Back in the 90s, the paparazzi worked differently than they do today. That's how we got to see Brad Pitt nude, au natural, while he was on vacation with his then-girlfriend.
Before Brangelina, before Jennifer Aniston, Brad was engaged to Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow. They were the IT couple, but it seems that the 90s had way too many IT couples, if you ask us. But this was a proper scandal.
How big was this naked scandal? Let us put it this way: it inspired a hit song by Shania Twain, which has to count for something.
Brad Pitt's famous leading ladies
It's safe to say that Brad Pitt doesn't have a type. Well, perhaps he simply likes thin women, and that's about it.
His big-screen debut in the 1989 horror movie Cutting Class and his role in 1994's Legends of the Fall secured him a place among A-lister. But, just a year before, he was already in a relationship with an actress, Christina Applegate.
Christina, who started as a child star and became an icon in her own rights, broke it off, though there was no bad blood. She did admit that she ditched Brad for Sebastian Bach of Skid Row, and we cannot say we blame her. They were young, and Bach was a rock star. You get the picture.
Between 1990 and 1993, Pitt dated Juliette Lewis. The two made a movie Too Young to Die, and Brad continued his streak of dating Hollywood's leading ladies. Pitt was 27, and Lewis was 17, and many years later, he said it was "One of the greatest relationships [he's] ever been in."
The age gap wasn't bothering many back in the day.
Thandie Newton and Pitt met while filming the 1994 hit film Interview With the Vampire. This relationship lasted for a year.
And this brings us to Paltrow. Pitt and Gwyneth started dating in 1994 and lasted for three years. They were engaged, and it's clear that they still care about each other.
Pitt described his proposal to the Goop founder in 1996 as "one of the greatest moments." As some may recall, they made a movie, SE7EN, featuring Morgan Freeman.
You know the rest. Aniston, Angelina, two significant divorces that shook Hollywood. But, back in the 90s, it was all about seeing Brad Pitt nude.
That don't impress me much
The British paparazzi hit gold when they "spotted" the couple on St. Barts. Pitt was furious once the pictures became public. He stated:
"Some things have to remain sacred. I mean, come on. They're special moments. And they're private moments. And again, you know, common decency."
What made things even more awkward was that Pitt in the nude was hiding his penis, and some say he was reportedly reenacting the Buffalo Bill dance from Silence of the Lambs. Though the incident happened in May 1995, Playgirl reissued these photos in 1997.
Pitt sued them and stopped the distribution, yet many were able to get that copy of the magazine.
In the same year, we all started singing Shania Twain's "That don't impress me much." One line always stood out:
"Okay, so you're Brad Pitt/ That don't impress me much."
20 years later, the country star explained what her lyrics were about, and it had nothing to do with measuring Brad's package:
"I was writing this album, and there was a scandal of [Pitt] and Gwyneth [Paltrow] where there was naked photos of him. And this was like all the rage. I just thought, 'I don't know what all the fuss is about.'"
Twain clarified that the whole mess was out of control:
"We see people naked every day."
"That's really what I thought. I wasn't picking on Brad Pitt. But that was just the association in that moment and things we make fusses about and whatever. Of course, it could have been any gorgeous guy."
We somewhat agree. But the fact that it was Brad Pitt nude, in his prime, being playful with Hollywood's sweetheart took everyone's attention. That's a hard thing to forget, especially for youngsters in the 90s.
The fall of paparazzi culture
The paparazzi culture in the 90s became more significant than any star. They were flying, skydiving, pretending to be delivery workers, long-lost cousins, just to get one shot.
No one was better than the British paparazzi. It looked as if they were all MI6 agents.
They were sneaky, sleazy, yet we have to admire their skills and the hype.
Hollywood was relaxed. There were no smartphones and barely any internet. Stars thought they were safe, but the paparazzi knew everything about anyone.
The whole Pitt scandal ended with Playgirl in August 1997. On the last day of August, the same year, Lady Diana was killed in a car crash while the paparazzi were chasing her and her boyfriend Dodi Al-Fayed.
We saw many disturbing moments, but that was the breaking point. One could say that seeing Brad Pitt, nude was one of the last significant yet still somewhat funny paparazzi shots. Not that it's okay to spy on people, but there were no long-lasting damages to Paltrow or Pitt.
Needless to say, every girl wanted to be Gwyneth at that time, despite the awkward and grainy pictures.
We had to wait for a long time to get another male celebrity nude scandal. Prince Harry in Las Vegas was pure gold, and the British press had a lot of fun with it. Well, to be fair, so did the Prince.
Now, nudity isn't a big deal. Stars even release their photos if someone tried to blackmail them.
Instead of chasing them, celebrities and paparazzi often make deals. A star needs some exposure, her agent calls a guy, and that's how most of these candid shots are made.
The only time that we saw glimpses of this breach of privacy was the infamous hacking of phones in the early 2000s. But many regular people learned, since Lady Diana's death, that they don't need to know everything about celebrities.
Now, in 2021, we are truly no longer impressed or obsessed with celebrity nudes. Perhaps certain movements forced us to rethink the way we feel about artists.
But Brad Pitt's nude pictures certainly played a significant role in pop culture, and the actor has nothing to be ashamed of. Paltrow was naked as well, yet Pitt took the heat. And as he admitted, he had to tell her dad about it. Ouch!