Bradley Cooper Recalls "Insane" Moment He Was Held at Knifepoint in New York City

Bradley Cooper detailed his scary encounter with a knife-wielding subway rider on a recent episode of the Armchair Expert podcast.

By Gabrielle Chung Nov 29, 2021 8:45 PMTags
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Bradley Cooper is opening up about a harrowing experience on the New York City subway.

During the Nov. 29 episode of the Armchair Expert podcast, the Licorice Pizza star revealed that he was once held at knifepoint while on his way to pick up his daughter, Lea, now 4, from her lessons.

According to Cooper, the scary incident occurred in October 2019, when he was riding the subway while listening to music on a pair of noise-canceling headphones.

"I used to walk around New York City all the time with these [headphones] on—this was pre-pandemic—I was on the subway [at] 11:45 to pick Lea downtown at Russian school and I got held up at knifepoint," he recalled. "It was pretty insane. I realized I had gotten way, way too comfortable in the city. My guard was down."

"I was all the way at the end of the subway," Cooper continued. "I felt somebody coming up. I thought, 'Oh, they want to take a photo or something.' As I turned, I'm up against the post like it's the French Connection or some s--t, and I turned. I looked down and I see a knife."

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According to Cooper, the weapon was about "two-and-a-half, three inches" long with a wooden handle. While most people would fear for their life in that situation, the 46-year-old actor remembered thinking that it was a "nice knife."

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"I have my headphones on the whole time. I can't hear anything. I'm just listening to music. So it's scored, the whole thing was scored," he explained. "I look up, I see the person's eyes, and I'm taken by how young they are."

Though Cooper was "taught" to never run away from a knife, his flight instincts kicked in at that moment and he "just started running" toward the exit.

"I jumped over the turnstile, hid around the white, tiled foyer entrance to the subway [and] took my phone out," he said, recalling that the knife-wielding subway rider was "running away" at that point. "I took a photo of him and then I chased him up the stairs."

The eight-time Oscar nominee said he took two more photographs of the culprit before flagging down two police officers in an SUV on the street.

Though Cooper wasn't injured during the incident, the police were concerned that he might have been stabbed but didn't know it

"I'm like talking to them, and the guy kept saying—it was so interesting—he's like, ‘Are you stabbed?' I was like, ‘No, no,'" he remembered. "He was like, ‘Check to see if you're stabbed.' What happens is people get stabbed and they're in shock."

Cooper didn't say what happened to the assailant, though he noted that "got back on the subway and picked up my daughter" after going to the police: "It was crazy."

Cooper shares Lea with ex-girlfriend Irina Shayk. The co-parents sparked reconciliation rumors earlier in November after they were spotted walking arm-in-arm in the West Village neighborhood of New York City.