US actor Bradley Cooper arrives for the 2022 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 20...

Bradley Cooper Talked About How His Father's Death Impacts How He Parents His Daughter

The actor shares his 6-year-old daughter Lea with his ex, Irina Shayk.

by Kaitlin Kimont

Bradley Cooper is a proud dad to his 6-year-old daughter Lea and works hard to make sure he doesn’t pass on any of his own past traumas to her. While the Guardians of the Galaxy star rarely discusses parenting, Cooper is celebrating 19 years of sobriety and recently opened up about how he knows he’ll make mistakes while raising his daughter, who he shares with his ex Irina Shayk, and hopes she’ll be able to learn from them.

In a Season 2 episode of National Geographic’s Running Wild with Bear Grylls: The Challenge, which takes the two men through the canyons of the Wyoming Basin, Cooper chatted with Grylls about how his father’s death has affected him as a father. Cooper’s father Charles died in 2011 after a battle with lung cancer and the actor told Oprah Winfrey that he took his “last breath” in his arms.

“I wish my dad was around the enjoy more of it,” Cooper told Grylls, referring to his success. “But we all recognize how lucky we’ve been... It was a blessing though, he gave me a huge gift. He died in my arms, to see that kind of factual example of mortality.”

“Did that change how you look at things?” Grylls asked.

“Oh yeah. In some ways for the worse,” Cooper responded. “Ya know, I definitely had a nihilistic attitude after for a little bit, just like I [thought], ‘I’m going to die.’ It was not great for a little bit.”

Bradley Cooper and his daughter Lea Cooper in New York City in 2021. Gotham/GC Images/Getty Images

Cooper went on to explain that he was eventually able to find peace and shared how that experience affected how he approaches fatherhood. “I mean, you learn from your predecessor’s mistakes,” Cooper told Grylls. “And I’ll make tons that hopefully Lea will learn from, and then being rigorous with myself to grow. To help unburden her with any of my bullsh*t. ... It just makes life much better.”

The Hangover star has previously talked about how fatherhood has changed him and his perpsective on life. In an interview with Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, and Sean Hayes on their Smartless podcast, Cooper said fatherhood change “everything” for him, specifically as a recovering addict.

“Fatherhood is … everything changed,” Cooper told the hosts in 2022. “Every single thing is absolutely shaded by, or brought into glorious colors, by the fact that I get to be a father to a wonderful human being. ... You have this wonderful thing or breakthrough with a script, or you have a wonderful moment on this set or in an editing room … you have like 40 of those moments every day with your kid, that are that level of joy. That’s not spinning it, that’s just the truth.”