Perhaps the most memorable moment of the 2019 Oscars was when Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga performed the song “Shallow” from their film, A Star Is Born. The performance was so passionate, fans speculated that real sparks were flying between the two onstage. At the time, Gaga addressed the romance rumors by saying, “Yes, people saw love and—guess what—that’s what we wanted you to see.” And now, Cooper has expanded on those intentions in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

According to THR, Cooper’s emotive presence onstage was in part a strategy to help “manage his own fears about singing live.” While singing with Gaga, the actor imagined himself in the scene from the movie during which Jackson Maine, Cooper’s character, brings Gaga’s Ally onstage for a first-time duet that would propel Ally into stardom and the two into romance. Reliving the scene helped the actor transport himself away from stage fright and lose himself in the performance. “Just from a personal standpoint, it reduces the anxiety level,” he said.

It was also a way for him to bring dynamism to the live performance. “They kind of fall in love in that scene in the film. It’s that explosive moment that happens to happen to them on a stage in front of thousands of people,” Cooper added. “It would have been so weird if we were both on stools facing the audience.”

Further affirming that the performance was simply powerful acting, Gaga told ELLE in November 2019, “Quite frankly, I think the press is very silly. I mean, we made a love story. For me, as a performer and as an actress, of course we wanted people to believe that we were in love. And we wanted people to feel that love at the Oscars. We wanted it to go right through the lens of that camera and to every television that it was being watched on.”

Cooper, who directed the 2018 film, is still talking about his respect for Gaga as an artist. Elsewhere in the THR interview, he praised her for the immense talent and drive she brought to the project. “She’s just so terribly charismatic and beautiful,” he said. “When I met her, I thought, ‘If I can just harness that … then it’s just for me to mess up.’ But then, when we started working together, I realized, ‘Oh, oh, the sky’s the limit in terms of what she’s able to do and her commitment level.'”

At the time of the movie’s release in October 2018, Cooper was dating supermodel Irina Shayk, while Gaga was in a relationship with Creative Artists talent agent Christian Carino. Gaga is currently with Michael Polansky, a board member of San Francisco’s Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. As for Cooper? Nobody knows.

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