The truth about Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga's relationship

Bradley Cooper's friends practically begged him not to choose A Star Is Born as his directorial debut, he told Entertainment Weekly. Not only did he run with his instincts and take a chance at making the iconic film, he also co-wrote the script, starred as the lead character — country rock star and alcoholic Jackson Maine, and revealed legitimate musical prowess. He also handpicked singer Lady Gaga (real name Stefani Germanotta) to star as his love interest — aspiring singer and songwriter Ally Campana. That decision paved the way for the actor and songstress to form an unbreakable bond. 

On camera and away from the set, they exude a natural and effortless comfort with one another. It's almost as if they're platonic soulmates — if such idyllic pairing exists. Not only did they have an instant connection when they first met, but we can't be the only ones who get chills when they perform the movie's hit song, "Shallow." They can't refrain from gushing about each other, and their PDA-filled red carpet appearances have raised so many eyebrows. Though they'd love for us to believe their relationship is strictly business — especially since Cooper is in a serious relationship with his supermodel baby mama, Irina Shayk — we know we're not the only ones who think there might be romantic feelings bubbling beneath the surface. 

Don't believe us? Keep reading to find out the truth about Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga's relationship.

Their 'instant connection'

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper briefly met on the set of Saturday Night Live "about five years ago," according to a 2018 Vogue article, but their first real meeting wouldn't take place until 2016, when Cooper was attending a "cancer benefit in [business mogul] Sean Parker's backyard in L.A." Lady Gaga was performing her rendition of the French song "La Vie en Rose" — the same tune she would later sing in A Star Is BornCooper admitted to W magazine that he "really didn't know who she was" initially, and maybe that was a good thing. If he knew Gaga as the flamboyant and eccentric singer who once had a thing for 10-inch stilettos and meat dresses, perhaps he would have hesitated to work with her professionally.

Instead, at the night of that backyard event, with her blonde hair "slicked back" away from her face, he saw her as a "stripped-down" musician who was serious about her craft. He told W he was "blown away" by her, and he knew right then and there that she had to play his love interest in A Star Is Born. He reportedly "called her agent the next day" and asked if he could stop by the singer's house to meet her. The answer was yes, and Gaga told Vogue she felt an "instant connection" on that day. "I was like, Have I known you my whole life?" she said.

It all started over a plate of pasta and meatballs

At the Venice Film Festival (via Variety), Bradley Cooper shared that within minutes of meeting Lady Gaga at her home, they shared a meal together. What was on the menu? Pasta and meatballs, according to People magazine. Great. Now we're hungry, but moving along…

Cooper added, "I love to eat — and that was actually a huge bond that we both came from East Coast Italian-American families. So we had a real synchronicity on that level from our upbringing." It wasn't just the delicious Italian cuisine that sealed the deal. Cooper also admitted he "fell in love with her face and eyes." Oh snap!

Gaga had a similar experience, telling Good Morning America (via People) that she and Cooper had "instant chemistry." They wrapped up the day by having a jam session at Gaga's piano and by making a pact. "I believed in her as an actress, and she believed in me as a musician. I wanted there to be a meta aspect to the film, and Stefani gave me that," he told W magazine.

He had an 'instinctual' feeling about her

Bradley Cooper has starred in a ton of movies, including American Sniper and The Hangover films, but A Star Is Born was a first for him. He was making his grand debut as a director and was faced with the tasks of showing his peers that he could become a multi-talented entertainer. Being a newbie director, he relied on his intuition when it came time to cast the film's leading lady. "It's all instinctual," he said in an interview with E! News. "I knew it when I met her."

By "it," he meant all of the positive attributes that the Joanne singer possessed. He not only described her as being "soulful and deep and open, and warm and caring," but he also added that she proved herself to be an "incredible actress." 

We couldn't agree more, so can they just get married already? This is a rhetorical question, but the answer is no. More on that in a bit.

She gave him the 'confidence' to record music

Bradley Cooper could've lip-synched his way through all of the movie's musical performances, but he really gave his all in the role of the spiraling-out-of-control character Jackson Maine. It was no easy task, but the actor and director "learned how to play guitar, worked with a vocal coach and a piano teacher for a year and a half, and wrote three of the songs [in the movie]," according to Vogue. How was he able to mine his musical talents without trepidation? It was "all because of Gaga," he told Vogue. "She really gave me the confidence."

She wasn't just there to give him a pat on the back. Gaga "sat with the actor in the studio" and answered his questions about "what goes on backstage during a big concert," reported the Los Angeles Times. Since Cooper's character battles addiction, Gaga also opened up to him about her own personal struggles and the "buffet of [drug] options" that became available to her when she became a superstar.  

He helped her ditch Gaga

When Bradley Cooper was awarded the American Cinematheque Award in November 2018, Lady Gaga was in attendance, of course. She took the podium alongside A Star Is Born co-star Sam Elliott, and she literally recited an open love letter to Cooper. Okay, not really, but she got so emotional during her speech that she had to fight back tears. Here's how it went down: She credited Cooper for helping her shed the image of Lady Gaga and embrace who she really is: Stefani Germanotta. "I ran from Stefani for a long time," she said, per Variety. "He challenged me to deep dive into a place where I had to see her again. Where I had to be Stefani again."

Gaga said she was "so grateful" that she can call on Cooper "as a friend." She added, "To cry and be myself, and have you never, ever judge me and still respect me as a professional. Thank you for that."

Aww, we're so loving this new vulnerable side of Gaga. Pass the Kleenex, please!

She went makeup-free thanks to him

When Lady Gaga first made her presence known on the pop music scene circa 2008, it was her eccentric and wild appearance that captured everyone's attention. However, when Bradley Cooper showed up at her house in 2016 to do a screen test for A Star Is Born, he wasn't impressed by her makeup application. On first sight, he reportedly "examined" the singer's "concealer, mascara, rouge" and immediately told her to "take it off," according to the Los Angeles Times. Armed with a makeup wipe, "he erased the colors from her forehead down to her chin." 

A raw and unfiltered co-star is what Cooper desired, and Gaga knew that if she was going to snag the role of Abby, she'd have to "completely let go and trust." She told the Times that stripping the makeup from her face helped her get into character. "Because when my character talks about how ugly she feels — that was real," she said.

Their code words transformed Gaga into an acting queen

If you're still unsure about Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga's intense bond up, what if we told you the A Star Is Born co-stars created their own "shorthand" while filming the movie? It all started when Gaga was having some trouble finding her groove on set. On the first day of shooting, Cooper deviated from the script, and Gaga couldn't keep up with his improvisations. "Are you OK?" he asked. She promptly burst into tears, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Her case of the jitters eventually melted away, and they became in sync thanks to a technique they developed. If Cooper wanted her to "evoke a feeling of warmth, he'd whisper Tony,' knowing that she has a close relationship with singer Tony Bennett," the Times reports. While thinking of Bennett, Gaga would get "a certain feeling of love" that would then shine through on screen. Other code phrases included "ninja" and "assassin," which we suspect helped Gaga morph into a complete badass — not that she needs much help in that department.

Is their friendship putting a damper on their respective love lives?

While the whispers about a budding romance between Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga rage on, it's easy to forget that the actor has been attached to supermodel Irina Shayk since 2015, according to Page Six. She gave birth to their daughter, Lea De Seine Shayk Cooper, in 2017, reported People. So, yeah. They're that serious. However, Page Six suggested in October 2018 that things aren't so hunky-dory between the couple. After being spotted "looking sulky" while on a dinner date, a source told the publication, "They are miserable together. They have been for months. He doesn't drink and is into spirituality. She wants to go out." 

The rumor mill went absolutely gaga (pun intended) after the songstress ended her engagement to talent agent Christian Carino in February 2019. "It just didn't work out. Relationships sometimes end," a source told People magazine. Yeah, sometimes relationships end when you're in love with someone else. We're only kidding … or are we?

It appears that Gaga has too much respect for Cooper and Shayk's relationship to come between them. While fans were shook over the fact that Shayk sat between Cooper and Gaga at the 2019 Academy Awards, Cosmopolitan noticed the ladies shared a hug and a laugh together. "[Shayk] and Gaga are basically BFF status," the magazine reported. We wouldn't go that far, but they're certainly cordial … we think?

So, about that tattoo...

To add even more fuel to the gossip flames, Lady Gaga showed off a brand new tattoo on her Instagram page, and some think the body art is a permanent tribute to Bradley Cooper. According to Cosmopolitan, the musical notes on her arm spell out G-A-G-A, but a Twitter user had a different interpretation: "The notes spelling GAGA in the treble clef, spell BCBC in the bass clef … they really complete each other…" BCBC, as in Bradley Cooper Bradley Cooper? OMG, y'all! 

As juicy as that theory sounds, Gaga offerend another explanation on Twitter. "I got my name, written in music … matching my bestie and manager @bobby_campbell." Oh.

On Valentine's Day 2018, Gaga also showed off a rose tattoo on her spine and an Instagram caption that read, in part: "A tattoo toast to 'la vie en rose.'" That's the name of the French song Gaga sang to capture Cooper's attention at the aforementioned charity shindig and the same tune she belted out in A Star Is Born. That makes not one but two tattoos in honor of the movie.

Screw the movie. It's all about Gaga

There was a ton of buzz about A Star Is Born before it even hit the box office, and once it made its motion picture debut, the accolades came pouring in. Even a movie critic at the Guardian was amazed by how the film captured "something fresh about falling in love." Gaga called appearing in the movie a "life-changing" experience — one that earned her the Academy Award for best original song for "Shallow."  

As for Bradley Cooper, he told People that "as great as this movie was," it's his friendship with Gaga that he will "take away forever." He called her an "incredible person" and counts himself "very lucky to have worked with her." To us, it sounds like working with Gaga may have been more rewarding than appearing in the movie itself! 

Only time will tell how this relationship evolves, but we'll keep watching and singing along every step of the way.