Bradley Cooper presented the Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood star with the award for best supporting actor at the National Board of Review Annual Awards Gala

By Dana Rose Falcone Mary Park
January 09, 2020 10:41 AM

Brad Pitt has a famous friend to thank in his journey to getting sober.

The actor first opened up about getting sober in 2017 and has since been vocal about how going to Alcoholics Anonymous helped him on his path.

It turns out someone else inspired his sobriety journey as well: fellow actor Bradley Cooper, who presented Pitt, 55, with the award for best supporting actor for Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood at the National Board of Review Annual Awards Gala in New York City on Wednesday night.

“Bradley just put his daughter to bed and rushed over here to do this,” Pitt said at the beginning of his speech of Cooper’s 2-year-old daughter Lea De Seine. “He’s a sweetheart. I got sober because of this guy and every day has been happier ever since.”

Brad Pitt (left) and Bradley Cooper at The National Board of Review Annual Awards Gala in New York City on Jan. 8.
Kevin Mazur/Getty

In September, the Ad Astra star told the New York Times, “I removed my drinking privilege,” and started going to a male Alcoholics Anonymous because he’d “taken things as far as I could take it.”

“You had all these men sitting around being open and honest in a way I have never heard,” Pitt, who picked up a Golden Globe on Sunday for his Once Upon a Time… performance, told the Times of going to AA. “It was this safe space where there was little judgment, and therefore little judgment of yourself.”

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Pitt told GQ in 2017 he gave up alcohol because “[I] don’t want to live that way anymore.”

“I just ran it to the ground,” Pitt said. “I had to step away for a minute. And truthfully I could drink a Russian under the table with his own vodka. I was a professional. I was good.”

Brad Pitt accepting his award at The National Board of Review Annual Awards Gala in N.Y.C. on Jan. 8.
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

While Pitt frequently discussed his sobriety in recent years, especially while promoting Once Upon a Time … and Ad Astra in 2019, Cooper has kept his choice relatively private. But in 2015, the seven-time Oscar nominee told Barbara Walters he stopped drinking in his late twenties, calling the lifestyle change “beautiful.”

“I would never be sitting here with you, no way, no chance,” Cooper told Walters, 90, on ABC News in December 2015. “Because I wouldn’t have been able to have access to myself or other people or even take in other people if I hadn’t changed my life, no way. And I never would’ve been able to have relationships that I do. I never would have been able to take care of my father the way I did when I was sick. So many things.”

  • Reporting by MARY PARK
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