(X) Lady Gaga calls Bradley Cooper the “love of my life” during an emotional speech on stage

Lady Gaga calls Bradley Cooper the “love of my life” during an emotional speech on stage – this raised eyebrows as Cooper was still in a relationship with Irina Shayk at that time. Here’s a glimpse of Bradley Cooper’s life.

A Star Has Certainly Been Born: the Life of Bradley Cooper

This article was originally published on 12up.com and has been republished here with permission.

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He burst onto the world stage as a comedy actor in The Hangover and has gone on to become one of the most sought-after performers in Hollywood today. He’s now moved into producing, writing, and directing. After the phenomenal success of A Star is Born, it seems he has the world at his feet. But this multi-talented and undeniably beautiful actor is no stranger to scandal and hardships. Here are the facts about Bradley Cooper…

A Star is Born

Bradley Cooper was born in 1975, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His parents worked in the two industries that keep Hollywood alive: money and the media. His father was a stockbroker for the investment bank Merrill Lynch. His mother, on the other hand, worked in local television for a Philadelphia affiliate of NBC.

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With these two cornerstones of the entertainment industry represented so strongly in the family home, it’s no surprise Cooper grew up to be the screen star he is. There was also something else that Cooper’s parents gave to him which would undeniably help him out in his career: his looks.

Pretty From the Start

While Bradley Cooper is an undeniably beautiful man today, he claims that’s not how he was thought of as a child. “I never lived the life of ‘Oh, you’re so good-looking’,” Cooper told the Huffington Post in 2011. “People thought I was a girl when I was little, because I looked like a girl. Maybe because my mother would keep my hair really long”.


Cooper also remembers learning to cook at a very young age. “I used to have buddies come over after kindergarten and I’d cook them food. I prided myself in taking whatever was in the fridge and turning it into lasagna.”

The Elephant Man

As a boy, Bradley Cooper’s father, Charles, sat his son down to watch The Elephant Man, a movie about the severely deformed man, Joseph “John” Merrick, who lived in London in the late 1800s.

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The film inspired Cooper to ditch his other ambitions and turn his attention to acting. His parents were unsure at first, but then they saw Cooper play Merrick himself in an excerpt from the stage play of the same name. It was apparent immediately that he had a talent.

His Ex-Wife Is Calling Him Out

Bradley’s former spouse, Jennifer Esposito, has accused him of being a “master manipulator”. In her new book, Jennifer’s Way, the actress who was very briefly married to Cooper, characterizes a mysterious ex as “funny, smart, cocky, arrogant and a master manipulator”. It wasn’t long before readers and fans were able to identify the anonymous and mischievous ex as Bradley.

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Jennifer elaborated on their relationship, saying Bradley had a “mean, cold side”, and his personality “could flip on a dime.” She added: “I became very sad and I felt very alone,” after which the relationship “hit an all-time low” and within a week it was over. The break-up happened: “Abruptly, rudely, and with the exact callousness that I’d come to expect from him.” Ouch.

He Lived With His Mom in 2013—For A Good Reason

In 2011, Bradley’s father passed away after a long battle with cancer, so he decided to move in with his mother. “We’re surviving. Both of us. Let’s face it: It’s probably not easy for her, by the way, to be living with her son. It’s life,” he admitted. My family is very close, and my dad dying was brutal for all of us.

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2011 was one of Bradley’s busiest years, with Limitless and The Hangover II premiering, but the impact of his father’s death was a strong one.  “I think my father’s death addressed some of the fears or quandaries I had as a child about mortality,” he continued. “It was his parting gift to me. Watching [him] leave his body and go. Watching him die. All of a sudden I was like, ‘Oh, right, I’m going to die too.’

On the Doors

After graduating from Georgetown, Bradley Cooper moved to New York where he attended the Actors Studio Drama School. Although he would soon have no problem in finding paid acting work, that was not the case for 25-year-old Cooper and he was forced to find other ways to pay the bills.

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What job do you see the young Bradley Cooper in? A bartender? A part-time model? No, but if you were a visitor to the Morgans Hotel on Madison Avenue in the last years of the ’90s, you may have been greeted by a particularly good-looking doorman.

Jake in the City

“His name was Jake, he was everything I was looking for that night; single, straight, and a smoker.” That was how Carrie Bradshaw, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, introduced Bradley Cooper to the television world when he made his screen debut on Sex and the City in 1999.

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In the episode “They Shoot Single People, Don’t They?” Cooper is seen at first getting on well with the famous fictional New Yorker before inadvertently questioning a rather unflattering picture of her on the cover of a magazine.

Parle Français

Aside from his acting and cooking skills, Bradley Cooper also has a second language under his belt. After high school, he attended Georgetown University in Washington D.C. where he studied for a BA in English.

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As part of his course, Cooper signed up to an exchange program that saw him spend six months in Aix-en-Provence, an area of southern France near Marseille. There, Cooper became fluent in French. While at Georgetown, Cooper also indulged his acting ambitions by working with the University’s Nomadic Theatre, which claimed to focus on being “technically ambitious and socially engaged.”

Wet Hot Start

In 2001, Bradley Cooper appeared in a full-length feature film for the first time. Alongside huge names such as Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon, Paul Rudd, Christopher Meloni, Amy Poehler, and Michael Ian Black, Cooper appeared in the David Wain comedy Wet Hot American Summer as Ben, camp counselor and love interest of Michael Ian Black’s character, McKinley.

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The movie flopped at the time but went on to become something of a cult classic, even inspiring a Netflix mini-series in which Cooper also starred.

Missing Lanes

Bradley Cooper’s second movie role came alongside Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson in the 2002 thriller, Changing Lanes, but it wasn’t quite the breakthrough role Cooper might have hoped for.

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After spending his time on set portraying the character Gordon Pinella, Cooper was disappointed to find all his scenes finished up being discarded on the cutting room floor. After Cooper became a big name in Hollywood, however, some of his screen time was conveniently reinstated for the movie’s release on Blu Ray,


Although he picked up small recurring roles in the TV shows Globe Trekker and The Street, it could be argued Bradley Cooper’s first real break came in the J.J. Abrams spy drama, Alias.

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The NBC show, which also boosted the career of Jennifer Garner, ran for five seasons from 2001 to 2006. Cooper played the journalist Will Tippin, who was also best friends with Sydney Bristow, the lead character played by Garner. Cooper appeared in 46 of the show’s 105 episodes.

A Motherly Welcome

When Bradley Cooper took the long-term role in Alias, it meant moving west to Los Angeles. As the new boy in town, Jennifer Garner was one of the first Hollywood people he met, and he couldn’t have asked for a better person to ease him into the chaos of Tinseltown.

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Cooper described Garner as being “very maternal. She wanted to take care of me, make sure I was okay all the time.” That may be a side of Garner we’re used to seeing on screen today, but it was certainly at odds with her all-action, double-agent character in Alias.

Breaking the Mold

Up to, and including, Alias, Bradley Cooper had played largely what he described as “nice guy” roles, and he was a little worried about becoming typecast. That all changed when he was given the opportunity to play Zachary “Sack” Lodge in the 2005 romantic comedy, Wedding Crashers.

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Working alongside Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Christopher Walken, Rachel McAdams, and Isla Fisher, Cooper played the aggressive and overly competitive boyfriend of McAdams’ character Claire Cleary. Sack Lodge was anything but a “nice” guy, and Cooper played him brilliantly.

Kitchen Flop

You might have thought, with the kitchen prowess he showed at a young age, a role as a prominent chef might have been the perfect fit for Bradley Cooper. In 2005 he filmed 13 episodes of Kitchen Confidential, a sitcom based on a memoir from real-life celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain in which Cooper played the fictional lead role of Jack Bourdain.

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Sadly, the show wasn’t a hit. After three episodes the show was paused by the Fox network to make way for Major League Baseball coverage, after which it was reinstated for just one more episode before being canceled due to low ratings.

Meat Train

It took some time before Bradley Cooper turned into the box office gold he is today. During those years, he played a number of now lesser-known roles but continued to get strong reviews for his performances. In 2008, Cooper starred as Leon Kaufman in a horror movie adaptation of Clive Barker’s short story, The Midnight Meat Train.

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Cooper plays a freelance photographer who becomes embroiled in trying to track a serial killer, Though it only took $3.5 million at the box office, the movie was critically well-received. Perhaps not surprising considering its cast also featured Leslie Bibb, Brooke Shields, Ted Raimi and, the soccer player turned actor, Vinnie Jones.

Saturday Night Live

By 2009, Bradley Cooper was becoming a more familiar face on both the movie screen and in television but, in Hollywood terms, he was still relatively small fry. Then, on February 7, 2009, he was invited to host the famous NBC late-night weekend show, Saturday Night Live.

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Musical guests that night were TV on The Radio, but the most notable feature came when Cooper mocked fellow actor Christian Bale in a sketch. Nothing too out of the ordinary, except Cooper would need to share a set with Bale just a few years later in American Hustle.

The Hangover

If Alias can be credited with bringing Bradley Cooper to the attention of TV audiences, there is one movie that must take responsibility for turning him into a true global megastar. Cooper’s performance in Todd Phillips’ 2009 comedy, The Hangover, propelled the then 34-year-old actor to a new level.

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In it, Cooper played Phil, the leader of “The Wolfpack”, a small group of men who had arranged a bachelor party in Las Vegas and, after a night of heavy drinking, realized they had lost the groom. Taking almost $500 million at the box office and winning that year’s Golden Globe for Best Musical or Comedy Picture, the movie was an undoubted success.

A Raspberry Winner

2009 wasn’t all success for Bradley Cooper. Including The Hangover, Cooper appeared in five movies that year. One of these was All About Steve, in which he worked opposite Sandra Bullock. You’d be forgiven for assuming Bradley Cooper and Sandra Bullock was an undisputable winning combination, but that was not how things worked out.

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“All About Steve is an oddly creepy, sour film, featuring a heroine so desperate and peculiar that audiences may be more likely to pity than root for her,” wrote Rotten Tomatoes. Cooper and Bullock were given a Golden Raspberry Award for “Worst Screen Combo.”

Face and Body Man

In 2010, director Joe Carnahan created a big-screen version of the classic ’80s action series, The A-Team. Bradley Cooper was cast in the iconic role of Templeton “Faceman” Peck, made famous by Dirk Benedict. While Cooper has always had the perfect facial features to play the notorious “ladies’ man”, the actor didn’t feel he had the body to match.

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In preparation for the role, Cooper gave up not just sugar, but also salt and flour. He also threw himself into the gym with a punishing workout routine. He might have looked great, but it didn’t rescue the movie. Reviews were mixed at best and the receipts totaled just $70 million over budget.


2011’s sci-fi thriller Limitless marked Bradley Cooper’s first credit as an executive producer. The movie, based on a 2001 novel by Alan Glynn, saw Cooper playing Edward Morra, a struggling writer who gains access to an experimental drug that boosts his brainpower and unlocks limitless potential for his life.

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The movie, which also featured Robert De Niro, Abbie Cornish, and British former soap star Anna Friel, was a huge success, making over $160 million from a $27 million budget. It also further established Cooper as a first-choice Hollywood leading man.

Silver Linings Nominations

Up until 2012, Bradley Cooper, while now an accomplished actor, had done little to trouble the award committees. That all changed when Silver Linings Playbook was released. As the bipolar ex-teacher Patrick “Pat” Solitano, Jr., Cooper really turned heads. He was nominated for Best Actor awards at the Oscars, the BAFTAs, the Golden Globes, and the Critics Choice Awards alongside a whole host of other minor award nominations.

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While Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical at the Critics Choice Awards was the only major trophy Cooper ended up taking home, he was now firmly on the radar and it seemed it would only be a matter of time before he was adding more decorations to his mantelpiece. Silver Linings Playbook also marked Cooper’s first time working with actress Jennifer Lawrence, a partnership that would blossom beautifully in the years to come.

Dancing Shoes

While the movie is really about complex personal relationships and mental health, the main narrative device in Silver Linings Playbook is the preparation for a dance competition Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawerence’s characters enter together. We already knew Cooper can cook, but could he dance? The actor himself wasn’t so sure and he booked in for professional dance lessons with Mandy Moore, a choreographer for So You Think You Can Dance.

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Moore described Cooper as having “some real natural dancing ability.”. Lawrence, on the other hand, saw their dancing as much more chaotic. “None of that was improvised, absolutely not,” Lawrence said of the movie’s climactic scene. “I’m a terrible dancer, so I would never have been able to do any of that. When it finally came together, that scene really was just as fun as it feels.”

Everyday He’s Hustlin’

Bradley Cooper next teamed up with Jennifer Lawrence just a year later for the black comedy crime drama American Hustle. Also in the cast were Amy Adams and Christian Bale, who Cooper had poked fun at on Saturday Night Live just a few years earlier. Cooper played the FBI agent Richie DiMaso and earned himself another raft of award nominations.

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This time the Academy, the BAFTAs, and the Golden Globes all named Cooper as a potential winner for their Best Supporting Actor title. Once more, he left each ceremony empty-handed.

Three in a Row

2014 brought Bradley Cooper his third Academy Award nomination in as many years, something only nine other actors have ever accomplished. This time his nomination came in the Best Actor category for his intense lead performance in the Clint Eastwood-directed war biopic, American Sniper.

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Cooper received huge acclaim for his performance opposite Sienna Miller as one of the deadliest snipers in U.S. military history. Despite this being his third consecutive nomination, Cooper still ended the year without a statuette to call his own, The award that time went to Eddie Redmayne for his portrayal of Professor Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything.


2014 also saw another third for Bradley Cooper. Serena, a period drama, was the third movie Cooper had made in which he starred opposite Jennifer Lawrence. Slower and darker than their previous films together, it charted the relationship of a couple who turned to crime after discovering they could not have children.

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While some critics have stood behind the performances of both lead actors, the general response was of disappointment. “Serena unites an impressive array of talent on either side of the cameras,” wrote Rotten Tomatoes. “Then leaves viewers to wonder how it all went so wrong.” The movie also flopped commercially, losing more than $25 million.

Rocket Racoon

In stark contrast to his smoldering role in Serena, Bradley Cooper’s more successful film of 2014 saw him appearing on screen as a small raccoon. Rocket was Cooper’s character in the tongue-in-cheek Marvel movie, Guardians of the Galaxy – a family movie with a huge ensemble cast in which a group of mismatched heroes fights against a set of intergalactic criminals.

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Cooper didn’t trouble any award nominations for this one, perhaps due to appearing as a small rodent-like mammal, but the movie was a huge success, earning almost $800 million at the box office.

Elephant Returns

One of Bradley Cooper’s first-ever acting performances was in a short excerpt from The Elephant Man. So, when the show was revived for Broadway in 2014 and 2015, the Hollywood star was a natural choice for the role of Joseph “John” Merrick. Cooper became the sixth actor to take the title role in the production which had been originally performed in 1979 and revived once in 2002.

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Aside from the original and definitive performances of David Schofield, Merrick has also been played by Philip Anglim, David Bowie, Mark Hamill, and Bruce Davison. The Elephant Man featuring Cooper first ran for 13 weeks at the Booth Theatre in New York before moving to the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London for 12 more weeks. Cooper received a Tony nomination for his performances.

Ninja Ambitions

As a youngster, movies weren’t the first career on the mind of Bradley Cooper. Instead, he had a very specific goal. His dream was to get into the local Valley Forge Military Academy and College, which accepted students from the age of 12.

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Cooper’s plan was to graduate from the academy and then fly east. It was his genuine career goal to move to Japan and train to become a ninja. Not the most common choice for a boy from the eastern United States, but at least he’d have made it look good.

He’s Had His Struggles

Bradley Cooper hasn’t drunk alcohol since 2014, saying he believed it had the potential to ruin his life. “I was at a party and deliberately bashed my head on the concrete floor. Like, ‘Hey, look how tough I am!’ And I came up, and blood dripped down. And then I did it again. I spent the night at the [h]ospital with a sock of ice, waiting for them to stitch me up,” Cooper told The Hollywood Reporter in 2012.

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“I was so concerned what you thought of me,” he continued. “How I was coming across, how I would survive the day. I always felt like an outsider. I just lived in my head. I realized I wasn’t going to live up to my potential, and that scared the hell out of me. I thought, ‘Wow, I’m actually gonna ruin my life; I’m really gonna ruin it.’”

He Got Held Up At Knifepoint

Two years after it actually happened in October of 2019, Cooper revealed on Dax Shepard’s podcast that he had once been attacked at knifepoint in New York City while taking the subway. Of the harrowing experience, he said, “It was pretty insane. I realized I had gotten way, way too comfortable in the city. My guard was down…I looked down and I see a knife.” His reflexes kicked in and the actor was able to escape his would-be assailant, running out of the subway and flagging down two police officers to show them the images he had managed to snap of the perpetrator.

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Luckily, he was entirely unharmed and was able to return to finish the trip he had started. Just another day in the life of Bradley Cooper.

A Little Love

Considering his famous good looks and his standing in Hollywood, it’s surprising Bradley Cooper hasn’t been linked to more women over his career, but the actor seems to have been able to keep most of that side of his life on the down-low. He was married once, to fellow actor Jennifer Esposito, but it lasted less than a year before the couple divorced.


Cooper has also been linked for short times to Renée Zellweger, Zoe Saldana, and Suki Waterhouse. Perhaps his most significant relationship has been with the Russian model, Irina Shayk, who he dated from April 2015 to June 2019. The couple has a daughter together, Lea de Seine, who was born in March 2017.


In 2015, Bradley Cooper embarked on the fourth installment of his most significant on-screen relationship. The biographical and inspirational movie, Joy, was the fourth time Cooper shared lead credits with Jennifer Lawrence and, while it wasn’t the same runaway success of Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle, it did go some way to redeeming their partnership after the disappointment of Serena.

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Audiences and casting directors are both clearly attached to the combination of these two beautiful people, so we must only have to wait to see what collaboration number five brings.

Just Friends

As is always the case when Hollywood detects chemistry on screen, there has often been speculation about whether Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence have ever become romantic away from the set. Cooper has side-stepped the question by saying Lawrence was, at 15 years his junior, “too young”. Though that is a difficult reason to accept when he has dated at least one woman even younger than the Hunger Games actor.

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In truth, it seems to be more likely that the couple doesn’t want to ruin their friendship or professional relationship – or that Lawrence has simply never been interested.

The World Didn’t Know it Came Close to Losing Cooper as an Actor

In 2021, the movie Licorice Pizza was released with Cooper in a supporting role under director Paul Thomas Anderson. And as Cooper revealed in 2022, it was Anderson who prevented him from leaving the acting world entirely.

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Recalling how he hasn’t auditioned for anything since 2012, the actor revealed that the opportunity to work with Anderson was what excited him again: “I mean really, I think I’d open up a door in his movie. I’d do anything.” And as he later said that Anderson taught him things he “never knew” on set, we’d say it was well worth it.

He Became a Star

In 2018, Bradley Cooper produced, directed, wrote on, and starred in the fourth remake of the 1937 American musical, A Star is Born, and was named in three of the movie’s eight Academy Award nominations. The project, which also featured an Oscar-nominated performance from Lady Gaga, marked Cooper’s feature-length directorial debut and was a box office smash earning over $430 million from a $36 million budget.

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The movie, however, was far from easy to get off the ground. The idea was first discussed in 2011 with Cooper signing on in 2016, but it came with a lot of baggage, some of which put Cooper in a difficult position once filming got underway.

He Handled Accusations

After the premiere of A Star is Born at the Venice Film Festival, a story appeared on Jezebel claiming one of the movie’s producers had been sued for sexual harassment five times. Bradley Cooper reassured movie-goers the man’s involvement had been minor and historical, but he still took his responsibility to create a safe working environment seriously. “When you’re at the helm, it’s a huge responsibility,” Cooper said. “You have to create an environment where everybody feels safe. Everybody.”

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While he went on to admit he may have made different choices if he’d been aware of this man’s history, Cooper felt he had done only what was necessary to make the movie and he had been diligent in safeguarding everyone involved throughout the project. “You’d have to ask everybody who was involved,” Cooper conceded. “But I feel like that’s the environment I created.”

A Relationship Raised Eyebrows

The chemistry between Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga was undeniable in the film, but when it translated to real life, eyebrows raised as both stars were in relationships with others at the time: Bradley with Irina Shayk and Gaga with Christian Carino.

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When Gaga went up to the stage At the Critics’ Choice Awards in 2019 to accept her well-earned awards, she did extend a thanks to her partner, Christian, but directly after thanked Bradley in an emotional moment that saw her call him the “love of my life”.

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