Bradley Cooper has spoken out about being addicted to cocaine and struggling with drink problems in the early noughties before his rise to fame, saying he was “so lost” during this period.
The Hollywood star, a three-time best actor Oscar nominee whose film breakthrough came with the The Hangover in 2009, said he turned to alcohol and drugs after severing his Achilles tendon and leaving American action series Alias, from which he “got fired slash quit”.
Speaking on the Smartless podcast, Cooper, 47, said he was “totally depressed” during this time in his life but is now thankful he experienced the issues when he was younger and before the height of his fame.
“I was so lost and I was addicted to cocaine, that was the other thing,” the actor told podcast hosts Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett, speaking about the early noughties.
Cooper explained that Arnett – who was married to his friend and Wet Hot American Summer co-star Amy Poehler at the time – helped him realise he was on a self-destructive path after the pair attended a party together.
Arnett apparently said he was acting like a “real a**hole” at the event.
“That was the first time I realised I had a problem with drugs and alcohol and it was Will saying that to me, and I’ll just never forget it,” Cooper said.
Speaking about struggling with addiction before he was a household name, the star said: “I will say this – I did have the benefit of that happening when I was 29.
“So at 29, it wasn’t really until [The] Hangover – I was 36 when I did The Hangover – so I got to go through all of those things before fame even played into my existence on a daily level.”
Cooper starred as Phil in the award-winning comedy and its two sequels.
He said he is “still working on self-esteem” even now, “but I definitely made major breakthroughs from 29 to 34, where at least I was able to stand in front of somebody and breathe and listen and talk”.
Cooper, who was Oscar-nominated for his performances in Silver Linings Playbook, American Sniper and A Star Is Born, also spoke about the joys of being a father to Lea, his daughter with ex-partner Irina Shayk, who was born in 2017.
“Fatherhood is, I mean everything changed… everything is brought out in glorious colours by the fact that I get to be a father to a wonderful human being.
“It’s just the absolute greatest thing.”
During the interview, Cooper also played an audio clip of his daughter singing Baha Men’s Who Let The Dogs Out, which features in the first Hangover movie – resulting in him texting his co-stars Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms: “Hangover 4, let’s do it!”