Bradley Cooper

"American Hustle" actor Bradley Cooper is GQ's January 2014 cover star. (Peggy Sirota / GQ)

Bradley Cooper says he doesn't have any regrets but does have a dark period that he doesn't care to relive.

The 38-year-old onetime Oscar nominee, who has already earned an acting nod at the Golden Globes for his latest David O. Russell flick, "American Hustle," addressed a few sore subjects with GQ's Zach Baron in the magazine's January 2014 issue, talking about his early career, playing jerks a la Phil in "The Hangover" and his struggle with sobriety.

In 2001, the Pennsylvania native landed a supporting role on "Alias," playing journalist Will Tippin, best friend to Jennifer Garner's Sydney Bristow. However, the once promising trajectory of the role didn't keep its promise and it "nearly ended Cooper's career before it began," Baron wrote.

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"I would only work three days a week. And then for the second season, I got even more sidelined. I was like, 'Ugh.' And then next thing you know, I was like, 'I want to ... kill myself,'" the Georgetown University graduate said.

That's when he asked writer J.J. Abrams to write him off the show, despite having no other jobs lined up.

"J.J. was like, 'OK.' He probably would've fired me anyway," Cooper said.

Then he tore his Achilles tendon

"At some point, you have to come to terms with 'The business just doesn't want you,' you know what I mean?" he said.

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In 2004, he was cast as a "tyrant" in "Wedding Crashers" and somehow built a portion of his career playing jerky guys on screen, characters that couldn't be farther than his real persona, Baron wrote.

It was around that time, or a little later, that the article said Cooper had "a bad run" with alcohol and drugs, though the actor wouldn't specify what kind.

Then, in 2006, he married "Blue Bloods' actress Jennifer Esposito. The two divorced after four months -- sore subject alert -- and Cooper has since referred to the marriage as "just something that happened."

Cooper said that "if I continued it, I was really going to sabotage my whole life." He was 29.

That's when he started to take any work he could get and be glad that he was employed. He was in "Nip/Tuck," "Yes Man," "He's Just Not That Into You," "Kitchen Confidential," "The Midnight Meat Train," and, in 2009, he appeared in his career-making film, "The Hangover"  (another sore subject), and "All About Steve" with Oscar nominee (and later winner) Sandra Bullock. It should be noted that the latter film earned them a Golden Raspberry for worst couple.

"I was doing these movies, and I got to meet Sandra Bullock and meet these people and work with them. And I'm sober, and I'm like, 'Oh, I'm actually myself. And I don't have to put on this air to be somebody else, and this person still wants to work with me? Oh, what the ... is that about?' I was rediscovering myself in this workplace, and it was wonderful.

"Now, in the back of my head, or in a place of my heart of, like, creativity, did I feel utterly fulfilled? Absolutely not. But I was grateful and happy to be working, and filling that void in smaller moments."

Then Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook" turned things around for him and, along with a slew of acting nominations, earned him cred as a real, soulful actor, according to "American Hustle" costar Amy Adams.

"I've just never seen him as a frat boy," she told the mag. "I understand how people could perceive that. But he's a very soulful person, a very open person. I think that people can mistake a sort of laid-back quality for that frat thing."

And that's what he has to work with again this awards season.

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