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Bradley Cooper reflects on being sober for 19 years: ‘I was lucky’

The Oscar nominee says his past struggles with alcohol and drugs “made it easier” for him to really let go for A Star Is Born.

Lester Fabian Brathwaite

In the season 2 premiere of the Nat Geo celebrity adventure series, Grylls takes the Oscar nominee to the Wyoming Basin, where he faces harsh winds, towering heights, and a winter storm.

After zip-lining across a 100-foot ravine, Cooper reflects on how “lucky” he is to be sober for the past 19 years.

Bear Grylls and Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper and Bear Grylls

| Credit: National Geographic for Disney/Jeff Ellingson

The actor says he was fortunate to get famous incrementally instead of all at once, explaining that he was 36 when The Hangover hit and had already been “in the game for 10 years just bangin’ around.”

“I didn’t get lost in fame,” the Maestro star tells Grylls, who notes that Cooper “definitely had some wild years.”

“In terms of alcohol and drugs, yeah. But that had nothing to do with fame, though,” Cooper admits. “But I was lucky, y’know? I got sober at 29 years old. And I’ve been sober for 19 years.”

Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper

| Credit: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Arnett had stopped by Cooper’s place In 2004, noticing that it was late afternoon and he still hadn’t let his dogs out to go to the bathroom. “That was the first time I ever realized I had a problem with drugs and alcohol,” Cooper said. “It was Will saying that to me. I’ll never forget it… It changed my entire life.”

Cooper went on to tell Grylls that his struggles with alcohol informed his performance as an addict in 2018’s A Star Is Born, which he also co-wrote, co-produced, and directed.

“It made it easier to really enter in there,” Cooper says of the role in the episode. “And thank goodness I was at a place in my life where I was at ease with all that. So I could really let myself go.”

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