Bradley Cooper Recalls Being 'Addicted to Cocaine' and Feeling 'Totally Depressed' in His Late 20s
By Zach Seemayer
Amy Sussman/Getty Images
Bradley Cooper is looking back at his past struggles with mental health and addiction, and reflecting on how he managed to change his life around.
The Nightmare Alley star joined Will Arnett, Jason Bateman and Sean Hayes for an episode of their podcast, Smartless, released on Monday, and opened up about the events early in his career when he realized just how "lost" he truly felt.
Cooper recalled a time when he was 29, and Arnett -- who has been a friend to Cooper for years -- had a difficult conversation with him about his behavior and his acerbic sense of humor, which Cooper didn't realize he'd started taking too far.
The actor explained that, at the time he had "zero self-esteem," and that he felt his mean jokes and biting sarcasm were innocuous, explaining, "I didn't think I was hurting anybody, because how could I if I was worthless?"
"I was so lost... and I was addicted to cocaine, you know, that was the other thing," Cooper explained, adding that he'd also "severed my Achilles tendon" right after he left Alias in 2003 -- which added to his emotional turmoil.
For Cooper, moving to Los Angeles to shoot Alias felt like he "was back in high school."
"I could not get into any clubs, no girls wanted to look at me. I was totally depressed," Cooper shared. "It wasn’t really until The Hangover, and 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," he said of how his biggest personal troubles weren't caused by fame but by emotional issues. "So all that happened before any of that."
Ultimately, Cooper credits Arnett for that one fateful conversation that the actor feels allowed him his first moments of self-realization and led to him reexamining himself and his behavior.
"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," Cooper shared.
"It's been awesome seeing you in this place and seeing you comfortable. Nothing has made me happier," an emotional Arnett shared with Cooper. "It’s made me happy seeing you so happy with who you are."
"Every single thing is absolutely shaded by or brought out in glorious color by the fact that I get to be a father to a wonderful human being," Cooper marveled. "It is just the absolute greatest thing."
The actor later explained how he's currently in New York shooting a film, and is with his little girl while production is underway. Being sober and mentally healthy has given him the clarity of mind to know when to ask for help from others.
"Here's another thing about being sober and having humility is, like, I realize I can't do this movie and take care of Lea without any help," he shared. "So, literally tonight, like minutes away, someone is coming that's gonna stay in New York and help out until the end of the shoot. Which I never would have done, but thank goodness I'm doing it."
For more on Cooper's adorable daughter and his love of fatherhood, check out the video below.