Bradley Cooper on his 20s: ‘I was so lost and I was addicted to cocaine’

Bradley Cooper has a history of addiction. He rarely talks about it, but it’s been known that he’s in recovery for years, and he’s also been credited with helping out other celebrities who struggle with addiction (like Brad Pitt). For some reason, I thought B-Coop’s thing was solely alcohol? While he struggled with alcoholism too, it turns out his biggest issue was cocaine. In his 20s, he was on Alias and it sounds like his paychecks were going straight up his nose. Bradley talked about that and more on the Smartless podcast with hosts Will Arnett, Sean Hayes and Jason Bateman.

Bradley Cooper is getting candid about past struggles with addiction and why he decided to get sober. The 47-year-old actor/director opened up about realizing he had a “problem with drugs and alcohol” while appearing on Amazon Music and Wondery’s Smartless podcast, which is hosted by Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Sean Hayes.

“I was so lost and I was addicted to cocaine — that was the other thing,” he said, adding, “I severed my Achilles tendon right after I got fired-slash-quit Alias” and struggled with “zero self-esteem. I did have the benefit of that happening when I was 29. I thought I made it when I got a Wendy’s commercial. … In terms of the made-it thing, that’s when I made it. But I definitely did not feel, moving to Los Angeles for Alias 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, so I got to go through all those things before fame even played into my existence on a daily level. So all that happened before any of that.”

Arnett, 52, called pal Cooper’s realization about addiction the actor’s “metamorphosis” that came before 2009’s The Hangover spring-boarded his level of fame. Said Arnett, “Having those realizations and having that change allowed you to— that’s what opened you up and allowed you to be you.”

“It’s true,” said Cooper. “I definitely made major breakthroughs at 29 to 33, 34, where at least I was able to stand in front of somebody and breathe and listen and talk.” He added that that “path of deciding to change my life” came in July 2004, crediting Arnett for being “the reason” he made the shift after Arnett spoke to him about it.

Arnett said he has noticed a “difference” in Cooper, adding, “It has been awesome seeing you in this place and seeing you comfortable. Nothing has made me happier.” Getting emotional, Arnett said, “It’s made me happy to see you so happy with who you are.”

[From People]

He’s 47 now – he was 25/26 when he was cast in Alias, and he was fired two or three years later. He was working before Alias, but yeah, nothing that made him a “star.” Anyway, I honestly didn’t know he had such a coke problem back in the day. I’m glad he got clean and he’s sort of right that it was a “benefit” that his life fell apart at 29. As opposed to 19. He had something to rebuild, he had a maturity to see his rehabilitation through.

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13 Responses to “Bradley Cooper on his 20s: ‘I was so lost and I was addicted to cocaine’”

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  1. Noki says:

    I dont know what he was on during Wedding Crashers because his eyes were crazy and he just seemed especially hyper.

    • Lizzie Bathory says:

      Good call. He says he started trying to get clean in July 2004. Apparently Wedding Crashers started filming in March 2004 & had a 52 shooting day schedule. Being on coke would actually have worked perfectly with the character he played.

  2. Hic says:

    Has he ever talked about the first wife? I notice the time overlap.

  3. Aitana says:

    He is a decent actor & I generally like the movies he’s in. For anyone to publicly admit they struggled with alcohol &/or drug addiction & triumphed, my hat’s off to them. This is good bcz normies need to know that yes they can overcome such insurmountable obstacles, as well. Wish him nothing but best regards.

    • Honey says:

      It also helps in removing some of the stigmas around addiction, which really should (IMO) be normalized in a positive way. People still say awful things about the person who is addicted. The lack of compassion and empathy just blows my mind. Some of the more enduring stigmas are, of course, around race and class.

    • BrainFog 💉💉💉😷 says:

      Agreed. The more celebrities speak up about their struggles, the more it helps normal people to find their way out of addiction or mental health issues. I cannot tell you how much listening to famous former addicts has helped me.

  4. Travelin says:

    I loved alias and have a soft spot for him (and Jennifer Garner!) because of the show. But in season 2 his eyes were regularly so bloodshot I am not surprised that he was addicted to cocaine.

    It is good to know that he is living a much healthier and fulfilling life.

    It is shocking to me though how many people waste away money on drugs. He had a regular gig on a network TV show! And he spent all those paychecks snorting drugs.

    • TeamMeg says:

      It’s not simply that they are wasting money on drugs. They are suffering from a brain disease called addiction. Addiction is a chronic, primary and progressive disease that hijacks a persons brain, so that one is no longer in control of one’s choices. It sounds like Bradley got clean and is in recovery—huge hats off to him.

    • Christine says:

      Same, Travelin, I will always adore the entire Alias cast and will follow them anywhere.

      I binge Alias every few years, and you can see he’s not healthy. I didn’t notice back then, I do now.

  5. Heather says:

    I don’t understand how he was 36 when he did The Hangover (released in 2009) and is 47 now? Unless he means one of the sequels.

    I loved Alias and that is when he came onto my radar, for sure.

    • Zoochy says:

      He might have been referring to doing promo for the movie after it really blew up

  6. jferber says:

    I love him in the suit with no tie. And I give him props for intervening with the Oscars situation along with Denzel and Tyler. They all stepped up to deal with a difficult situation.