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Bradley Cooper opens up again about his sobriety: ‘I’ve been sober for 19 years. I’ve been very lucky’

The actor, who has helped colleagues like Ben Affleck and Brad Pitt deal with their own addictions, says his experience with alcohol and drugs made it easier for him to play his character in ‘A Star Is Born’

Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper at the 'Guardians of the Galaxy 3' premiere, on April 2023 in Los Angeles (California).Gilbert Flores (Variety via Getty Images)
Anna Milton

Actor Bradley Cooper is not particularly fond of making statements about his private life, except for one thing: for years, he has been openly speaking about his addiction problems and how he overcame them. Now, the actor has spoken again about his years of sobriety, this time among the snowy canyons of Wyoming, in a recent episode of the National Geographic show Running Wild with Bear Grylls: The Challenge, where he opened up about how his 19 years away from alcohol have helped him bring to life some of his most impressive performances, most notably in the film A Star Is Born (2018), for which he was nominated for an Oscar.

When the British adventurer asked Cooper which roles had impacted him the most, he mentioned The Hangover as an important moment in his career; he had been acting for 10 years already, he said, so he did not “get lost in fame.” His response led to a conversation about his problems with substance abuse. “You definitely had some wild years,” said Grylls. “In terms of alcohol and drugs, yeah,” the actor replied, “but nothing to do with fame, though.”

Cooper then confesses that his addiction to alcohol and drugs, and the way he overcame it, helped him get into his character in A Star Is Born, a film he directed and co-starred with Lady Gaga and which earned him eight Oscar nominations. In it, he plays Jackson Maine, an alcoholic rock star. “It made it easier to really enter in there,” he says, “and thank goodness I was at a place in my life where I was at ease with all that. So I could really let myself go.” He also confesses to feeling very fortunate to have overcome his problems at such a young age. “I was lucky. I got sober at 29-years-old, and I’ve been sober for 19 years. I’ve been very lucky,” he reflects. Regarding his professional career, he admits: “I’ve been very lucky with the roles I’ve had to play. It’s been a real blessing. I hope I get to keep doing it.”

This is not the first time that the actor, who has also helped some colleagues like Ben Affleck and Brad Pitt face their own addictions, talks about his past dealing with substances. In an episode of the podcast Smartless that was aired last year, Cooper also opened up about his cocaine addiction and the obstacles he faced early in his career. The producers of the show, actors Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett — good friends of the protagonist of American Sniper — asked him how he managed to leave the life of drugs that he entered in his 20s. The star revealed: “I was so lost, and I was addicted to cocaine.” He explained that it was an honest conversation with Arnett in 2004 what put him on the path of a life change. Remembering that moment, Arnett, a comedian known for being the voice of the main character of the animated series BoJack Horseman, among other works, said: “I loved you very much, and I wanted you to be okay, and I knew you weren’t feeling okay about all of that.”

Bradley Cooper is one of the many celebrities who have appeared on the Bear Grylls shows, where they talk about some of their most intimate moments while they have extreme adventures. The protagonist of Man vs. Wild has also taken stars like Zac Efron, Ben Stiller, Channing Tatum and Lena Headey on his wild trips; he even had Barack Obama as a guest while he was still president of the United States. His shows have become a perfect setting to have honest conversations with celebrities: when she appeared on Running Wild with Bear Grylls, actress Lena Headey (Cersei in Game of Thrones) admitted to considering herself quite a catastrophic person, and opened up about her struggle with depression. When he complimented her for her honesty, she replied: “There are certain things that it’s cool to talk about, and there are certain things that nobody wants to talk about. I just feel that if you don’t share, and you don’t connect, then you’re just causing more isolation, and that’s a really bad thing for all of us.”

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