Bradley Cooper Recalls Being Held at Knifepoint in New York City

Bradley Cooper was once held at knifepoint in New York City, the actor recently revealed, comparing the scary moment to a scene in The French Connection. The Licorice Pizza star said he was on the subway in the middle of the day when the incident happened. He was on his way to pick up his daughter Lea, 4, whom he shares with ex-girlfriend Irina Shayk.

"I used to walk around New York City all the time with these [headphones] on – this was pre-pandemic – I was on the subway [at] 11:45 to pick Lea downtown at Russian school and I got held up at knifepoint," Cooper, 46, said during the latest episode of Dax Shepard's Armchair Expert podcast. "It was pretty insane. I realized I had gotten way, way too comfortable in the city. My guard was down."

The incident happened at the end of the subway train, Cooper explained. He walked all the way to the end, as he usually did, and could feel that someone was walking behind him. At first, he thought they just wanted a photo with him, but when he turned, he realized the person had a nefarious goal in mind. "As I turned, I'm up against the post like it's the French Connection or some s—, and I turned. I looked down and I see a knife," Cooper told Shepard and Shepard's co-host, Monica Padman.

In the middle of the traumatic experience, Cooper said he remembered thinking it was a "nice knife" that had "some history" behind it. He was wearing his headphones during the incident, so his memory of it was "scored" like a movie, he said with a laugh. "I can't remember [what I was listening to]. I look up, I see the person's eyes, and I'm taken by how young they are," Cooper said, reports Us Weekly.

Once he saw the knife, the American Sniper actor started running, even jumping over a turnstile and hiding behind a tiled entrance to the subway. He took his phone out and managed to get a picture of the man who held him up. "Then I chased him up the stairs. He started running up 7th Avenue. I took two more photographs of him," he said. He also chased down two police officers and showed them the picture. They asked him to check if he was stabbed. "What happens is people get stabbed and they're in shock. I looked to see if he was right... And then I got back on the subway and picked up my daughter," he said.


Cooper stars in two movies this winter, Paul Thomas Anderson's 1970s-set coming-of-age comedy Licorice Pizza and Guillermo Del Toro's Nightmare Alley. He has a supporting role in Licorice Pizza, which opens nationwide on Christmas Day, as producer Jon Peters. He is the main star in Nightmare Alley, a new adaptation of the William Lindsay Gresham novel about an ambitious carny who teams up with a corrupt psychiatrist, played by Cate Blanchett.