"It was brutal," Cooper said. "I really did think it was joke. I thought Dax Shepard [Cooper's friend and star of the TV series, 'Parenthood'] did it. Then I thought, 'People aren't going to like that.' I really thought that. I thought, 'This isn't a good thing,' and I went, 'Do I have to do it? Can I say no?' They're like, yeah, you could, but be thankful,' and I said OK, OK."
Despite the controversy it raised, Cooper joked he petitioned to make the "Sexiest Man Alive" title a two-year reign.
"That's what I was hoping for," he said. "Like Bloomberg. I just feel like, why not? I think honestly it makes everyone feel better that, 'If this guy is the sexiest, then I am doing well.'"
Cooper's unexpected stature in this unlikely career has even more improbable origin. When Cooper saw that a student from his private high school in Philadelphia had gotten into Georgetown, he decided to follow her there.
"It was a pipe dream," he said.
He was rejected at first, but a year later, he tried again, and got in.
"I just couldn't believe it," Cooper said. "It was a huge thing. It was a huge lesson of don't give up."
His time at Georgetown would lead him to his life's ambition, acting, and to a blessing of sorts from his once-skeptical father, who died last year.
"When he saw my thesis, which was 'The Elephant Man,' afterwards, he sort of hugged me and was crying, and he was like, 'You got to do this for your living,'" Cooper said. "I saw this switch happen... it was awesome. It was amazing, yeah, it was incredible."