Bradley Cooper’s "A Star Is Born" Role Hits Close To Home For Sober Actor

By Beth Leipholtz 10/10/18

“Anytime you’re trying to tell the truth you need to go to places and use things that have happened to you, or you’ve read about or experienced.”

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga

As someone in long-term recovery, Bradley Cooper’s role of heavy-drinking musician Jackson Maine in A Star Is Born is one that isn’t too far off from his own experiences in the past, he tells Variety

“Anytime you’re trying to tell the truth you need to go to places and use things that have happened to you, or you’ve read about or experienced,” Cooper said. “And that’s all part of the beauty of turning whatever things you’ve gone through into a story. I find that to be very cathartic. I remember learning that in grad school, our teacher said all the insecurities, all the dark stuff you get to use that and that’s really the truth.”

The film, which hit theaters Oct. 5, has generated a lot of buzz and is being slotted as an award winner, with Forbes calling it the “movie to beat” at the Oscars. Cooper directed the film and co-starred alongside pop star Lady Gaga. 

Cooper first spoke publicly about his substance use battles and recovery in 2012, stating he had gotten sober at age 29 after his use of alcohol began affecting his work.

"I was so concerned [with] what you thought of me, how I was coming across, how I would survive the day," Cooper said at the time. "I always felt like an outsider. I realized I wasn't going to live up to my potential, and that scared the hell out of me."

In 2016, Cooper spoke to Barbara Walters about his recovery, crediting his recovery for his success in his career and his relationships.  

“I would never be sitting here with you, no way, no chance [if I hadn’t gotten sober]” he told Walters. “I wouldn’t have been able to have access to myself or other people, or even been able to take in other people, if I hadn’t changed my life. I never would have been able to have the relationships that I do. I never would have been able to take care of my father the way I did when he was sick. So many things.”

As of Oct. 8, A Star Is Born had earned $44 million in North America and $57 million worldwide. Cooper tells Variety that his biggest hope is that viewers forget they are watching Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga and instead get caught up in the story.

“I hope you just see the characters, that’s the point. From the opening that was one of the key things in structuring the movie and shooting it. I really want to make sure that you forgot it’s me and that you forgot it’s her right away, otherwise the story won’t work.”

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Beth is a Minnesota girl who got sober at age 20. By day she is a website designer, and in her spare time she enjoys writing about recovery at, doing graphic design and spending time with her boyfriend and three dogs. Find Beth on LinkedInInstagram and Twitter.