In a candid new interview on the podcast Smartless, the actor and director told hosts and friends Will Arnett, Jason Bateman and Sean Hayes that no amount of public acclaim could cure him of his inner conflict — but becoming a father surely helped.
“Fatherhood is ... everything changed,” he said of welcoming his now 5-year-old daughter, Lea De Seine Shayk Cooper, with ex-girlfriend Irina Shayk. “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. It’s just the absolute greatest thing.”
The 47-year-old continued, explaining parenting provides endless joy-filled moments.
"You have this wonderful thing or breakthrough with a script, or you have a wonderful moment on a set or wonderful moment in an editing room … you have like 40 of those moments every day with your kid that are that level of joy,” he said. “And that's not spinning it, that's just the truth."
Even cleaning Lea after she uses the toilet is considered “the f**king best moment of my life right now,” according to Cooper.
“People keep saying, ‘It flies by.’ And I’m like, ‘I guess so?’ I have not experienced that,” he added, “I feel like I have changed 20,000 diapers. It’s like groundhog day. Things couldn’t progress faster.”
In the interview, Cooper openly discussed his past addiction to drugs and alcohol, crediting Arnett with helping him realize he had a problem in July 2004.
“Will Arnett is the reason that I was like, ‘Oh,’” he said, explaining that he had “zero self-esteem” and “was so lost” after he left Alias and severed his Achilles tendon.
“And I was addicted to cocaine, that was the other thing," Cooper added.
Thankfully, Cooper said he “touched bottom” and was able to work on himself before he became famous amid the release of The Hangover films. He believes it would’ve been even harder to recover while in the Hollywood spotlight.
“I definitely made major breakthroughs at 29 to 32, 33, 34, where at least I was able to stand in front of somebody and breathe and listen and talk,” Cooper said of receiving treatment.
Of becoming a parent, Cooper agreed that it forces you to try to be the best version of yourself for your children.
"I did find for me that one of the things that it does do is that it accelerates your work on yourself," Bateman said of fatherhood, "because you want to not infect them with the crap you don't have figured out."
“Yes, 100 percent,” Cooper said.