Jared Leto, Rolling Stone

Theo Wenner/Rolling Stone

It's hard to get a read on Jared Leto—which, it turns out, is his intention.

The 44-year-old Suicide Squad star, whose famous exes include actresses Cameron Diaz and Scarlett Johansson, declines to reveal whether he's dating anyone new in Rolling Stone's Aug. 11 issue (on newsstands Friday). "Even if I was in a relationship or maybe if I was having kids, I don't know if I would share that information publicly," he says. Later, musing on his past loves, he asks, "You know what I've learned about women? I know absolutely nothing about women."

"The older I get, it's just people," Leto explains. "I just see people."

Leto adds that he hasn't decided whether he'll ever get married. "It's just how things are. I don't think there's a definitive decision that I've made." The prospect of parenthood is yet another uncertainty. For all Leto knows, he's already fathered a love child. "You never know. Someone could always come up to a show and give me a little surprise visit. 'Dad?' In a way, that would be kind of f--king beautiful," he says, a bit wistfully. "What an incredible surprise that would be!"

By his own admission, Leto's childhood was atypical. Unlike many of his peers, he wasn't into academics or athletics. "I was too busy taking drugs, which was kind of a sport," he jokes. Today, Leto says he's "essentially" straight-edge, meaning he doesn't do drugs or drink alcohol. "There's all kinds of ways to change your state of mind or to get out of yourself." He's not referring to psychedelics, though. "Only if I'm having an orgy at Burning Man will I take that."

(Leto is probably kidding; he did go to Burning Man last year, though.)

Talking about his upbringing seems to make Leto uneasy. "I lied about it so much, I don't know what the truth is," the 30 Seconds to Mars frontman says. "I remember River Phoenix saying in an interview that he tried to lie as much as possible, and I just took that approach ever since."

Suicide Squad

Warner Bros

As a kid, Leto figured he'd become an artist or a drug dealer. "They both had their own risk and reward. I didn't even know the word 'celebrity.' I didn't have posters of people that I loved on my wall. Like, I must have listened to Led Zeppelin II 16,412 times. I didn't even know what the f--k they looked like. I thought musicians and actors and these types of people were like magic," he remembers. "It was royalty or you were born into it, or it was some stroke of luck or genius."

During his teens, Leto did "lots" of drugs. "A lot of them were really fun. There are just those few that tend to kick you in the ass. I guess at some point, too, there's a decision: Is this going to be my life? I made a choice to pursue other dreams. I guess that's just the kind of f--ked thing about a lot of drugs: The opportunity cost is too high. Some drugs are incredible, but the risk versus reward is out of line," he tells Rolling Stone. "I just saw too many examples of what not to do."

Leto was arrested a few times, and hints at an incident "involving a gun and some cocaine." But he never got caught stealing. "I was always really fast. I guess there were some undercover cops at one store, and they came out running after us," he says. "My friend ran out of steam and kind of slowed down. They grabbed him and threw him to the ground, and I just kept running. There are few greater feelings in the world than running from the police and getting away."

After moving to New York City in the '90s, Leto found fame on My So-Called Life. In the decades that followed, he won an Oscar for his role in Dallas Buyers Club and toured the world with his band. And while he doesn't think about his future, but he does think about the afterlife. "It's exciting to imagine what the next step is, you know? I don't think there's a consciousness there. Not as we would think about a consciousness. There could be a reconnection to the universe," he says. "But this could all be some big game, as well. Who knows if this is even real as we perceive real to be."

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