Bradley Cooper Opens Up About Being “Addicted to Cocaine” in His Twenties

Bradley Cooper credits Will Arnett with helping get his life on the right track after struggling with cocaine addiction throughout his twenties.

The actor appeared on the latest episode of the SmartLess podcast hosted by Arnett, Jason Batemanand Sean Hayes where he got candid about his past, his career, and his journey towards sobriety. Cooper told them that he was let go from the show Alias in the early 2000s due in part to his battle with some substance abuse issues. “I was so lost and I was addicted to cocaine—that was the other thing,” he said, adding that he also, “severed my Achilles tendon right after I got fired slash quit Alias.” The Nightmare Alley star confessed that it also didn’t help that he had “zero self-esteem” at the time.

Cooper explained that the one good thing about struggling with these types of insecurities and addiction so early on in his life was that he had “the benefit” of getting it all out of the way before his career really took off at the age of 29 when he was thrust into the public eye. “I thought I made it when I got a Wendy’s commercial. In terms of the ‘made it’ thing, that’s when I made it,” he said. “But I definitely did not feel [it]moving to Los Angeles for Alias feeling like I was back in high school. I could not get into any clubs, no girls wanted to look at me.” Because of that, he confessed, he “was totally depressed. It wasn’t really until The Hangover. I was 36 when I did The Hangover, so I got to go through all those things before fame even played into my existence on a daily level. So all that happened before any of that.”

Arnett added that being older and “having those realizations and having that change” maybe allowed Cooper to be a more authentic version of himself. The actor replied, “It’s true. I definitely made major breakthroughs at 29 to 33, 34, where at least I was able to stand in front of somebody and breathe and listen and talk.” He then went on to note that it was actually Arnett and a conversation they had about his own struggles with alcoholism in 2004 that helped set Cooper off on a “path of deciding to change my life.”

Cooper explained that he was living next to the Arrested Development star at the time and they had gone out to dinner with another friend the previous night and Arnett asked him how he thought the night had gone. Cooper said he felt great about it, especially how funny he’d been, but Arnett told him, “You were a real asshole.” The actor continued, “And that was, like, the first time I ever realized I had a problem with drugs and alcohol. And it was Will saying that to me, and I’ll just never forget it.” Arnett said that he’s loved seeing the “difference” in Cooper in the years since then, adding, “It has been awesome seeing you in this place and seeing you comfortable. Nothing has made me happy. It’s made me happy to see you so happy with who you are.”

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