LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Brad Pitt is seeking again to distance himself from apparently negative remarks about his marriage to Hollywood sweetheart Jennifer Aniston, calling his ex-wife a "dear friend" and a "valuable person."
Pitt is out in public promoting his new baseball movie "Moneyball". But he spent much of a TV interview on morning talk show "Today" trying to explain an earlier remark that suggested he found his five-year marriage to Aniston boring, and that he is now a "satisfied man" in his relationship with Angelina Jolie.
"All I know is that my point was, the best thing I'd done as a father is be sure that my kids have a good mother," Pitt told Matt Lauer in an interview to be broadcast on "Today" on Thursday.
"That's all I was, or am, trying to say. It has no reference to the past. And I think it's a shame that I can't say something nice about Angie without Jen being drug in. You know, she doesn't deserve it," Pitt said.
Pitt issued a swift statement last week saying his remarks to Parade magazine about not living an "interesting life" with Aniston had been misinterpreted. But his remarks have served only to fuel a long-standing celebrity media obsession over perceived rivalries between Aniston and Jolie.
Us Weekly magazine claimed on Wednesday that Aniston's publicists "went ballistic" over Pitt's remarks last week and that "Brad was read the riot act."
Pitt, who is raising six children with Jolie, said he tried to distance himself from constant speculation about when he would marry Jolie, or when they would split up.
"I know things get misconstrued, and I know there's a good cycle and a good story to say we're splitting up. And then when we don't, they say we've come together again, it's another new cycle, and then there's a secret wedding. 'No, that was put on hold because they're upset.' ... I live outside of that, and it's much healthier."
Pitt told Lauer that Aniston, whom he divorced in 2005, had not called her himself about the Parade interview. "She's also a seasoned veteran and she knows. You know, and she's a valuable person. We spent seven years together. Come on.
"I don't want them to say anything bad like that about Jen. She's a dear friend of mine," Pitt said.
(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)