In an hour-long ABC "Primetime Live" special set to air Tuesday night (10 p.m. ET), Pitt talks to Diane Sawyer about the humanitarian crisis in Africa.
"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," he tells Sawyer.
"We have the potential to end poverty (in Africa) in our time. ... Man — I mean, what is more exciting than that? The potential's there. We gotta go for it."
Pitt separated from Jennifer Aniston in January after 4 1/2 years of marriage. Aniston, 36, filed for divorce in March, citing irreconcilable differences.
He calls tabloid speculation that his "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" co-star Angelina Jolie played a role in the breakup of his marriage "a good story."
Says Sawyer: "But that's painful too.
"Yeah, but, well, listen, let me speak from my experience," he says. "You know I've been in these tabloids for 14 years now. And at some point you just become a Zen master of it all."
He calls the media focus on his personal life "misguided," and denies that he wanted children and Aniston didn't.
"Ridiculous ... completely fabricated," the 41-year-old actor says. "You know, you find that these stories ... will turn one of us into the good guy and one of us into the bad guy. ... Most of these stories, you get probably 2 percent real fruit juice and the rest is just garbage with no nutritional value."
Photos of Pitt, Jolie — who turned 30 on Saturday — and her 4-year-old son, Maddox, walking together on a beach in Africa were published in April. Did he know there would be cameras there?
"You know, obviously not," he says. "I mean, 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 . ... I can't help but think what that money could have gone to. ... I would have set up the damn pictures myself."
However, Pitt says he dreams of having a family someday.
"Just feels like a natural progression," he tells Sawyer. "And, you know, anything to get the focus off myself. It's gotta be a healthy thing."