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Bradley Cooper Recalls Terrifying Story Of Being Held at Knifepoint En Route to Daughter’s School Pickup

On the November 29 episode of Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast, Bradley Cooper shared the truly terrifying story of the time he was held at knifepoint on the New York City subway on the way to pick up his daughter from school. The actor shared that back in October 2019, he was on his way to pick up Lea, then 2, from school when he was attacked in the subway.

“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,” he told co-hosts Shepard and Monica Padman. “It was pretty insane. I realized I had gotten way, way too comfortable in the city. My guard was down.”

When the hosts expressed their shock, Cooper elaborated. “I was all the way at the end of the subway. Innately, I would just go all the way down to the end. I felt somebody coming up. I thought, Oh they want to take a photo or something. As I turned, I’m up against the post … and I looked down and I see a knife.”

Joking that the pocketknife with a wooden handle was a “nice knife” with “some history” behind it, he added, “I have my headphones on the whole time. I can’t hear anything. I’m just listening to music. So it’s scored, the whole thing was scored. 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.”

Though he was taught to “never run from a knife,” The Hangover star shared, “I just started booking, just started running. I jumped over the turnstile, hid around the white, tiled foyer entrance to the subway [and] took my phone out. He jumped over, running away. I took a photo of him. Then I chased him up the stairs. He started running up 7th Avenue. I took two more photographs of him,” he recalled.

“I ran down two police officers in an SUV, showed them the photograph and I’m, like, talking to them, and the [police officer] kept saying — it was so interesting — he’s like, ‘Are you stabbed?’ I was like, ‘No, no.’ He was like, ‘Check to see if you’re 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.”

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Bradley Cooper, Irina Shayk Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection.

Cooper shares Lea with Russian model Irina Shayk, and the two have remained on good terms,  co-parenting in NYC since their 2019 split. And while we’re glad he’s okay after such a scary experience, Cooper’s story serves as a reminder that remaining alert when wearing noise-cancelling headphones is of utmost importance, no matter where you are.

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