By: Samantha Chang

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Bradley Cooper is well after kicking his alcohol and drug addictions and substance-induced depression. Cooper, who has been clean and sober since 2004, said he didn’t use any hormones, performance-enhancing drugs or steroids to gain 40 pounds of muscle to play a Navy SEAL in “American Sniper” because he didn’t want to compromise his sobriety.

“I did it naturally because I’ve been sober for 10 years,” Cooper told Vanity Fair. “I had a realistic conversation. ‘Can I do this in three months naturally? I didn’t know if I would be able to do it or not. Thank God my f–king body reacted fast.”

Bradley followed an 8,000-calorie-a-day Paleo-style diet to gain 40 pounds of muscle for “American Sniper.” The naturally lanky Cooper had to eat every 55 minutes to maintain his high-calorie diet. Cooper also worked out four hours a day for several months to look the part of a Navy SEAL.

Bradley is now a bona fide Hollywood A-lister, but said his struggles with alcoholism, drug abuse, depression and suicidal thoughts during his 20s have made him more grounded. Cooper said his frustration over his stalled career during his twenties is what led him to abuse alcohol and drugs.

Bradley slowly started to make the move away from booze and drugs after realizing he liked how clear-headed he felt when he was sober. Not surprisingly, Cooper’s career took off after that.

In 2013, Cooper was nominated for an Oscar for “Silver Linings Playbook” (co-star Jennifer Lawrence won an Oscar for her role). In 2014, Bradley was nominated for an Oscar for “American Hustle” and continues to earn raves for all his work.

Physical transformations are nothing new for the versatile Cooper, but he has also undergone a dramatic emotional transformation after the 2011 death of his dad, Bill, who died after battling lung cancer for years.

Bradley said his dad’s death made him realize how useless it was to obsess over inconsequential things. “Now I just don’t sweat the sh*t, the small stuff,” said Cooper. “My mind is just less busy now.”

Cooper, 39, said he’s less judgmental and more patient as a result of his emotional life experiences. “As you get older, your body deteriorates, but your soul sort of flourishes,” he said. “I see life much more gray as I get older. I was so sort of black-and-white in my late 20s. It’s rare that I judge somebody, really rare.”

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