Bradley Cooper is thanking his lucky stars for surviving past drug and alcoholism.
The Oscar-nominated actor opened up about his journey towards sobriety in a recent episode of National Geographic’s “Running Wild With Bear Grylls: The Challenge.” When asked by the eponymous adventurer about his “wild years,” Cooper was rather candid.
“‘The Hangover’ was pretty career changing,” he told Grylls. “I was 36 when that happened so I was already in the game for 10 years just banging around, so I didn’t get lost in fame. In terms of alcohol and drugs, yeah, but nothing to do with fame, though.”
The 48-year-old was “very lucky” to have accepted sobriety at 29 before the overwhelming fame took hold. Cooper, who shares a six-year-old daughter with Irina Shayk, was nearly knocked off-course when his father died of cancer in 2011.
“I definitely had a nihilistic attitude towards life after, just like I thought ‘I’m going to die,’” Cooper told Grylls. “I don’t know, it wasn’t great for a little bit until I thought I have to embrace who I actually am and try to find a peace with that, and then it sort of evened out.”
Cooper previously admitted he almost quit acting while starring opposite Jennifer Garner in “Alias.” He told GQ in 2013 he begged showrunner J.J. Abrams to write him off before realizing substance abuse was going to “sabotage [his] whole life” if he didn’t get sober.
Cooper said his career opportunities after becoming sober have been “a real blessing.”
He famously confronted those demons for the whole world to see after co-writing, directing and starring in “A Star is Born” (2018) to critically-acclaimed results. Grylls reminded him about that between snow-blanketed tasks in the canyons of the Wyoming Basin.
“That made it easier to be able to really enter in there,” he told Grylls. “And thank goodness I was at a place in my life where I was at ease with all of that, so I could really let myself go. I’ve been really lucky, Bear, with the roles I’ve had to play. I mean I really have.”
“It’s been a real blessing,” he continued. “I hope I get to keep doing it.”
Cooper’s seat at the table will surely stay open if his humility is any indication. The great outdoors could become a new refuge if it doesn’t, however, as he bravely ate a boiled bear tongue while encamped at dizzying heights and rappelled between cliffsides on his own.
Need help with substance use disorder or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.