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Bradley Cooper on Overcoming Addiction in His 20s


The decision to get sober was a choice that changed Bradley Cooper's life forever.

The "A Star is Born" actor and director opened up to Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Sean Hayes about his sobriety in a recent episode of Amazon and Wondery's "Smartless" podcast.

Cooper confessed he struggled with more than just addiction. His early twenties were a struggle in itself. From finding his way through Hollywood to overcoming a dwindling self-esteem, the actor described that he was "so lost" and on a self-destructive path.

"I was addicted to cocaine, that was the other thing," Cooper shared. "I severed my Achilles tendon right after I got fired-slash-quit 'Alias.'"

It was not until Arnett, who was married to Cooper's friend and "Wet Hot American Summer" co-star Amy Poehler⁠, shared his concerns that he made a change.

In 2004, Arnett stopped by Cooper's place, noticing that it was late afternoon and he still hadn't let his dogs out to use the bathroom.

"That was the first time I ever realized I had a problem with drugs and alcohol," said Cooper. "It was Will saying that to me, I'll never forget it... It changed my entire life."
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."

Cooper claimed his depression erupted during his failed project "Alias."

"...Moving to Los Angeles for 'Alias,' [I was] feeling like I was back in high school: I could not get into any clubs, no girls wanted to look at me. I was totally depressed. It wasn't really until 'The Hangover.' I was 36 when I did 'The Hangover.'"
In his sobriety journey, Cooper said he made "major breakthroughs from [ages] 29 to 33" that set him on a path of self-discovery regarding his career and relationships. Arnett agreed with Cooper, saying,
"You went through this metamorphosis before 'The Hangover.' Having those realizations and having that change allowed you to — that's what opened you up and allowed you to be you."

Jason Bateman pointed out that Cooper is now the antithesis of his former self: warm, thoughtful, and generous. Cooper credits this aspect of his life to hitting rock bottom before he really achieved fame.

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Mikayla Carney