The rumor that Angelina Jolie had a part in the breakup of what seemed to be one of the more successful marriages in Hollywood history is "a good story," Brad Pitt tells Diane Sawyer in his first television interview this year.
After announcing the end of his four-year marriage to "Friends" star Jennifer Aniston in January, the 41-year-old "sexiest man alive" was photographed walking along a beach in Kenya this spring with Jolie and her son.
Jolie, who co-stars with Pitt in the upcoming summer action flick "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," has been dubbed the "sexiest woman alive."
When asked about Jolie's reputation as a "homewrecker," Pitt said: "It's a good story."
The actor acknowledged the speculation surrounding his breakup with Aniston was difficult, but added, "I've been in these tabloids for 14 years now. And at some point you just become a zen master of it all."
He also said reports that he and Aniston ended their marriage because he wanted children and she did not were "Ridiculous. Bulls- - - ... completely fabricated."
"You know, you find that these stories ... will turn one of us into the good guy and one of us into the bad guy. If you look at it closely or even not that closely ... it's ridiculous."
"Most of these stories, you get probably 2 percent real fruit juice and the rest is just garbage with no nutritional value."
Pitt said he stays in touch with Aniston. "It's difficult now as we determine what the next juncture is. But yeah, always, I predict."
Call to Action
Pitt recently toured Africa, where he witnessed firsthand the devastating impact of AIDS and poverty on the continent.
"Listen, we who were born in America have to understand, we hit the lottery by growing up here, by being born here," he said.
He said the costs involved in making a real impact in the impoverished regions of Africa are minimal.
"A girl's education is $16 -- the price of a CD ... we're not talking about going to the people -- everyone forking out of their pocket," he said. "We're talking about arousing our government to say ... we have the potential to end poverty in our time ... What is more exciting than that?"
Suffering and Sparkles
Pitt said he was frustrated by the fact that his personal life has been the subject of a media frenzy while the humanitarian crisis in Africa has received relatively little attention.
"I can't get out of the press. These people can't get in the press. So let's redirect the attention a little bit," says Pitt. "It drives me mental seeing what I've seen and knowing that it doesn't show up in our news every day. I mean literally, thousands of people died today!"
While he was in Africa, an ABC News search found 896 articles about Pitt. His Google count is now up to 2.7 million entries.
"It's a strange focus, isn't it?" he asked. "That my relationships or relationship mishaps takes precedent over something like that [the situation in Africa] ... I understand it's about entertainment, but man, it's misguided a bit, isn't it?"
He marveled at the prices that celebrity publications paid for pictures of him with Jolie and her son in Africa -- estimated at $500,000 to $750,000.
"It's an amazing fact, the bounty that's on my head and the lengths that these people go to get these shots and the amount of money that they're paying for these shots," he said. "I can't help but think what that money could have gone to. Hell, I would have set up the damn pictures myself."
When asked why people should listen to him, or other celebrities, just because they're famous, he said: "I don't know that we should ... I don't believe people should listen to me. I'm hoping the images ... will speak for themselves."
Looking to the Future
Despite the turmoil of the past year, Pitt insists it has been a good one for him.
"New chapter," he said "Truly a really interesting time -- it's a shake-up year ... a blossoming year ... a year of re-direction and I find it very, very interesting."
He added: "Listen, everything, you know, has a cost. Every decision that's made and every choice in life ... I make my choices and I live with those. I like that. I like that. My mistakes are my mistakes. My wins are my wins ... that I can live with."
He also said he maintains his dream to have children. "The dreams don't change, the dreams become more vivid," he said.
Images of Pitt interacting with children in Africa raise the question: would he ever consider adopting?
"I don't know. I'm certainly open to it," he said. "I think it's a beautiful idea ... especially meeting these kids firsthand, but at this point, I don't know."
When asked about family and his future, Pitt said, it "just feels like a natural progression," he said. "And, you know, anything to get the focus off myself. It's gotta be a healthy thing."
Pitt is working with The ONE Campaign, a new effort to rally Americans to fight the emergency of global AIDS and extreme poverty.