Every once in a while, he’ll pop up in an unexpected place. Looking impossibly young on a race track in Hungary. Driving through the French countryside in a lush commercial for De’Longhi’s new coffee machine. Standing under a tree in his vineyard, Château Miraval. And in late September, boarding a private jet in South Tyrol, Italy. The one place Brad Pitt hasn’t been seen lately is Hollywood. “He shut down production on his Formula 1 movie, Apex, because of the strike in late July,” says a source. “And since then, he’s basically disappeared from the public eye. He’s been chilling with his girlfriend [Ines de Ramon], traveling and focusing on other projects.”

And it turns out, he’s in no rush to get back. “Brad is telling friends that stepping away from the spotlight is the best thing he’s ever done,” the source says of the 59-year-old Oscar winner, who admitted last year that he believes his career is on its “last leg.” The much-needed pause comes after seven long years of bitterly battling his ex Angelina Jolie, 48, over custody of their kids,
undergoing a personal reckoning over his addiction issues — and finding love again. “It’s sometimes been painful, but Brad has grown so much. He’s turned a corner in what he wants and is living a whole new life. He’s finally putting his wellbeing and his family first.”

As part of his custody agreement, Brad regularly sees Shiloh, 17, and Vivienne and Knox, 15. “He’s on good terms with them,” says the source, adding that Brad also speaks with Pax, 19, and Zahara, 18. “He lost a lot of precious time with them during the custody battle, and he’s determined not to miss any more.”

Unfortunately, Brad’s efforts to reunite with his 22-year-old son, Maddox — who reportedly was at the center of Brad and Angelina’s marriage-ending fight on a private jet in 2016 — haven’t worked. While Brad has denied Angelina’s abuse allegations, “he acknowledged his drinking was a problem, and he’s truly sorry for his part in the split,” says the source. “He loves Maddox dearly, and even though they’re still estranged, Brad will always hold out hope for reconciliation.” (A rep for Brad had no comment when asked about the father-son relationship.)

Brad feels the best way to repair the rift is to make peace with his ex, says the source. “It’s going to be difficult, and he never thought it would happen after all they’ve put each other through, but Brad has done enough therapy and introspection to understand that the right thing to do would be to put the past behind them.” Angelina has also talked about how she’s finding her footing again, and “has indicated she’s willing to settle their disputes,” says the source. “Brad’s goal is to have his kids see him and Angie get along as a family.”

And maybe even to eventually introduce them to his new love. Brad has been dating jewelry executive Ines, 32, for more than a year, “and he’s truly in love,” says the source, adding that “the pair spend all their time together,” either at Château Miraval in France or at the $40 million “castle” he bought in 2022 in Carmel, California. The latter, Brad says, “is a place I have been in love with since the ’90s.” Ines is living with him there now, “and he really wants his kids to meet her soon,” adds the source. “He says it’s the easiest relationship he’s ever been in, and he’s committed.”

Brad Pitt’s Decision to Step Out of the Spotlight Is ‘The Best Thing He’s Ever Done’

That may be because he’s finally at ease with himself. In Hollywood, Brad mused last year, “there’s a lot of talk about ‘being your authentic self.’ It would plague me — what does ‘authentic’ mean? [For me], it was getting to a place of acknowledging those deep scars we carry.”

Ines has been there not only to help him heal, “but to encourage him to figure out his next chapter,” says the source. “She’s inspired him to pursue his other passions.” He’s worked on his art in his studio, released a new champagne and even gotten his skincare line, Le Domaine, the Goop seal of approval from his ex Gwyneth Paltrow. “Brad is doing really amazing things outside of his acting and producing work.”

Of course, at the end of the day, he isn’t giving up on show business. He has to finish Apex, which he’s also producing, along with Wolves, his long-awaited on-screen reunion with his Ocean’s 11 co-star George Clooney. After that, “Who knows? He may just disappear again,” muses the source. “Brad is turning 60 in December, and he’s come to realize that he doesn’t miss the Hollywood grind. He feels so much healthier and happier outside the spotlight.”

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