Bradley Cooper on Drug and Alcohol Struggle: “Work Was Getting F*cked Up”

Truth rating: 10
(Peggy Sirota/GQ)

By Daniel Gates

(Peggy Sirota/GQ)

(Peggy Sirota/GQ)

Bradley Cooper opens up about his struggle with drugs and alcohol, the Oscars and more in a new cover interview with GQ. The actor had a bad stint with booze and other substances in his 20s, and tells the magazine he got clean because “if I continued it, I was really going to sabotage my whole life.” Asked whether it affected his work, Cooper says, “I mean, it has to have. And to this day, of course, because it’s a life experience. And all I do is bring life experience. That’s all anybody really does. It’s inescapable.”

“Work was getting f*cked up,” admits the star. He explains, “The one thing that I’ve learned in life is the best thing I can do is embrace who I am and then do that to the fullest extent, and then whatever happens, happens. The more steps I do to not do that, the farther I am away from fulfilling any potential I would have.”

“So the answer to that question, then, is: Yes, of course it hindered the work,” says Cooper. When he got sober, everything clicked. He tells GQ, “I was doing these movies, and I got to meet Sandra Bullock and meet these people and work with them. And I’m sober, and I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m actually myself. And I don’t have to put on this air to be somebody else, and this person still wants to work with me? Oh, what the f*ck is that about?’”

“I was rediscovering myself in this workplace, and it was wonderful,” adds Cooper. His career skyrocketed, and he eventually earned an Oscar nomination for Silver Linings Playbook, an experience that was surreal. Cooper reflects, “Did I want to win it? I never thought that I would ever win it. So it wasn’t even a question of that.” It might surprise people to learn that the leading man is closer to his English major roots than his occasional frat guy on-screen persona. The star talks about his first reading of John Milton’s epic Paradise Lost with reverence. “Milton, bro? Milton. F*ckin’—that was the end of it. Motherf*cker’s 57 or whatever, blind, dictating it to his f*cking daughter-nurse — Paradise Lost? I mean, I just couldn’t… That poem f*cking killed me. Satan? That character was un-f*cking-believable. I could taste him in my mouth, dude, reading that. I really, really, for some reason, connected with that poem.”

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