Brad Pitt says Bradley Cooper helped him get sober

"I got sober because of this guy and every day has been happier since," the "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" star said.
Image: Brad Pitt, Bradley Cooper
Actor Brad Pitt, left, accepts the best supporting actor award for "Once Upon A Time in Hollywood," from actor Bradley Cooper at the National Board of Review's awards gala Jan. 8, 2020, in New York.Evan Agostini / AP

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By Gwen Aviles

Actor Brad Pitt credited fellow actor Bradley Cooper with encouraging him to become sober while accepting an award at the National Board of Review's annual gala Wednesday night.

“Thank you, Bradley. Bradley just put his daughter to bed and then rushed over to do this,” Pitt said upon taking the stage after Cooper's introduction. "I got sober because of this guy and every day has been happier since."

Pitt, 56, was recognized with the best supporting actor award for his portrayal of Cliff Booth, the stunt double of veteran actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) in the 2019 film "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood." He first spoke about his sobriety in a May 2017 interview with GQ, stating that although he appreciated wine, he "didn't want to live that way any more." More recently, he told The New York Times that he spent nearly two years in recovery with Alcoholics Anonymous after his divorce from Angelina Jolie.

"I had taken things as far as I could take it, so I removed my drinking privileges," Pitt told the Times. “You had all these men sitting around being open and honest in a way I have never heard. It was this safe space where there was little judgment, and therefore little judgment of yourself."

While he has discussed quitting drinking before, Wednesday's awards ceremony marked the first time he mentioned Cooper's role in encouraging him to become sober.

Cooper, 45, has been sober for more than 15 years and told the Hollywood Reporter in a 2012 interview that he quit drinking because he thought it would "ruin" his life.

"I don't drink or do drugs anymore," Cooper said. "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.'"

The industry titans, both of whom have received at least six Oscar nominations, have reportedly been friends for years and were recently seen catching up at the American Film Institute Awards in Los Angeles.

"He's a sweetheart," Pitt said of Cooper during his acceptance speech. "I love you and I thank you."