Bradley Cooper Opens Up About Drug & Alcohol Abuse

In a recent interview with GQ, Bradley Cooper shared details and insight on his former drug and alcohol abuse. The Oscar-nominated star of The Silver Linings Playbook was candid about how his addiction affected his career.

Bradley Cooper Drug & Alcohol Abuse: Life Before the A-List

Before his star-making turns in The Hangover trilogy, 38-year-old Cooper had minor supporting roles in TV shows like Alias and films like The Wedding Crashers. Looking back now, Cooper asserts that his drug and alcohol abuse “hindered” his abilities and had a direct, negative affect on his career. His addiction prevented him from “fulfilling his potential” as an actor. Cooper says he had to put up a front while working with others in the industry, and that he was consumed with how he appeared to others — and how he “would survive the day.”

A Turning Point

Cooper says he eventually realized that his drug and alcohol use could “sabotage [his] whole life” and thus he decided to go clean at age 29. The turning point came after a night of raucous partying when Cooper purposefully banged his head against a concrete floor
to show others how “tough” he was. He sustained an injury and had to be treated at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Los Angeles.

An Accelerating Career

At that point, Cooper gave up drugs and alcohol, and then his career began to flourish. Though he waded into leading man roles — such as his turn in horror film Midnight Meat Train or 2009 rom-com flop All About Steve — with little critical or commercial success, Cooper says he started “rediscovering myself in this workplace, and it was wonderful.” Despite not being fulfilled creatively by the roles, they served as a launching pad for his future career.

A Promising Future

Nine years sober, Cooper has hindsight on his drug and alcohol abuse which helps him stay sober. He realizes he would never reach his fullest potential when hampered by his addictions.

Now, the only way his past drug and alcohol abuse affects his current work comes in the form of inspiration. Like many actors, Cooper relies on “life experiences” when performing, meaning his past addictions inform his work as an actor. Cooper serves as a great example for others struggling with drug and alcohol abuse, as his story shows that you can pull yourself out of a downward spiral and still achieve great success.

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