The last few months can't have been easy for Brad Pitt; last week, his fiancée Angelina Jolie bravely revealed that she had undergone a preventative double mastectomy, enduring three long months of medical procedures. But despite the recent tough times, the actor says he is the happiest he has ever been.
"I have very few friends. I have a handful of close friends and I have my family and I haven't known life to be any happier," Brad told Esquire magazine in his first print interview since Angelina's surgery. "I'm making things. I just haven't known life to be any happier."
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Of course, Brad's children play a big part of that joy, and he spoke lovingly about Maddox, 11, Pax, nine, Zahara, eight, Shiloh, six and four-year-old twins Vivienne and Knox.
"I always thought that if I wanted to do a family, I wanted to do it big," he said. "I wanted there to be chaos in the house… there's constant chatter in our house, whether its giggling or screaming or crying or banging.
"I love it. I love it. I love it. I hate it when they're gone. I hate it. Maybe its nice to be in a hotel room for a day — 'Oh nice, I can finally read a paper.' But then, by the next day, I miss that cacophony, all that life."
The Hollywood star hailed his parter as "heroic" after she published a moving article in the New York Times revealing her mastectomy decision. Speaking to USA Today this week, he added, "I'm quite emotional about it, of course. She could have stayed absolutely private and I don't think anyone would have been any the wiser with such good results.
"But it was really important to her to share the story and that other would understand it doesn't have to be a scary thing. In fact it can be an empowering thing, and something that makes you and us stronger.
"We set up own own little post-op recovery that became pretty fun," he said. "You make an adventure out of it."
He was also full of admiration for her commitment to keeping her engagements — some of them abroad — all the while having treatment. As well as the Congo, Angelina visited London for the G8 Summit and New York to honour Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai.
"This was during Stage 2 (when the double mastectomy was performed)," Brad added. "Literally it was just weeks after she'd had truly major surgery."
In her article, titled My Medical Choice, Angelina praised the World War Z star for being by her side "for every minute" of her procedures.
"I am so fortunate to have a partner, Brad Pitt, who is so loving and supportive," she wrote. "So to anyone who has a wife or a girlfriend who is going through this, know that you are a very important part of that transition.
"Brad was at the Pink Lotus Breast Center where I was treated, for every minute of the surgeries. We managed to find moments to laugh together.
"We knew this was the right thing to do for our family and that it would bring us closer. And it has."