Dax Shepard Reveals the Bradley Cooper Advice That Made Him Speak Out About His Relapse

Shepard had previously said that 'a close friend' encouraged him to be honest about his relapse, and that friend was Cooper.

Dax Shepard jokingly said he hates giving Bradley Cooper credit for getting him to open up about his relapse in 2020, but the fact of the matter is that Cooper was the "close friend" all those years ago that got him to be transparent.

Shepard made the revelation to Jesse Tyler Ferguson on the latest episode of his Dinner's on Me podcast. Ferguson jokingly tried to get Shepard to not divulge the Maestro actor-director's name as the friend who got him to open up, and Shepard jokingly agreed before sharing the advice Cooper gave him in 2020.

"He said something that was kind of the tipping point for me. He said, 'Are you going to?' 'Cause I told him I relapsed," said Shepard over burger and fries at the Cara Hotel in West Hollywood. "And then he said, 'Are you going to tell everyone?' And I said, at that point I was like, 'I don't think so.'"

Shepard recalled telling Cooper that he had a lot to consider, like the impact it would have on his wife, Kristen Bell, who at the time was in the middle of promoting a new project.

"Kristen's out in the world, doing tons of interviews. I don't want her to have to f**king spend half of every interview, 'What's it like being married to an addict?' Like, it just doesn't feel fair to her," Shepard said.

The Without a Paddle star admitted that he was "so afraid" about coming clean about his relapse, but it was Cooper who got him to see it from a different vantage point.

He recalled telling Cooper, "I don't want to admit to it. Just, to be honest, I'm so afraid of losing that thing that people liked about me, and that I might be helping people."

"And he said, 'Well, let me tell you this. There's nothing helpful about a guy that's 16 years sober and married to Kristen Bell and is rich,'" Shepard recalled Cooper telling him. "What's helpful to somebody is someone who just ate s**t and gets back up.'"

That, Shepard said, is when it all made sense.

"And I was like, 'Wow.' So, if I'm sincere about what I like about it is that I'm being helpful, then I really have only a single option," Shepard continued, to which Ferguson responded with, "You have that obligation, sure."

And after a tense conversation, Shepard lightened the mood with his trademark sense of humor.

"So, f**k it, I'll give him credit. He earned it," said Shepard of Cooper, who himself is celebrating two decades of sobriety. "And he's so sexy, too. It'd be easier if he wasn't so sexy."

It was on Sept. 25, 2020 during an episode on his Armchair Expert podcast when Shepard revealed for the first time that he relapsed two weeks prior to filming that episode. At the time, Shepard told Bell and podcast co-host, Monica Padman, that "a close friend" told him that "arrogance" was getting in the way of his transparency, and that "he needed to be honest with everyone."

As for what led to the relapse, Shepard said that a terrifying motorcycle accident led to painful surgeries, and thus his reliance on pain medication. He upped his prescription medication dosage and eventually struggled to wean himself off. And his inability to do so led to telltale signs. Like when Padman confronted him about acting different, which led her to ask him what he was on. Shepard said he then began lying to her regularly and hated it.

"And I'm lying to other people and I know I have to quit," he said in the 2020 episode. "But my tolerance is going up so quickly, that I'm now in a situation where I'm taking, you know, eight 30s a day, and I know that's an amount that's going to result in a pretty bad withdrawal. And I start getting really scared, and I'm starting to feel really lonely. And I just have this enormous secret."