Bradley Cooper admits it took him several months to ‘really love’ daughter Lea

Bradley Cooper with inset image of Cooper with daughter - Bradley Cooper opens up about daughter
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Even though we’re made to believe that parents instantly fall head over heels in love with their babies upon meeting them, the reality is often a little more complicated. Bradley Cooper is sharing his experiences after becoming a first-time parent, revealing that it took him several months to “really love” his daughter Lea after she was born in March 2017.

Cooper served as a guest on Monday’s episode of Dax Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast, and he opened up to Shepard and co-host Monica Padman about missing that instant connection with Lea upon her birth.

It seems that he didn’t immediately understand when fellow parents say “I would die in a second for my kid,” telling Shepard that it took longer for him to feel those emotions. “If I’m being honest, the first eight months, I’m like, ‘I don’t even know if I really love the kid,'” he said. “It’s dope. It’s cool. I’m watching this thing morph. (I’m) fascinated by it. Love taking care of it. (But) would I die if someone came in with a gun?”

He added that when he did feel that love, it came on “all of a sudden,” and that he would “die” for Lea “no question,” citing the instinctual drive that parents have to protect their kids.”Your DNA is going to tell you that there’s something more important than you,” he said.

Bradley Cooper poses with daughter at Maestro premiere
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Padman applauded Cooper for his “honesty,” noting that “a lot of” parents feel the same way but that they’re “afraid” to share their feelings openly. “My experience was totally that,” Cooper said.

Now, it seems parenthood has given his life a special purpose, noting that he’s not sure he would “be alive if I wasn’t a dad.” The actor/director struggled with addiction in his twenties, and he’s glad his daughter gets to see him sober.

“If it was just alcohol, I think I would have carried the lineage of my predecessors, and I’d be 50, I’d be a dad thinking that drinking’s fine. And then one day, my daughter would see me the way I saw my dad, and who knows what I would do,” he said.

Cooper also shared how he’s trying to be a more present and engaged father with Lea, whom he shares with ex-girlfriend Irina Shayk. He says he’s “already logged more hours with my daughter” than he ever did with his own dad, adding, “The sheer amount of time that my daughter and I have hung out is bonkers. I just can feel the safety that she feels. It’s so tangible. It’s palpable. That is so fulfilling.”

He also heaped praise on Lea, sharing that he and Shayk love her “ability to articulate her feelings at 6 years old,” joking, “I don’t even think I found what my speaking voice was really like until, like, a couple of years ago.”

Props to Cooper for being so candid about something that plenty of parents—new dads in particular—can no doubt relate to, even if it’s not the popular narrative most people are given.