"Joy did a whole lot for me," Lady Gaga said in the press room following her performance of "Shallow" alongside Bradley Cooper and subsequent Oscar win

By Jen Juneau
February 25, 2019 09:39 AM
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Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper‘s chemistry is palpable in front of the camera for a very good reason: Their offstage support for each other is unmatched.

Before the actors took to the stage to perform “Shallow” from their hit film A Star Is Born (which clinched the Best Original Song Oscar for Gaga), Cooper had a sweet and encouraging message for his friend and costar.

” ‘One of the hardest things in life is to be brave enough to be yourself. I wish to everyone that is going to that celebration to feel a joy inside of them,’ ” Gaga, 32, recounted in the press room after the show.

“That’s actually what Bradley said to me yesterday, right before we did our last rehearsal for this performance of ‘Shallow,’ ” she continued. “He said, ‘Let’s just drop a little bit of joy.’ And I said, ‘Okay.’ And turns out, joy did a whole lot for me.”

Lady Gaga Bradley CooperCredit: ABC
Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper
| Credit: ABC
91st Annual Academy Awards - Backstage
Lady Gaga
| Credit: Matt Petit/A

Following the steamy performance, Cooper’s girlfriend, Irina Shayk, led the standing ovation while Gaga and the actor smiled and hugged as they walked off the stage. They came back out arm-in-arm during the following commercial break to huge cheers from the entire house.

91st Annual Academy Awards - Show
Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty

After nailing the rendition of the song, Gaga and Cooper made their way backstage, where they hugged tightly as they were met with a swarm of claps from well-wishing production staff.

While taking in the congratulations and asking, “Did I nail it?” the “Bad Romance” hitmaker looked at Cooper, 44, and said, “I’m so f—ing proud of you!”

Be sure to check out PEOPLE’s full Oscars coverage to get the latest news on film’s biggest night.

91st Annual Academy Awards - Show
Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper
| Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty

RELATED VIDEO: Oscars 2019: Lady Gaga Wins For Best Original Song

As predicted, “Shallow” — the biggest contender for Best Original Song at the Oscars — took home the coveted statuette. The award went to Gaga, along with co-writers Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt.

In her acceptance speech, the singer teared up as she thanked those who are closest to her, including Cooper.

“My family is here. I love you, mom and dad,” Gaga said. “Bradley, there is not a single person on the planet that could’ve sung this song with me but you. Thank you for believing in us. Thank you so much.”

The 91st Academy Awards were broadcast live from Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 24, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC.