Bradley Cooper on How Becoming a Dad Impacted His Self-Esteem: 'Everything Changed'

The actor opened up about how overcoming addiction and becoming a father helped him build genuine self-esteem for the first time in his life

Bradley Cooper,Lea De Seine Shayk Cooper
Photo: Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP

Bradley Cooper is getting candid about his personal journey with addiction and sharing how being a parent has put things in perspective for him.

The 47-year-old actor opened up about a difficult time in his life during his recent appearance on Amazon Music and Wondery's SmartLess podcast, hosted by Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, and Sean Hayes.

During the interview, Cooper shared that he felt "so lost" during the time in his life when his career was floundering, between his time on Alias, which ended when he was 29, and filming The Hangover at 36.

"I was so lost and I was addicted to cocaine — that was the other thing," he said, adding, "I severed my Achilles tendon right after I got fired-slash-quit Alias" and struggled with "zero self-esteem."

Cooper then recalled that Arnett was one of the people who helped him to realize he needed to make a change.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper. Vivien Killilea/Getty Images

Cooper and Arnett went on to discuss times when they struggled with their emotional and mental health as recovering addicts. They both noted that becoming a dad positively affected each of their journeys to have healthy relationships with themselves.

"Fatherhood is … everything changed," Cooper said. "Every single thing is absolutely shaded by, or brought into glorious colors, by the fact that I get to be a father to a wonderful human being."

"You have this wonderful thing or breakthrough with a script, or you have a wonderful moment on this set or in an editing room … you have like 40 of those moments every day with your kid, that are that level of joy. That's not spinning it, that's just the truth."

Irina Shayk and Bradley Cooper attend the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California
Daniele Venturelli/WireImage

"I did find for me that one of the things that it does do is that it accelerates your work on yourself," Arnett added of fatherhood, "because you want to not infect them with the crap you don't have figured out."

Cooper shares 5-year-old daughter Lea De Seine with ex Irina Shayk. He has previously been praised by Shayk as "the most amazing dad."

In a May 2021 interview with ELLE, she discussed their role as co-parents. "I never understood the term co-parenting," she said. "When I'm with my daughter, I'm 100 percent a mother, and when she's with her dad, he's 100 percent her dad. Co-parenting is parenting."

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, please contact the SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.

Related Articles