Inside Bradley Cooper and Irina Shayk's Private Love Story

The actor and supermodel became parents to daughter Lea in March 2017 and, like their relationship, they haven't had much to say about it in public

By Natalie Finn Jan 07, 2019 11:00 AMTags
Bradley Cooper, Irina Shayk, Couples, Met Gala, 2018Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

When their daughter was born, Bradley Cooper and Irina Shayk's lives changed forever.

One could guess.

The actor and the supermodel didn't exactly run right out and shout their happy news from the rooftops, nor did they talk about their blessed event at all, for over a year.

As daughter Lea de Seine Shayk Cooper's first birthday approached last March, Shayk's Instagram account remained boyfriend-and-baby-free and Cooper had been almost entirely MIA since the May 2017 release of Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Of course, now that he's been ubiquitous since last summer, we know that Cooper was actually busy toiling away in the mental and emotional creative bunker that was the making of A Star Is Born.

But their mutual silence about personal matters was pretty par for the course for the spotlight-averse couple.

Bradley Cooper & Irina Shayk: Romance Rewind

"I just don't talk about certain things," Cooper said on The Howard Stern Show a few 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.

Karwai Tang/WireImage

Stern has 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."

Steve Granitz/WireImage

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.

And while they still don't make splashy public outings part of their routine, Shayk was by Cooper's side at the Golden Globes last night, their first award show red carpet together.

Which, come to think of it, actually makes perfect sense because their romance didn't really heat up until after the 2015 awards season, the last time Cooper had a film (American Sniper, in that case) in major contention. Funny how that works!

Bradley Cooper's Best Roles

"I don't necessarily see the upside of it. You know? I don't," Cooper told the New York Times last summer, in explaining his reluctance to delve too much into certain aspects of his personal life in interviews. His loved ones were there in spirit, though, as the chain he wore around his neck sported personal mementos such as his late father's wedding ring and a small flower that was a gift from Shayk.

Before embarking on the global odyssey that was promoting A Star Is Born, the new dad did exactly one TV interview during his first year of fatherhood, 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 Ellen DeGeneres didn't tease him a little bit.

Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

"I'm just going to let you know, you have a baby," DeGeneres offered, at which he good-naturedly feigned surprise. "When you get home you should look for it—it's somewhere in your house." 

"I know you don't want to talk about the baby," she added. "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 continued to enjoy family time off the radar. The closer-than-ever couple stole away for a grownups-only vacation to Tahiti in July 2017, joining pals such as Anderson Cooper, Andy Cohen, Diane von Furstenberg and Allison Williams.

Karwai Tang/WireImage

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, aside from a trip to Glastonbury to shoot some concert footage for his A Star Is Born, sports was one of the few things that could get Cooper willingly out of the state of California.

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Shayk skipped the tournament, but he went to Wimbledon, as usual, before the 2017 trip to Tahiti—and Cooper was also in Minnesota with bells on last year to watch his beloved Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots for their first-ever Super Bowl win.

Cooper notably did not have to do much traveling for work in the days leading up to Lea's birth.

"I got very lucky on this one because I haven't left my house in, like, three years," Cooper, asked how he was balancing work and fatherhood, told E! News at the Hollywood premiere of A Star Is Born in September, "because we shot in L.A., and I edited the movie in my house." Since his run in The Elephant Man on Broadway ended in August 2015, "this is all I've been doing. So it's actually been wonderful."

The Epic Story of How Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga Came Together to Make Movie Magic in A Star Is Born

Lea was born a week before they started shooting.

Between completing his dream project, which took four years, start to finish, and becoming a dad, the actor and first-time director has hardly had time to process his good fortune—but he's working on it.

"It's worth all the time to dedicate, even if one piece of art comes out of it in a half a decade, that would still be incredible as long as I can feel like it's the movie I wanted to make, which is this movie," Cooper said on NPR's Morning Edition in September. "So I guess having a child, and having a family of my own—which is a miracle and something I've always dreamt of—has opened me up even more, I guess, to the day, and to be present."

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret

Shayk, who rocked the slightest of baby bumps on the runway at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in 2016, was initially far more visible than Cooper after their daughter was born, 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.

Two months after giving birth she returned to public life at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, 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 2017.

The Russian model returned to NYFW in February 2018, hitting the runway for Bottega Veneta, which staged the first show to ever be held at the American Stock Exchange; then she was modeling her own signature Spring/Summer 2018 collection, Irina Shayk x Ellen Tracy (a relaxed, feminine, worn-with-ease theme—perfect for a busy mom or any woman on the go).

And her 2018 "top 9" on Instagram was all magazine covers. "Thanks for another beautiful year full of blessings," she wrote.

See All the Looks From the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2018

"I think now a woman has the freedom to work and to be a mom and to be herself," Shayk told E! News in October at an event for her signature line. "I think it's really important to remember that a woman is the strongest one and if we want we can manage everything at the same time.

"And it's really important," she continued, "to just be yourself and just remember who you are and manage everything, because we can manage everything if we want to."

"It's not difficult," Shayk insisted. "If you want something, it's not difficult."

Asked specifically how she was balancing full-time motherhood with her various careers, she added, "If you love to do something, you can manage. You can manage your time, you can manage your passion...I'm a regular person, I don't think about myself as an example [for other models or working moms], but it really touched my heart when I hear some younger models or girls admire my work and things I do." 

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 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] 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 has said 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 was excellent, because that's where Cooper lived when she met him and that's where their child was born. They've since moved to New York.

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 in 2017 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."

You may!

Supermodels: Then and Now
Rohit Padmakumar

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, 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

Cooper and Shayk have inevitably been the subject of trouble-in-paradise rumors, because... famous.

But with Cooper's huge 2018 behind him and his potentially monumental 2019 just underway, it appears that he and Shayk aren't interested in being Ryan and Eva 2.0 and will instead be enjoying some of the glow cast by A Star Is Born together.

A Star Is Born Through the Years

"Shallow" won Best Original Song at the Globes last night. A Star Is Born is also nominated for four Grammys and four Screen Actors Guild Awards, as well as a whopping nine Critics Choice Awards, and the film was just nominated for Producers Guild of America honors, often a harbinger for the Academy Awards' top prize. The Directors Guild nominations come out Tuesday and Oscar nominations will be announced Jan. 22, so the next two months are going to be nuts for Cooper, who will certainly be in the running to become the sixth actor to direct and star in his own Best Picture winner—and he would be the first to pull off the hat trick if he were to win Best Actor, Director and Picture.

Getting the season rolling, Cooper was honored with the Director of the Year Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival last week.

Still, accolades aside, a trip to somewhere tropical must be sounding pretty great to Bradley and Irina right now...


He and Shayk popped up around L.A., and now New York, 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. And the couple enjoy adults-only time as well, such as at Sean Penn's book party or two Met Galas in a row.

"They have date nights and spend romantic time together," a source told E! News awhile back. "The spark between them is still very strong. Bradley is crazy for Irina. He's madly in love with her."

Enjoying a rare break in early December, Cooper was spotted sitting in the front row at Versace's pre-fall 2019 show in New York, watching Shayk strut down the runway. A few days later they took Lea to meet Santa.

A source told E! News in October that they "love their little girl more than anything." And what you see, when you see it, is what you get: "They have created a great life together and are happy."


While Shayk was noticeably absent from all the fanfare surrounding A Star Is Born in the summer and fall of 2018, "Irina is happy for him and all of the praise he's getting." The source added, "She's very proud of Bradley and his hard work and is happy the movie has been received so well."

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."

(Originally published March 21, 2018, at 6 a.m. PT)