TBT: Bradley Cooper Said Renée Zellweger Was the Reason He "Loved Coming to Work" Every Day

The pair were co-stars in the film Case 39.

Bradley Cooper and Renee Zellweger
Photo: Bauer Griffin/ InStyle

Who: Screen Actors Guild Award-winning actor and Grammy-winning artist Bradley Cooper, 47, and two-time Oscar-winning actress Renée Zellweger, 53.

How They Met: Cooper and Zellweger met while filming the supernatural thriller Case 39 in 2006. The movie didn't come out until three years later — shortly after Cooper's breakout success from The Hangover. Presumably the pair reconnected while making the press rounds, and began dating during Cooper's come-up.

Though they never admitted to being in a relationship, the two were snapped by the paparazzi doing couple-y things (house hunting, meeting the parents, vacationing) all the time. But when pressed about Renée being his girlfriend in 2010, Bradley told Details magazine, "I just can't."

However, he had no problem gushing about her in a professional capacity. "I can't say enough about her. I just love her. I [loved] coming to work," he said about his former co-star while speaking with Entertainment Tonight. "I love acting with her. I can learn so much from her."

Renée returned the sentiment, telling the outlet, "He's a great, great actor. I just got so excited, not believing that I was going to go to work with him."

Why We Loved Them: Cooper and Zellweger were so low-key, you probably forgot they even dated. But that didn't mean that they weren't as committed as ever.

The two were so serious that they bought a house together in Los Angeles, engagement rumors constantly circulated across the internet, and Renée and Bradley's mom, Gloria, were basically BFFs. Zellweger even skipped the 2011 Golden Globes to be with Cooper and his family in Pennsylvania following the death of his father.

When They Peaked: If any couple has the ability to peak a decade after their breakup, it's Cooper and Zellweger. All eyes were on the supportive exes when they reunited at the 2020 Oscars. As they settled into their seats ahead of the award show, it looked like no time had passed between them at all.

Renee Zellweger Bradley Cooper TBT

The Breakup: In 2011, Cooper and Zellweger called it quits on their two-year relationship. Without publicly acknowledging their romance, a breakup statement wasn't required. But according to sources, Bradley's career ambitions are what led to their split.

"If I had to pick any possible mistress, it would be Brad's career," a source told Us Weekly at the time. "He worked really hard to get into leading man status. Renée had to take a backseat." They added, "She's accomplished a lot of her professional goals, so Renée took some time out to be a great girlfriend and see if this is what it took to make a relationship work."

Where They Are Now: In the years following his relationship with Zellweger, Cooper had flings with Olivia Wilde, Jennifer Lopez, and Zoe Saldaña before finally settling down with supermodel Irina Shayk. The two got married and started a family together (they share a five-year-old daughter Lea De Seine), but it didn't last. They filed for divorce in 2019.

Bradley is now rumored to be dating former Hillary Clinton campaign aide Huma Abedin.

On the professional front, the actor has thrived. Cooper went on to star in both critical and box office hits — including American Hustle, A Star Is Born, and Serena — and he's even done some voiceover work as Rocket in Marvel's Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the new Thor: Love and Thunder.

Zellweger moved on to musician Doyle Bramhall II after her relationship with Cooper ended. They were together for seven years before breaking up in 2019. Now, the actress is dating HGTV star Ant Anstead, who she met on the set of his Discovery+ show, Celebrity IOU Joyride.

For several years, Zellweger took a break from Hollywood (and the spotlight in general) after splitting from Cooper. She ended her acting hiatus with Bridget Jones Baby in 2016 and went on to win Best Actress for her portrayal of Judy Garland in the biopic Judy in 2020. Zellweger most recently underwent a major transformation and starred in the limited TV series There's Something About Pam as Pam Hupp.

#TBT: Check in every Thursday as we throw it back to some of our favorite celebrity couples of all time.

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