Bradley Cooper Shares "Greatest" Joy of Having Daughter Lea After Overcoming Past Cocaine Addiction

Bradley Cooper opened up about his past addiction struggles and how friend and The Rocker co-star Will Arnett made him realized he had a "problem with drugs and alcohol."

By Gabrielle Chung Jun 14, 2022 10:51 PMTags
Watch: Brad Pitt Credits Bradley Cooper for Helping Him Get Sober

It takes a lot to change a man⁠—just ask Bradley Cooper.

The A Star Is Born actor/director reflected on his sobriety journey on the June 13 episode of Amazon Music and Wondery's Smartless podcast, recounting to co-hosts Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Sean Hayes how he felt "so lost" while struggling with drug and alcohol addiction during the early aughts. According to the 47-year-old, he didn't know he was on a self-destructive path until Arnett⁠, who was then-married to Cooper's friend and Wet Hot American Summer co-star Amy Poehler, stepped in and called him out about his behavior.

"I was addicted to cocaine," Cooper recalled, adding that he had severed his Achilles tendon and "got fired-slash-quit" Alias during the depths of his addition issues. "I was totally depressed."

Having "zero self-esteem" at the time, Cooper said he used "mean humor" to deflect from his own insecurities and, in turn, started "really hurting people's feelings." He remembered how everything came to a head in July 2004 when he attended a party with Arnett thinking he was "so funny" to the other guests, only to find out later on from the Arrested Development alum that he had acted like a "real asshole" the entire evening.

Bradley Cooper's Best Roles

"That was the first time I ever realized I had a problem with drugs and alcohol⁠," Cooper said, recalling Arnett confronting him about his actions. "I'll just never forget it. The guy that I think is doing 'mean humor' is telling me the truth about it."

Calling Arnett "the reason" he went sober, Cooper added, "He took that risk of having a hard conversation with me that put me on a path of deciding to change my life."

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

In his sobriety journey, Cooper said he made "major breakthroughs at 29 to 33" that set him on a path of self-discovery about his career and relationships with other people. The change, which Arnett described as a "metamorphosis" that had been "awesome" to witness, also led him to find peace in fatherhood when he welcomed daughter Lea with Irina Shayk.

"Every single thing is absolutely shaded or brought out in glorious colors by the fact that I get to be a father to a wonderful human being," Cooper said. "It's just the absolute greatest thing."

The actor also couldn't help but to gush about his 5-year-old, playing an audio recording of the little one singing Baha Men's "Who Let the Dogs Out" on the podcast. The adorable moment resulted in Cooper texting his Hangover co-stars: "Hangover 4: Let's do it."

Cooper now shares custody of Lea with Shayk following their 2019 split. Calling the model an "incredible" mother, he added of being a parent, "I love it. I don't want any moment that I could be with her, not to be with her."


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