Well, here’s one version of a meet (not so) cute: the same day that Maestro husband and wife duo Bradley Cooper and Carey Mulligan met, Cooper had to take Mulligan to the unlikeliest of places—the emergency room.
“She was doing a play in the West Village of Manhattan, and I went to the first preview, which is sacrilege,” Cooper said on The Graham Norton Show (and per Entertainment Weekly). “It was a one-woman show, and she came out and the key light was on her, and she looked just like Felicia, who’s Lenny’s wife [referring to Felicia and Leonard Bernstein, their characters in Maestro]…so I went to meet her backstage.”
Mulligan added “It’s a 90-minute monologue, and maybe half an hour before the end, I got hit on the head [by a piece of the set] quite badly, but I carried on because no one saw it. It was in a blackout…and then it finished, and I got off stage, and I just couldn’t stop crying. I thought I was really a goner. I was sobbing on the floor, and the director was trying to calm me down. And then someone came in and said, ‘Sorry, so sorry. Bradley Cooper’s just [arrived].’ And he came in and looked me in the eye and was like, ‘You’re not all right!’ And it was like, get in the car, went to the emergency room. The nurse was delighted.”
Cooper added that Mulligan “was not okay at all. And so we went to the emergency room, and we were there. And that was our introduction to each other.” Mulligan added, jokingly, “It got me a job, so totally worth it.”
Randomly, Mulligan isn’t the only famous actress Cooper has accompanied to the hospital. Fellow Graham Norton Show guest star Bryce Dallas Howard asked Cooper “Did you bring Brooke Shields to the hospital as well?” to which Cooper responded that he did.
“We’re neighbors in New York and it was lunchtime—this is crazy—and I remember I had just put like, sausages on the grill, and my friend came in and he said, ‘They’re calling for you. Brooke Shields is at a restaurant across the way, and she just had a fall,’” he said.
Cooper arrived at the scene to find that “there were firetrucks and everything. Luckily, because I live across the street from the police precinct, they recognized me [writer’s note: uh, pretty sure they would have recognized you anyway], and I was able to go in. And then we went into the ambulance, and we’re trying to figure out the hospital to get to, and it was crazy.” He noted that Shields woke up as the two were in the ambulance: “It was like, what the fuhh—” Cooper said, stopping himself just before cursing. “Yeah, it was crazy.”
Shields told her side of the story in a November 2023 interview with Glamour, revealing that she experienced a “full-blown grand mal seizure” and that everything started to “go black” before she went “headfirst into the wall.”
“The next thing I remember, I’m being loaded into an ambulance,” she said. “I have oxygen on. And Bradley f—king Cooper is sitting next to me holding my hand.”
Shields said she struggled to “get any words out,” but thought to herself “This is what death must be like. You wake up and Bradley Cooper’s going, ‘I’m going to go to the hospital with you, Brooke,’ and he’s holding my hand.”
Cooper told Extra of the moment that “I was just happy to be in the right place at the right time.”
Back to Cooper and Mulligan: a meet cute it maybe wasn’t, but all turned out well. Their shared film, Maestro (which Cooper not only starred in but directed) was nominated for seven Academy Awards last week, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Cooper, and Best Actress for Mulligan.