Bradley Cooper On How Fatherhood Helped Him In Sobriety - Men's Health Magazine Australia

Bradley Cooper On How Fatherhood Helped Him In Sobriety

Speaking about his most important role to date, Cooper said every moment spent with his daughter is “the best moment of my life.”

He’s one of the most recognisable faces in Hollywood with the kind of resume that most could only ever dream about. In recent years, Bradley Cooper has transformed himself from the typical frat-boy character into one of cinema’s greatest leading men, with each film seemingly becoming a box office hit or, at the very least, an Oscar contender. For someone who seems to have it all, Cooper serves as a reminder that each individual faces their own challenges, be it in the spotlight or behind closed doors. For the actor, that involved a drug addiction in his 20s that saw him struggle to find a sense of purpose. 

In a recent interview on Will Arnett’s SmartLess podcast with Jason Bateman and Sean Hayes, Cooper opened up about his struggle with drug addiction and how Arnett made him realise he needed to get sober, jumpstarting his journey into mental health. Cooper admitted that when he first moved to Los Angeles for is role in Alias, he felt like he “was back in high school,” and suffered from low self-esteem. “I could not get into any clubs, no girls wanted to look at me. I was totally depressed.”

His depression ultimately reached a tipping point when Cooper was fired from Alias while also grappling with an injury to his Achilles tendon. Compensating for his insecurities and looking to ignore that voice in his head that told him he wasn’t good enough, Cooper adopted a “mean humour” that impacted a number of his relationships. It was only at a dinner party with Arnett when he was 29 that Cooper realised he had hit “rock bottom.”

“Will was like, ‘Hey man, do you remember we had dinner the other night? How do you think that went?’ I remember being at the dinner thinking I was so funny, and I thought these two guys who were my heroes thought that I was so funny. I was like, ‘I thought it was great. I thought I was killing,’” said Cooper. “Will Arnett was like, ‘You were a real (expletive), man. You were a real (expletive).’”

As Cooper explained, “That was the first time I ever realised I had a problem with drugs and alcohol. The guy that I think is doing mean humour is telling me the truth and it changed my entire life.” He added, “I was so lost and I was addicted to cocaine. Will took that risk of having that hard conversation with me in July of 2004 and that put me on a path of deciding to change my life. It truly was Will Arnett. He is the reason.”

Cooper embarked on a journey of sobriety from the ages of 29 to 34, ultimately leading him to seek out therapy for greater self-acceptance. “Quite honestly today I can sit in front of you and tell you I have self-esteem and it’s not related to any outside thing. I didn’t have that for 46 years,” he said. 

Speaking about how fatherhood changed him, Cooper said: “Fatherhood is…everything changed. Every single thing is absolutely shaded by, or brought into glorious colours, by the fact that I get to be a father to a wonderful human being.” It’s a feeling Arnett also shared, telling listeners, “I did find for me that one of the things that it does do is that it accelerates your work on yourself because you want to not infect them with the crap you don’t have figured out.”

Father to five-year-old daughter, Lea, whom he shares with ex Irina Shayk, Cooper said that every moment with his daughter is “the greatest moment of my life.” 

Arnett was quick to express his own emotions at seeing Cooper enter such a healthy and happy stage of his life. “It has been awesome seeing you in this place and seeing you comfortable, nothing has made me happier,” he said. “It’s made me happy to see you so happy with who you are.”

By Mens Health Staff

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