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Brad Pitt Details Struggle with Prosopagnosia, or 'Face Blindness': 'Nobody Believes Me'

·3-min read
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 19: Brad Pitt, winner Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role for 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,' poses in the press room during the 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 19, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. 721430 (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images for Turner)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 19: Brad Pitt, winner Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role for 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,' poses in the press room during the 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 19, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. 721430 (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images for Turner)

Gregg DeGuire/Getty for Turner

Brad Pitt is getting candid about his everyday struggle with social interactions.

The 58-year-old Oscar winner briefly opened up to GQ about the shame he feels dealing with what he believes to be prosopagnosia, a neurological disorder typically referred to as face blindness.

Pitt explained that, though he hasn't been officially diagnosed with prosopagnosia, he has extreme difficulty recognizing people's faces which he said has led others to think he's self-absorbed and making up the condition.

"Nobody believes me!" he told the outlet for his August cover story, adding that he'd like to meet and speak to another person with the condition.

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Brad Bitt GQ Cover
Brad Bitt GQ Cover

Elizaveta Porodina/GQ

The actor previously told Esquire that he's often dubbed as  "egotistical" and "conceited" for his inability to remember people. "That's why I stay at home," he admitted.

"So many people hate me because they think I'm disrespecting them," Pitt said at the time. "You get this thing, like, 'You're being egotistical. You're being conceited.' But it's a mystery to me, man. I can't grasp a face and yet I come from such a design/aesthetic point of view."

The Bullet Train star said he once tried to nicely ask people to remind him where they'd met, but "people were more offended."

"You meet so many damned people," he added. "And then you meet 'em again."

People with prosopagnosia, or face blindness, typically avoid social interactions and can develop social anxiety disorder.

There are two types of prosopagnosia, developmental and acquired, according to the U.K's National Health Service. Developmental refers to those who have the condition without brain injury, which can be genetic. Studies show 1 in 50 people may have developmental prosopagnosia.

Acquired refers to those who have the condition following brain injury like a stroke or head injury.

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Dr. Leah Croll, assistant professor of neurology at Temple University Hospital, recently told Good Morning America that prosopagnosia is "a very real syndrome" that can come with a wide spectrum of symptoms impacting everyday life.

"For some people, it may be just some minor difficulties in remembering people's names and keeping strangers straight," she told the outlet. "And for other people, it may be more severe such that they have issues with recognizing their own friends and family or even issues recognizing their own reflection."

"I think that Brad Pitt is experiencing something that many patients experience which is this funny feeling that something is off, but they're not quite sure what it is or where to go for help," Croll continued, emphasizing that she has not diagnosed Pitt herself. "So someone thinking that Brad Pitt story sounds familiar to them or that they're having similar symptoms, I would recommend they go see a neurologist and get formally tested and evaluated."

Though there is no treatment for prosopagnosia, therapy can help patients "develop compensatory strategies," per the NIH.

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