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Bradley Cooper Reveals How His Daughter Kept Him Alive

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Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper made an appearance on Dax Shepard’s podcast, "Armchair Expert," to discuss just how far he’s come on his personal growth journey.

He spoke to how his own childhood affected how he approaches parenting, and how he’s raising his daughter, Lea, in different ways than he was raised.

Bradley Cooper revealed that his daughter’s existence has kept him alive.

He made the connection between working on himself for the sake of his own growth, while recognizing how that growth has healed him and helped him be a better father.

Cooper noted that he was led to work on himself “because I’m a father,” seeking to do “the least amount of damage I can do to my daughter.”



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In his conversation with Shepard, Cooper, 49, discussed breaking down the narrative he had crafted around his own childhood, and how forming a new narrative opened him up to being a better, more fulfilled version of himself.

“When I started to do this work of reevaluating the foundation of my life, and trying to look at it with a more critical eye on honesty and reflecting on true memory, I found that the benefit is, I’m much more present in my life,” he explained. “All of a sudden, I’m willing to be more expressive, creative, present, giving, boundaried.”



Cooper was candid about the ways he looked inward, trying to decipher his own upbringing so as not to repeat his parents’ mistakes.

“I was playing a game my whole childhood, a survival game, because things were not as they seemed. Growing up with alcoholism in a family is a very specific way to grow up,” Cooper shared. “What you think is real, you find out isn’t real, and it’s earth-shattering… All you do is dissect behavior like a scientist to try to understand what’s real.”

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He touched on his own 20 years of sobriety, noting that it allows him to be present, which in turn, allows him to be a better father.

“Honestly, I’m not sure I’d be alive if I wasn’t a dad,” Cooper shared. 

He spoke of his daughter’s birth as a grounding moment for him, sharing, “I just needed someone to say, ‘We’re gonna drop this massive anchor.’”

Cooper lost his father to cancer in 2011. His dad’s death ushered in “a new reality” for Cooper, who held his father in his arms as he took his final breath.

"It was instantaneous," he told the New York Times. "It wasn’t like, months later. It was like, his last exhale, and I was holding him, and it was like, everything changed."

The deep love Cooper had for his father was eventually broadened by looking back at his childhood and recognizing that the foundation he was raised with wasn’t as sturdy as he’d told himself.



He discussed how he’s creating a new path forward for his 6-year-old daughter, by breaking the generational trauma brought upon by addiction.

Speaking of being raised in a family affected by alcoholism, Cooper shared, “To have a child not grow up in that way… I want her to have, as much as she can, a foundation that’s like 25 feet thick, cement, that she can walk on this earth with. That’s the goal.”

“I can just feel the safety that she feels. It’s so tangible; it’s palpable,” he added. “That is so fulfilling.”

Parenting his own daughter has been a lens through which Cooper can look back on his life, acknowledging that the good parts and hard parts co-existed.

Cooper's realization is a relatable one. We all reach a point in our adult lives when we realize our parents are not infallible. But it's within that knowledge that we can say, "I know I will mess up too, but I'm going to try and be better."

His purpose, now, is to raise his daughter with a level of safety that he didn’t know, and that is a gift that nurtures them both.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, help is available. Reach out 24/7 to SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or text 435748 (HELP4U) to find help near you.

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.