Bradley Cooper claims he’s sober: “I don’t drink or do drugs anymore” – really?

Bradley Cooper’s PR people are trying to repackage him as accessible, they’re trying to show us more of his personal “softer” side, and it’s working. I’m actually starting to warm up to the guy. He’s been very guarded and careful about his personal life in the past, and has come across as either milquetoast or douchey. Now he’s opening up and this is the strategy he should have taken from the get-go. The Hollywood Reporter has a new interview and profile with Cooper and I’ll be damned if I didn’t come away with more respect for him. Cooper went to the Actors Studio in New York after college and he was so talented and dedicated that James Lipton told his parents “Your son will go all the way.” Well he did, and THR is touting how Cooper is carefully choosing his roles to expand his acting repertoire, since he’s making bank from the Hangover movies and doesn’t need the money.

All that said, I’m focusing on Cooper’s claims that he’s been sober for almost 10 years because I don’t really buy it. I mean I believe that he might have given up drinking and hard drugs, but he looks like he’s hopped up on stimulants in some of his recent appearances, and I’ll cover that in a moment. Here are the relevant parts of his interview, with more at the source:

Hangover director Todd Phillips on Cooper
“He is ridiculously different in real life. People think he is just playing a version of himself, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. He is very vulnerable — insecure is not the right word — and that character is just straight-up confident. And there’s a warmth to him you would never know.”

Cooper on getting sober at 29
“I don’t drink or do drugs at all anymore,” says Cooper, noting he gave them up at 29, when their toll was unbearable. “Being sober helps a great deal.”

Once, he relates, “I was at a party and deliberately bashed my head on the concrete floor — like, ‘Hey, look how tough I am!’ And I came up, and blood dripped down. And then I did it again. I spent the night at St. Vincent’s Hospital with a sock of ice, waiting for them to stitch me up.”

He adds: “I was so concerned what you thought of me, how I was coming across, how I would survive the day. I always felt like an outsider. I just lived in my head. I realized I wasn’t going to live up to my potential, and that scared the hell out of me. I thought, ‘Wow, I’m actually gonna ruin my life; I’m really gonna ruin it.’ ”
Friends repeatedly cautioned him, yet he didn’t listen. “Part of me believed it, and part of me didn’t. But the proof was in the pudding: I’d always gotten up at the crack of dawn, and that was out the window. I remember looking at my life, my apartment, my dogs, and I thought, ‘What’s happening?’ ”
It was then he decided to change, and the effect was transformative.

On preparing for The Pines
In preparing for the job, Cooper spent a month with the police, “going into these domestic disturbances, which are about 80 percent of the calls. There was one house with a fish tank that a shoe had been thrown through. Dead fish were everywhere — and kittens were eating the dead fish as we walked by.”

He won’t talk about his personal life
Cooper’s every action now is scrutinized — from his four-month marriage to actress Jennifer Esposito in 2006 (“She’s a wonderful woman,” is all he will say) to whomever he’s dating, including his current partner and Words co-star, Zoe Saldana.

He won’t discuss her or confirm they’re together (though he gushes about her work). “It’s not for me to say,” he notes.
Despite the demands of his A-list status, Cooper has retained a loyalty and decency that impress his friends (and he recently started working with the Paul Newman-founded Hole in the Wall Gang Camp).

“He is such an honest and straightforward guy; there’s not an ounce of duplicitousness in him,” says Phillips.

On his career
He has gone past the dark days of his youth and is moving toward a bright future, staking his reputation on movies he believes in — like Words. “He made a lot of calls for this movie,” notes childhood pal Klugman, adding it never would have gotten off the ground without him.

The director marvels at how the boy who attended his bar mitzvah has remained grounded and true. “He has so much chaos swirling around him. He goes from one movie to the next. It is a very surreal lifestyle. But look at the choices he is making — these are not the choices of a typical movie star. None of them are just paychecks.”

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

See, he seems like a hardworking, standup guy. If he plays his cards right he could continue to change public opinion. I still think he’s more of a talented character actor than a lead who can carry a movie, but I could be wrong. Limitless was kind of awesome. (Until it got complicated and had that magic ending.)

Speaking of Limitless, I don’t believe Cooper is “sober” per se. His pupils look like pinpoints in his recent appearances, particularly at premieres of The Words. My guess would be that Cooper is on a prescription ADHD drug like Adderall or Ritalin. (Which he may need and be legitimately prescribed.) That’s wild speculation on my part, though. Look at his eyes in the photos below, are those sober eyes?

Oh and here’s a link to the slideshow of Bradley Cooper’s photoshoot for THR. They’re making him out to be a cool everyday man’s man in a leather jacket at a dive bar. It’s not a bad strategy.

After I wrote all that, I found these quotes from Bradley’s Words co-star and rumored ex-girlfriend, Zoe Saldana, about him. She said “no comment” when asked about their relationship, but spoke fondly of him. “Bradley is a very dedicated and open professional. It’s really good when you can balance that with an actor as opposed to an actor that just comes prepared and just goes, ‘don’t f*k up my light’ and ‘this line is my close-up.’ We didn’t care where was the camera was. It was just like we were both part of this extensive conversation.” An extreme conversation that ended up in bed and didn’t last after filming wrapped.

Photo credit: FameFlynet and

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46 Responses to “Bradley Cooper claims he’s sober: “I don’t drink or do drugs anymore” – really?”

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  1. Moi says:

    Ah I just commented on this on your links page from yesterday. I clicked one of the links and it showed this story. I know for a fact that this is so not true. But will not say how. Again, tsk tsk. Not sure why celebs lie about things like this. Just don’t say anything at all would be the best route, one would think.

    • Krissy says:

      Oh, c’mon give us a hint!

    • Steph says:

      Former users always do that. Say how long they’ve been sober, while omitting all the times they weren’t. They try to stop and really mean to stop, then they don’t stop, but wish they had so they just brag about how long they’ve been “clean.”

  2. TheOriginalKitten says:

    Yeah, but who really considers cocaine to be a DRUG right? I mean, we drink coffee in the AM and B-Coop slams down a few lines of frisky powder. It’s just a little pick-me-up….

  3. itstrue says:

    don’t your pupils get bigger when you’re on the bad sh*t?

  4. Bluedog says:

    My daughter takes prescription ADHD medicine and her eyes don’t look like that.

    • ZenB!tch says:

      I was going to say maybe he means “illegal” drugs.

      I think I “don’t do drugs” and I’m on Xanax, Ambien, etc for anxiety disorder. These pills have killed people but to me it’s not “drugs” it’s maintenance medication.

  5. Meli says:

    This guy is SO bland.

  6. Harriettshat says:

    Hes going for Fassbender, Gosling, Gordon-Levitt territory and I’m sorry but he is not talented enough to pull it off.

    Also, reading that article I wondered whether he is on the verge of coming out or something. The paragraph where he talks about tension with his father over an issue that he wont disclose, sounds like he is setting it up. Also, refusing to discuss any of his relationships sounds suspiciously like he doesnt want to paint himself into a corner for when he does come out. Just saying.

  7. Christina says:

    Bradley had always done quite open and honest interviews. He usually keeps his romantic life private but I think that is smart of him. When he was last on Inside The Actors Studio he got so emotional speaking about his road to now, his family, his mentors, that he broke down in tears. The characters he plays sometimes are jerks but he has never come across that way himself. His team is not repackaging him. He is the same, but maybe people are just starting to notice finally. He is not Sack from Wedding Crashers or Phil from The Hangover , he is himself and he seems like quite a lovely person. That and he is painfully handsome too!

    • Debz says:



      PS… je ne give a damn pas; I’d HIT THIS SO DAMNED HARD

      • Aubra says:

        YES!! I love that he keeps something for himself. I totally get him.

        If him and Zoe SalDULLna are really still on, its a matter of time before its kaput…us caps don’t fare well
        with those who take themselves TOO seriously and control dynamic :)

  8. lucy2 says:

    I just find him so unappealing these days. He’s not someone who I’d ever watch a movie for – if he’s in a movie, fine, I don’t hate him or anything, but I just don’t feel like he really has star power.

    • Camille (TheOriginal) says:

      I agree with you. I’ve never gotten his appeal either. He doesn’t have the charisma or talent to be a ‘leading man’ IMO.

      And I think this story is a load of PR BS. My opinion hasn’t changed about him that is for sure.

    • Rav says:

      I agree with this and don’t like any of his movies but saw him on Graham Norton and he came across really lovely. Though I do realise he is an actor and that’s his job, but still he was nice.

  9. ME says:

    Dear Bradley,

    Every time I see your crazy rapist eyes, I also feel the need to drink and/or get high so no need to lie to us. We all understand.

    Thank you.

  10. Talie says:

    Wasn’t the drinking and drugs what did his first marriage in? Was that 10 years ago?

    • Jill says:

      I’ll be perfectly honest, the details of his first marriage are absolutely none of my business…but I can’t get past that when trying to have an opinion of him.

      Something is just off about him in the sense that he seems to be hiding something. Maybe I’m completely wrong, but I just can’t…I don’t know. I think he is a very sensitive, insecure person. I think he is gay. And I don’t say that in a dismissive way. Its npt the way he dresses, speaks, carries himself or any of that that makes me believe he is. He seems to me to always look and act like he’s in a lot of emotional pain. Not being able to truly be yourself could cause addiction issues, family issues, etc… I really don’t want to offend anyone with what I just wrote, but I think there is a lot unknown about the guy.

  11. Megan says:

    I would like to see video from the event…. Sometimes cameras capture things that look different. Take William and Kate’s awkward, forced PDA at the Olympics that looks so cute still shot. That being said, in the picture, he doesn’t look sober

  12. lori says:

    Honestly for my money his eyes look like a dude who spent the night crying. I’ve read older interviews where he mentions having to stop drinkin and get sober. it was very believiable than and now. But would totally believe that he was prescribed something for anxiety disorder or bi-polar etc. He’s somehwat depressive in interviews.

    • Jill says:

      Agree 100%. This is probably a much better idea of what is going on with him than what I guessed above.

    • ZenB!tch says:

      Really? I find him rather bland – albeit good looking. I tend to be attracted to or at least feel a kinship to my fellow sufferers when they are male and very empathetic when they are female. I can usually spot one 10 miles away.

      However, this would explain his saying he is not on drugs yet appearing to be “on something”. I said above that I don’t think I “do drugs” but I’m on all sorts of crap of the kind that killed Whitney Houston for my anxiety disorder.

  13. hmm says:

    Nothing to say about Renee Zellwegger? They were together for what seemed like forever and she was constantly hanging out with his parents!

  14. Dani says:

    I actually really like him. I think he’s a good actor (definitely can’t carry a movie all the way, but he tries). As for him being sober, I actually really believe it. People who are on coke (and I know a few) generally have terrible posture, wonky eyes, chapped lips, bad skin etc. I also think his eyes look that way because of their color. I have to agree with Lori up there — he looks if anything more pained, like he’s been crying, than a drug addict.

    • lori says:

      I really think he’s more of a character actor than a leading man. And as far as “repackaging”…no I think they are actually unpackaging him. His PR ppl or he must have realized what a bad fit he was for “sexiest man alive’ type hollywood and are now trying to distance him from that BS.

    • Dani says:

      Totally agree with you. I feel like if anything, he’s more of himself lately that what they have been trying to sell him as.

      • lrm says:

        I agree-I have loved him in movies where he’s the side kick or one of the ensemble-but with lead roles-uugh. I end up thinking ‘wow he’s not a very good actor’ and the whole time, i’m thinking about how i’m watching him vs.t he character….
        He should be a co lead like in a romantic comedy, or part of an ensemble in an action movie. He’s a great guy for other leads to bounce off of….

  15. Rux says:

    I worked in a mental health ward as a volunteer for a year when I graduated from college and typically, lithium or other drugs prescribed for bi-polar or manic patients (see Britney Spears) tend to have that effect on the pupils. This happens even in extremely low doses and even for people who are given anti-anxiety medication. I think it is more pronounced on him due to the color of his iris and the shape of his eyes.

  16. Moi says:

    Just want to clarify, I know nothing of Bradley doing cocaine. It’s the mind altering type. ;-)

  17. wusel says:

    I think the whole “I stopped drinking and doing drugs” thing is for show. I don’t think he was every doing drugs or alcohol.

  18. Lacie says:


    –Bradley Cooper

  19. sunshine says:

    If I looked like a young Barry Manilow I’d probably do drugs too….and I wouldn’t stop.

    • KellyinSeattle says:

      Barry Manilow’s long lost son..ha ha ….but really, someone tell him to stop using gel in his hair…makes a pretty guy look like Squiggy. I don’t know about serial killer eyes; I know someone who worked w/ Ted Bundy and he was just as handsome and Personable…”Normal” as anyone else…but Bradley, Jen’s engaged to Justin T. now, so stop trying to copy his greasy look.

      • sunshine says:

        Well I don’t think his eyes are too crazy….if you want to see crazy eyes, you should see my husband. And he’s exactly as crazy as his eyes suggest, and they were the thing that attracted me to him. Lol too bad about Bradley’s unfortunate looks or I’d probably think he’s hot!

        Oh and you’re right about the gel but I don’t think much could help that hair.

  20. vals says:

    I was thinking this was maybe the reveal to Lainey’s blind riddle that she alluded to.. but I think I’m wrong now. Grr I can’t figure it out!

  21. carrie says:

    his pupils don’t look dilated (he only has very blue clear eyes)
    do you want to see some eyes under coke or others ?

    i don’t know if he’s sober but he did in interview what every actor must do to be “serious” : don’t talk about your private life and be focused on your career

  22. Joe Shmoe says:

    Dude definitley has the CRAZY eyes. Like a serial killer.

  23. Claire says:

    I love him – although he can look crap, he can look magnificent too. He also comes across really well. Wish he was still with Renee

    • ZenB!tch says:

      IKR Zoe does nothing for me as part of a so-called power couple. I can’t tell her and Rosario Dawson apart. Its like the Ryans except they aren’t both Canadian and named Ryan.

  24. Jen says:

    If his eyes were pin point the pupil would be extremely smaller (like a period at the end of a sentence) he looks wide awake. I’m an Emt I go on drug users a lot

  25. miss h. says:

    Completely agree that there is something “enhanced” about those eyes…but amphetamines and drugs like them (adhd drugs) cause your pupils to dilate not contract or pin as in those photos…

  26. Aotearovian says:

    I always wanted to know what happened between him and Jennifer Esposito. It was such an abrupt end after they married, I think just a few months, that it seemed like something dramatic must have occurred between them.

  27. Deb says:

    You do realise that flashes from the cameras are what is actually making his pupils smaller. It is how a person’s eyes react to light. Really, you are just reaching at this stage.