Times Bradley Cooper's Parenting Confessions Caused An Uproar

Bradley Cooper prefers to keep his daughter, Lea De Seine, out of the spotlight and out of interviews. That may be a smart move, considering he has a penchant for making controversial comments about parenthood. From admitting he found it hard to connect with Lea when she was a baby to opening up about nudity and using the bathroom in front of her, Cooper has many saying he should keep some of his thoughts to himself. 

While many of Cooper's parenting confessions have drawn criticism from the general public, those closest to him have praised his childrearing skills. Cooper's ex and mother of his kid, Irina Shayk, is one of them. "He's the best father Lea and I could dream of. It always works, but it always works because we make it work," she told Elle in 2023. While Shayk and Cooper broke up in 2019, they maintained a positive relationship, and Shayk has opened up positively about parenting with Cooper — parenting, not co-parenting.

"When I'm with my daughter, I'm 100% a mother, and when she's with her dad, he's 100% her dad," she told Elle in 2021, explaining why she dislikes the popular term for separated people who share children. "Co-parenting is parenting." Cooper has also opened up about how fatherhood changed him for the better, telling NPR in 2018 that Lea taught him to focus on the present. Cooper sounds like an involved and loving parent, but his honest take on some aspects of parenting has gotten us all talking.

Bradley Cooper confessed he struggled with bonding

In February 2024, Bradley Cooper drew criticism when he admitted he didn't immediately feel love for Lea. Speaking on Dax Shepard's "Armchair Expert" podcast (via InStyle), he described how he struggled to bond with her. "The first eight months — I don't even know if I really love the kid," he said. That's not to say he neglected Lea. It was the deeper sentiments that confused him. "Loved taking care of it. But would I die if someone came in with a gun?"

Some passed judgment on Cooper, contending what he felt was abnormal. "I felt connected to my son before he was out of the womb. This is strange," one user wrote on X, previously known as Twitter. Many others argued he should have kept his feelings to himself. "Someday she will read this and it will affect her," one commented. Yet others questioned Cooper's use of the pronoun "it" to refer to her. "Kid's gonna be blessed with unlimited pronouns," one user joked.

Despite the backlash, Cooper also drew praise for having the courage to discuss an issue considered taboo. "Nobody wants to say it out loud but it takes time for a father to bond with a baby," one user noted. According to the nonprofit Mental Health America, bonding can be harder for fathers for many reasons, including lack of adequate parental leave. Maybe Cooper's bluntness will open the door for productive discussions about how to improve the reality of new parents.

Bradley Cooper refuses to sugarcoat hard truths

Bradley Cooper doesn't believe in lying to children to soften the blow of hard truths. In 2023, when a 6-year-old Lea approached her dad to ask about the afterlife, he delivered a straightforward answer. "I was with my daughter the other day, she's like, 'So what happens after, when you die?' I was like, 'I actually don't know,'" he told Emma Stone on Variety's "Actors on Actors" series in December 2023. "Because I always tell her the truth." Cooper's brutally honest way of parenting isn't shared by most Americans.

About 84% of parents in the U.S. admit to lying to their kids, according to an International Journal of Psychology study (via Verywell Family). But because he prefers not to lie about existential matters doesn't mean Cooper isn't preoccupied with them. After losing his father to cancer in 2011, Cooper assumed a "nihilistic" perspective on death. "Just like, wow I'm gonna die," he said on "Running Wild with Bear Grylls: The Challenge" (via the Independent). Cooper's parenting experience changed his perspective. "Your DNA is going to tell you that there's something more important than you," he told Dax Shepard. 

Honesty is one of the values Cooper and Irina Shayk strive to teach Lea to prevent her from focusing on the superficial. Above all, they are making an effort to raise a kind human. "Every time we send her to school, we're like, 'Just remember kindness and love,'" Shayk wrote in a 2023 essay for Harper's Bazaar

Bradley Cooper see no need for being modest around Lea

Bradley Cooper sees no shame in nudity. And he has his father to thank for that. "My dad was always nude," he said in the "Armchair Expert" interview (via E! News). His childhood experience inspired him to act the same way in front of Lea. But Cooper took it a step further than his old man, extending it to his bodily functions as well. When nature calls, he has no issues doing it in front of his daughter. He didn't learn that from his father. "I didn't grow up that way. At all," he said.

Instead, his no-shame game is thanks to big-city living. "The bathtub and toilet and bed are all in the same room," he said of his New York City home, adding: "We talk where I'm on the toilet, she's in the bathtub. That's sort of the go-to." Cooper's revelations divided opinions, including among the co-hosts of "The View." While Ana Navarro has a problem with nudity in front of children, Sara Haines believes it teaches kids important lessons. "I've made a deliberate effort for [my children] to not feel shamed of their bodies," she said.

Cooper and Irina Shayk do seem interested in teaching Lea self-love — and are apparently succeeding. "She'll say, 'I love Daddy so much, I love Mama so much, I love Nana, I love Babulya—' who is my mom. Then she goes, 'And I really love myself,'" Shayk wrote in Harper's Bazaar.

Bradley Cooper's boastful comments about the terrible twos

Any parent of toddlers knows the tantrums of a 2-year-old can suck the soul out of you. Well, any parent who isn't Bradley Cooper. Apparently, Lea is an angel and never experienced the infamous "terrible twos" stage of extreme moodiness. "I don't subscribe to that. I don't even know what that means really," he said on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in 2019.

Cooper's comments had some wondering if he even spent any time at all parenting his daughter. "The terrible twos? Bradley Cooper is basically like, 'I don't know her,'" Popsugar Family tweeted, adding a laugh-crying emoji. But it sounds like Cooper hit the jackpot with their daughter, as Irina Shayk has also discussed how cooperative Lea has always been. "She's super easy. Two days ago, I had to go to the gym, so I just got her a drawing book and said, 'Mama's working out.' She was drawing for an hour," he told Elle in 2023.

Lea then accompanied her mother to a work appointment and continued to give no one any trouble. "We went to the Michael Kors fitting. She met all the girls. Michael gave her a bag. She drew him a kitty cat," she added. Lea makes it easy for her parents to enjoy parenting. And Cooper does. "I can just play with toys all day long and not feel like, is this weird? Or watch cartoons endlessly and not think I'm wasting my life," he told DeGeneres.