LOS ANGELES – The Hangover star Bradley Cooper is opening up about his struggles with substance use disorder. He talked about his lowest points in life during a recent episode of the National Geographic series Running Wild With Bear Grylls: The Challenge.
When Grylls asked Cooper about his wild years, Cooper responded that he was “lucky” after battling an alcohol and drug addiction in his 20s. He found recovery at 29 years old when his then-roommate and fellow actor Will Arnett confronted him about his problem.
Cooper says it wasn’t fame that drove him to abuse alcohol and drugs. Cooper previously shared that he started using cocaine and abusing alcohol after he injured his Achilles tendon and “got fired/quit” the series, Alias, in 2003. He revealed that he used chemicals to cope with low self-esteem and that his substance abuse problems were going to sabotage his life if he didn’t get help. He went into recovery before his first hit role in The Hangover.
In this more recent interview, Cooper admitted that he almost relapsed when his father died from lung cancer in January 2011.
“I definitely had a nihilistic attitude towards like after, just like I thought ‘I’m going to die,’” Cooper told Grylls. “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.”
Luckily, Cooper didn’t relapse and instead used his life experience to portray someone struggling with substance use disorder in the hit 2018 movie A Star Is Born.
“It made it easier to be able to really enter in there,” Cooper said to Grylls.
The 48-year-old has now been sober for 19 years and just finished filming for Maestro, a new Netflix movie about the legendary composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein.