Bradley Cooper Says Becoming a Dad Radically Improved His Self-Esteem

Bradley Cooper
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Actor Bradley Cooper recently opened up about his past struggles with drug addiction and how becoming a father helped put everything in perspective. He shares five-year-old Lea De Seine with ex Irina Shayk.

The 47-year-old Star Is Born actor recently appeared on the 100th episode of Amazon Music and Wondery’s SmartLess podcast, hosted by Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, and Sean Hayes and shared that he felt “so lost” early in his career, between his time on the show Alias, which ended when he was 29, and filming The Hangover seven years later. “I definitely did not feel [it], moving to Los Angeles for Alias, feeling like I was back in high school,” he said of Hollywood. I could not get into any clubs; no girls wanted to look at me.”

He also opened up about his struggle with drugs, telling the hosts, “I was so lost and I was addicted to cocaine—that was the other thing. I severed my Achilles tendon right after I got fired-slash-quit Alias” and had “zero self-esteem.”

Cooper told the audience it was Arnett that helped him look at things differently and become clean, especially when he became a father. Both actors shared that being in Hollywood and struggling with their mental health was challenging as recovering addicts.

“Fatherhood is… everything changed,” Cooper said. “Every single thing is absolutely shaded by, or brought into glorious colors, by the fact that I get to be a father to a wonderful human being.”

Cooper has been fairly guarded speaking about family in the past but did talk about what a gift it’s been for him to become a dad. “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 to the day, and to be present,” he said in a September 2018 NPR interview.

“You have this wonderful thing or breakthrough with a script, or you have a wonderful moment on this set or in an editing room… you have like 40 of those moments every day with your kid that are that level of joy,” he told podcast audience members. “That’s not spinning it, that’s just the truth.”

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