What really happened between Renée Zellweger and Bradley Cooper?

Bradley Cooper has quite a dating history. As fans know, the handsome actor has been married once and has been involved in several high-profile relationships throughout his stellar career. (You could say he’s a womanizer.) In 2006, Cooper married fellow actress Jennifer Esposito, though the two split after just four months of marriage. He dated the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Zoe Saldana and Suki Waterhouse before finally embarking on a more serious relationship with Russian supermodel Irina Shayk. Per PopSugar, Cooper and Shayk began dating in early 2015 and welcomed a child, daughter Lea De Seine, two years later. However, they separated after four years together and now share custody of their daughter. (Notably, Cooper was also romantically involved with fellow “A Star Is Born” co-star Lady Gaga during his relationship with Shayk, though the two have repeatedly denied affair rumors.)

Between his marriage to Esposito and his partnership with Shayk, Cooper also dated famed award-winning star Renée Zellweger, whom he met while working on the 2009 psychological horror Case 39. The two hit it off immediately and were often spotted in public together, although they never went on record to confirm they were in a relationship. Regardless, fans were heartbroken after reports that Cooper and Zellweger split in 2011 after dating for two years (via InStyle). Here’s why this gorgeous couple couldn’t work things out.

Bradley Cooper’s career ambitions stood in their way

Things moved pretty quickly between Renée Zellweger and Bradley Cooper once they started dating. In December 2009, Zellweger was reportedly spending the vacation with Cooper and his family in Los Angeles, Calif., according to People. “Renée seems to be on good terms with Bradley’s parents,” a source told the outlet. “They were laughing and seemed to be having a great time strolling around Venice.” Then, in 2010, sources claimed that Zellweger moved in with Cooper at his $4.7 million home in LA’s Pacific Palisades neighborhood, according to People. When Cooper’s father died of cancer in January 2011, just before the 68th Golden Globes Awards, Zellweger decided to skip the awards show to be there for Cooper and his family in Pennsylvania, as reported by InStyle.

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Unfortunately, while things seemed pretty rock solid for Zellweger and Cooper, the two ended in the same year, just months after Cooper’s father’s death. Despite rumors that a third party was a factor in their split, a source for Us Weekly claimed Cooper’s career ambitions were to blame. “If I had to pick one possible lover, it would be Brad’s career,” the insider said. “He’s worked really hard to get into leading man status. Renée needed to take a back seat.” They continued, “She’s accomplished a lot of her career goals, so Renée took some time off to be a great friend and see if that’s what it takes to be in a relationship to get it running. [But] she stopped fighting. It just didn’t work out.”

Renée Zellweger and Bradley Cooper reunited at the 2020 Oscars

As a couple, Renée Zellweger and Bradley Cooper were clearly in love. Though they never confirmed their relationship, the two have gushed over each other in interviews, with Cooper telling Entertainment Tonight that he loved working with Zellweger. “I can’t say enough about her. I just love her,” he said, adding that he loved being on set with Zellweger. “I love playing with her. I can learn so much from her.” Meanwhile, Zellweger said she couldn’t believe she got to work with Cooper on Case 39. “He’s a great, great actor,” she said. “I was so excited.”

That mutual respect and adoration was evident for years after the couple split and decided to just be friends. In 2020, Zellweger and Cooper made headlines after reuniting at the Oscars and being photographed talking intimately during the ceremony (above). Specifically, it was the year Zellweger won for her starring role as Judy Garland in the 2019 biopic “Judy,” per Reuters. Cooper himself was also nominated as one of his producers for his work on the hit thriller Joker. Both were single at the time but dating other people: Zellweger met her current boyfriend, television personality Ant Anstead, a year later, while Cooper was romantically involved with “Glee” star Dianna Agron. However, he has since moved on with Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s longtime assistant and former wife of disgraced politician Anthony Weiner.

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