“Tell me something, Girl/ Are you happy in this modern world…” Bradley Cooper’s first few notes were breathy and chilling. In what many hoped was a classic case of life imitating art, it seemed as though Cooper was piercing Gaga’s soul with the song’s lyrics ringing so true to her personal situation. (One week prior, she had sadly announced her split from her fiancé Christian Carino.)
During the months of press that followed A Star Is Born’s cinema release in October 2018, Gaga gushed about her co-star, namely with that now-famous “one person out of 100” speech. It was clear the coupling was more than a mere working friendship. There was a connection, a real spark, albeit it really was a platonic one.
Each had tremendous respect for one another’s crafts. Both were from different worlds; Before Cooper gained serious film cred in Silver Linings Playbook, he was the not-so-serious actor in The Hangover-esque comedies. Gaga and her avant-garde entourage ran in a different circle at the top of the music world. But a chance meeting at one her performances a couple of years ago sparked Cooper’s interest in Gaga’s ability to play his heroine – in a similar fashion to how Jackson discovered Ally singing in a bar. After a bowl of pasta and a few goes on the piano the next day at Gaga’s house, the unlikely pair were obsessed with one another’s talent and Cooper admitted he “fell in love with her”. The script was tightened up to include the popstar.
“Hollywood is buzzing that Gaga fell for Bradley during preproduction and filming, creating the intense emotional energy you see on-screen and at the Oscars,” a source told Page Six, adding how “vulnerable” Gaga is. “He wanted an authentic love story on-screen.”
Sunday’s performance of Shallow was one for the record books. It was better than Celine Dion’s 1997 performance of My Heart Will Go On. It was better than John Legend and Common’s 2015 performance of Glory. Heck, it was even better than Gaga’s 2015 The Sound Of Music tribute. Shallow will stand as one of the Academy’s most iconic moments and until its 20th anniversary when the duo are invited back to perform it again, Gaga will go forward Cooper-less as there is no reason now for them to tout each other’s praises publicly.
While we might not feel ready – gosh, what we would give for Cooper to say to Gaga in real life, “I just want to take another look at you” – Gaga knows the parting has to happen. Yes, the artistic affair was real, but the love story was not and our obsession with a real life romance only stands as a testament to the strength of the acting and the power of the song. (There’s some real psychology behind why we pine for this romance to happen here.)
“Nothing could be more special than sharing this moment at the Oscars with a true friend and artistic genius,” Gaga wrote on her Instagram in what appeared to be a note of finality.
And it was. When Gaga opened her eyes at the end of the performance, Cooper had already broken character, his gaze was firmly on his girlfriend – and mother of his one-year-old daughter – Irina Shayk, in the front row who was the first to stand up and applaud. (Watch the moment below). There, awash in a golden show light in the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, we said goodbye.
Adieu Jackson and Ally.
Here’s what standing ovation looked like inside Dolby for @ladygaga and Bradley Cooper after their “Shallow” #Oscars performance. Irina Shayk was first up out of her seat. Before Bradley walked up to perform, Jennifer Lopez patted him on back to encourage him. Super sweet pic.twitter.com/eF69IOYToY
— Chris Gardner (@chrissgardner) February 25, 2019