by Natalie Finn | Wed., Mar. 21, 2018 6:00 AM
Today the couple are celebrating daughter Lea de Seine Shayk Cooper's first birthday, and the spotlight-averse family will likely be marking the occasion as far away from prying eyes as possible. A year in and they've shared no photos of their little girl, Shayk's Instagram account has remained boyfriend-and-baby-free and Cooper has been almost entirely MIA since the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 last May (and even then you only heard him on the big screen as Rocket Raccoon).
"I just don't talk about certain things," the actor said on The Howard Stern Show a couple years ago when Stern was grilling him about why he took his mom to premieres instead of his girlfriend, and otherwise was refusing to talk about the ins and outs of his relationship.
Stern has seemingly never been able to understand why famous guys like Cooper and Leonardo DiCaprio have never been into parading the women in their lives around on the red carpet.
"You're right, it's so great to take someone you're with to a place where a hundred people are going to photograph you every step you make and ask you tons of questions, and then rip it apart the next day. No, no, no, no, no," Cooper said.
When Stern protested that he loves walking with his wife on the red carpet, Cooper added, "If I was married it's a different thing." (He and Shayk ultimately made their red carpet debut as a couple at the L'Oreal Red Obsession Party in March 2016 after about a year of dating.)
Meanwhile, he's as good as married these days, but he's been busy with his baby—and something he might have called his baby if he hadn't had an actual baby at home.
The first-time dad has done exactly one TV interview since becoming a father, figuring the family- and privacy-friendly confines of Ellen would be a good place to share some anecdotes about work without getting grilled too hard.
Not that he didn't get a little joshed.
Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.
"I'm just going to let you know, you have a baby," Ellen offered, at which he good-naturedly feigned surprise. "When you get home you should look for it—it's somewhere in your house."
And that was pretty much it for the family talk, after which Cooper discussed making his feature directorial debut with A Star Is Born, which he also co-wrote and is starring (and singing) in opposite Lady Gaga. The project, the fourth big-screen take on the classic one-rises-while-the-other-falls story, has been in the works for years, at one point with Beyoncé attached and Clint Eastwood directing. After Eastwood directed Cooper in his Oscar-nominated turn in American Sniper, the production eventually changed hands.
Cooper will have to make the promotional rounds for the musical drama sooner rather than later—it's due in theaters Oct. 5—so, provided he doesn't ban such questions, he might let some of his feelings on fatherhood slip out. Or perhaps he'll just be dying to talk about it by then!
"I know you don't want to talk about the baby," DeGeneres told him. "I just wanted to say, I knew you'd be a good father when I saw you in American Sniper." To the audience, "He's so good with a baby, just watch." (Cut to a scene with Cooper and the fake baby that made the less-serious headlines coming out of the based-on-a-true-story war tragedy.)
In the weeks after Lea was born, a source told E! News that Shayk was, simply, "in bliss," while Cooper was "just in love." They were having only their nearest and dearest over to meet the baby, and they continue to enjoy family time off the radar. The closer-than-ever couple stole away for a grownups-only vacation to Tahiti in July, joining pals such as Anderson Cooper, Andy Cohen, Diane Von Furstenberg and Allison Williams.
In a 2014 interview, Shayk said that the perfect way to spend a summer, for her, would be to go somewhere "very quiet," such as the seaside, and relax.
Meanwhile, sports remains one of the few things that can get Cooper willingly out of the house.
Shayk skipped the tournament, but he went to Wimbledon, as usual, last summer before the trip to Tahiti—and Cooper was also in Minnesota with bells on last month to watch his beloved Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots for their first-ever Super Bowl win.
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret
Shayk, who was already rocking a baby bump on the runway at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in 2016, has been far more visible than Cooper since becoming a mom, partly because she does do social media and keeps it updated with her fashion world exploits, and because her work is necessarily in the now. Au courant, if you will.
She returned to public life at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival last May and that summer shot the cover for the September issue of Harper's Bazaar with The Weeknd and Adriana Lima. She made her return to the runway walking for Phillipp Plein at New York Fashion Week in September.
The Russian model returned to NYFW last month, hitting the runway for Bottega Veneta, which staged the first show to ever be held at the American Stock Exchange, and she's been modeling her own new signature Spring/Summer 2018 collection, Irina Shayk x Ellen Tracy. (We're sensing a relaxed, feminine, worn-with-ease theme—perfect for a busy mom or any woman on the go.)
What Shayk has not been doing is talking about babies or her relationship.
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Bottega Veneta
Shayk, a self-described workaholic, originally hails from a small town of 30,000 people that she has described as being "in the middle of nowhere," about two hours by plane from Moscow. She has one older sister. When she was 14 their dad died and their mother, a pianist, had to quit music to work another two jobs to support the family. "I think success is a result of very hard work—and you know, success doesn't come easy," she told Lifestylemagazine.me in 2014. "You have to work really hard for success, and you have to be very strong about what you want, because once you go out there, people are always going to [say you can't do it]...so you have to really know what you want."
Shayk, who also plays piano and sang in a choir growing up, studied marketing in school but says she'd perhaps be a musician or a journalist if she weren't a model. At the time, she said it was hard to pinpoint where she lived because she was traveling so often for work, but if she had to call somewhere home, it would be "somewhere where I feel comfortable."
Though as a fashion scene fixture she's frequently associated with New York and every glamorous European city, she said at the time that she loved being in L.A. Which is excellent, because that's where Cooper lived when she met him, and that's where the couple are based now.
James Devaney/GC Images
Funny enough, Shayk also shared that she loved to sleep, and was "a person who could sleep over 12 hours." A good night's sleep may have since rocketed to the top of her list of utmost indulgences.
She did share with Glamour Paris last summer that one of her beauty secrets is to rub an ice cube on her face when she first gets up in the morning for "a great wake-up call"—and she has her alarm set to hip-hop music to help her get up.
And on International Women's Day on March 8, she posted a simple quote: "Here's to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them."
Shayk, of course, has every reason to want to keep this part of her life super private as well. Before meeting Cooper she was in a five-year, highly visible relationship with Portuguese soccer super-star Cristiano Ronaldo, and even though their jet-setting life together was hardly a secret, even then Shayk did her best to keep her personal and work lives separate. Appearing on The Late Show With David Letterman in 2011 to promote her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover, when Letterman showed a photo of a scantily clad Cristiano as a way of illustrating who her boyfriend was, she replied, "Well, David, I hope you like my pictures more than this one."
Asked where such good-looking people go to meet each other, Shayk playfully replied, "You know I'm from Russia, David...so it's like KGB, Russian spies, and yeah, we just—we can keep the secrets, Russians, so be careful."
They broke up in early 2015 amid a fog of cheating rumors. Afterward Shayk told told Spain's Hola!, "Of course I prefer to be with someone, but with the right someone. It's very simple. You have to be faithful to your other half and not have secrets. That's my rule."
Christopher Polk/Getty Images
Three years in and Shayk and Cooper are rivaling Eva Mendes and Ryan Goslingwhen it comes to keeping their personal business out of the public eye—and while it's not as if they've never been seen with their daughter in public (the paparazzi don't take days off), so far Irina and Bradley are winning when it comes to "baby? what baby?!" guile.
But Cooper is finally easing his way back into the spotlight. Last week he and Robert De Niro were guests of honor at A Legacy Of Changing Lives presented by the Fulfillment Fund in Hollywood, on behalf of their philanthropic work benefiting children's education opportunities, and Rocket Raccoon is back on the much-discussed, (almost) all-Marvel-hands-on-deck poster for the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War, out April 27.
And he and Shayk pop up around L.A. like normal people, or as normal as a four-time Oscar nominee and a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover girl can be. They run errands and take their daughter to the grocery store, out to lunch and to the beach. The couple were also among the stars who came out for Sean Penn's book party at Giorgio Baldi on March 2, joining guests including Laura Dern, Eddie Vedder and Brad Pitt.
"They have date nights and spend romantic time together," a source told E! News a few months ago. "The spark between them is still very strong. Bradley is crazy for Irina. He's madly in love with her."
Moreover, the insider said that the couple would be looking to expand their family in 2018. Shayk "loves being a mother" and both have turned into "the most loving and warm parents." Lea's grandmothers on each side are also frequently around to help out, especially when Mom and Dad have to be working long hours.
In 2013 Cooper called fatherhood the "next big step" in his life, having seen how much joy fatherhood brought to his own dad, who passed away in 2011. "I'm sorry my father won't be around to see his grandchildren, but he knows fatherhood was something I was looking forward to," the actor told Square Mile.
And you know what they say about the importance of finding someone who's on the same page as you regarding family values.
"I think family is our reason for being," Shayk told Hola! in 2016 while modeling Pronovias wedding gowns, before it was revealed that she was indeed expecting. "I was lucky to be born into a very close-knit family...I would definitely like to start a family because it's the most important thing in the world and what you should take care of, along with your friends and the people you love."
She also said that she was "very happy," adding, "I am very lucky to have everything I want."
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