By Thailan Pham Johnny Dodd
June 21, 2010 12:00 PM

At 6’1″ with a size 14 shoe, Bradley Cooper is a Hollywood rarity: a big leading man. And when he eyes our reporter’s boots during his chat with PEOPLE, he’s thrilled to meet someone else with commodious clodhoppers. “What size are those?” he asks.

I wear a 13. Anything you’d care to debunk-or embellish-about the meaning of big feet?

Oh, you mean … big socks! What else is connected with big feet? Hmm. A lot of tripping.

What was it like seeing yourself so pumped up in The A-Team?

When I first saw myself, I thought it was a joke. Like someone put my head on another person’s body. For a while I was e-mailing my friends pictures of me, saying, ‘Dude, check this out!'”

How long did the muscles last? Are you human again?

I shrunk back down two weeks after we finished shooting. It was depressing. Before that, I spent much longer brushing my teeth [to look at myself in the mirror].

What was the hardest part about getting so buff?

No carbs. I was craving pizza so badly that the night we finished shooting I ate two arugula and prosciutto pies and a plate of Cherry Garcia ice cream with trail mix on top of it. And I did it again the next night.

How did The Hangover change your life?

In a lot of ways-all of them good. I have way more opportunities now to work. I’ve been doing this long enough to know it can be gone in an instant. We start shooting Hangover 2 in the fall.

What’s your ideal date night?

Just being comfortable, when you can laugh. I’m not big on the pageantry of a date, though.

What’s the sexiest thing you’ve done to woo a woman?

Getting on a plane to go get them.

Is it weird reading about your love life in the press?

At first it was shocking how untrue everything was. Dates with women I’ve never had, houses I’ve never owned in areas I could never afford. I was one of those people who believed what they read [in supermarket tabloids], except for the aliens and stuff.

Are you still an avid cook?

The last time I cooked was Christmas dinner for 15 people. My mom’s Italian, so we make a lot of Italian food when my parents [dad Charlie and mom Gloria] come to visit [from Cooper’s hometown outside Philadelphia]. I’m a big sushi fan, but my folks won’t eat it.

Do you find yourself having to explain your life to your parents?

No. My mom reads all about it on the Internet!