed shrunken inside them. His pants were practically falling off of him, and you could see his bony shoulders poking through.”
Even more dismaying: Just one week earlier, Brad had been photographed on his way to an L.A. studio looking frighten– ingly gaunt, hollow-cheeked and frail. The reason for his disturbing deterioration? Sources say his friends fear that his bitter, ongoing divorce is taking a serious toll on both his physical and mental health.
“It’s been incredibly wearying and destructive for him,” claims an insider. “First there was the abuse allegations, then the fights over visitation with the children and now a custody war with seemingly no end in sight. It’s not at all surprising that he could be collapsing under the strain. I believe Brad is in a very bad place right now — and even more scary, it seems as if he’s refusing to reach out for help.”
Sources claim that Brad, 53, is down to a mere 147 pounds — a drastic drop from his prime, when he once carried 185 pounds on his muscled, 5-foot-11 frame. Now his condition has led some friends to worry that he may even have developed an eating disorder due to the stress.
“Brad started to lose weight right after the split, which was perfectly understandable, but in my opinion, he has only gotten worse as time goes by,” claims the insider.
“This divorce seems to be killing him. Brad feels terrible, and it seems like he’s finding it hard even to eat normally. Everyone’s worried that subconsciously he’s trying to punish himself for failing at his marriage.”
Indeed, New York–based therapist Dr. Gilda Carle (who has not treated Brad) tells Star, “A very public divorce like this one can be so devastating that people stop eating, which could be what Brad’s experiencing right now. Everything in his world has been upended, and he’s dealing with a lot of loss. Developing an eating disorder would not be unusual, because losing the weight is a symbol for losing his family.” Adds Dr. Jenn Mann, an L.A.-based psychotherapist (who also hasn’t treated Brad): “I’m sure he’s struggling with some feelings of depression and anxiety, which often make people either overeat or not eat at all — it’s actually called ‘divorce weight.’”
Making matters worse, “Brad’s not sleeping,” claims the insider. “He’s not getting the rest he needs to stay strong and focused in order to deal with the divorce and his day-to-day business. He paces around and talks on the phone constantly — to his lawyers, his agent and people at his production company. It’s taking a toll on him; he’s not getting enough shut-eye, and it shows.”
Such hyperactive behavior, adds Dr. Mann, can be a way to try to avoid painful feelings — and the insider agrees those could be exactly what Brad is trying to cope with.
“I think being separated from the children and not being able to visit them as often as he’d like is the single hardest thing for Brad. He hasn’t even been seen with the kids since the split— and that was seven months ago! I would imagine that he must feel like they’ve just been torn away.”
Brad’s physical decline is so alarming, sources say, that even his estranged ex Angie has taken notice and is urging him to seek help.
“She can’t be blind to the anguish Brad is going through, and I heard that she’s so concerned she even agreed to back down on her custody fight and try to work things out more amicably behind closed doors,” claims a source.
Adds the insider: “They had a few brief conversations, and at first it was just about the kids, but then she recently start- ed asking Brad about his health. I believe Angie fears he’s caught in a dangerous downward spiral, and she wants to do everything she can to get him to recognize that and start taking better care of himself.
“As hurtful as her divorce filing and accusations against Brad have been, when all is said and done, Angie is the mother of their six kids and was his lover for 12 years. No matter what has gone on between them, Angie still cares deeply for Brad and she’s as concerned for his well-being as everyone else.”