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Brad Pitt: Gwyneth Paltrow’s Dad Bruce Taught Me to Be “Humble”

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Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow dated in the mid 1990s and were even engaged at one point. Kevin Mazur Archive/

One of the most memorable bits of advice Brad Pitt ever received came from none other than ex Gwyneth Paltrow's late father, director Bruce Paltrow. Though Gwyneth and Pitt broke up more than 15 years ago, back in 1997, the Moneyball actor tells the June/July issue of Esquire that Bruce's words still ring true even now.

The Hollywood icon, for instance, makes it a point never to call himself an "actor," preferring to use the term "self-employed" instead to describe his line of work.

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"I learned that from Bruce Paltrow," he told the magazine. "I always liked it. It's a humble way to describe what we do." And, the 49-year-old actor added, if a stranger were to ask him what he does, he'd say, "Well, I'd be very Midwest about it, very Missouri. I'd say, 'This and that.' I'd say, 'I'm a dad, just like you.'"

Pitt and the Goop founder dated for two-and-a-half years back in the mid 1990s, and were even engaged at one point, but she ultimately called off the engagement and the pair went their separate ways.

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"My kind of internal stuff really tripped up that whole relationship," she told Diane Sawyer in a Primetime Thursday interview back in 2003. "And I felt really responsible, and also like I was the architect of my own misery …I just made a big mess out of it."

Pitt would later go on to marry Friends star Jennifer Aniston in 2000, and Paltrow, 40, married Coldplay rocker Chris Martin in 2003. 

Another factor influencing Pitt to stay grounded in the face of so much Hollywood fanfare is his family with longtime partner Angelina Jolie.

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"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." Pitt and Jolie, 37, have six kids together. 

The reality of having to raise six children close in age, however, hasn't been lost on Pitt. His much-criticized Chanel No.5 ad, which seemed to be "the last word in privileged existential exhibition," according to Esquire, was in fact a business move on Pitt's part, he revealed.

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"It's the right moment and it's a classic brand and I have six kids to put through college," he told his manager Cynthia Pett of tackling the campaign, Esquire reports. Pitt was believed to have raked in $7 million for the commercials.

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