Imagine your significant other left you. Then turned the story of your relationship’s demise into a best-selling book, which then was adapted as box office hit starring Julia Roberts. You can bet that every middle-aged woman in America has spent at least 87 minutes hating your guts.
Michael Cooper, however, has taken this all in stride. While ex-wife Elizabeth Gilbert spent a year traipsing around Italy, India, and Indonesia, he went on his own journey of self-reflection and came out a better man. (The film portrays Cooper falling apart in a storm of guilt and regret.)
After a messy divorce, Cooper intensified his efforts in humanitarian relief and human rights, embarking on a journey not unlike Gilbert’s through Kosovo, Mongolia, Iran, Iraq, and other developing nations. The difference? Cooper did more than eat, pray, and love. He gave aid to peoples displaced by natural disasters and armed conflict.
After his journey was over, he remarried and had two children with his new wife. Cooper now works for the Georgetown Law Center as a Public Interest Law Scholar.
And if you’re wondering, “Hey, why didn’t this guy get a book deal?” well, he did. However, when the publishers wanted to make the book more of a rebuttal to his ex-wife than a story of self-discovery and humanitarian work, Cooper backed out.
Cheers to you, Michael Cooper.