Leonard Bernstein's wife 'knew exactly what the deal was' with his bisexuality, kids say in “Maestro” interview

Bradley Cooper plays the legendary composer in the new biopic, which does not shy away from his complex private life.

When Bradley Cooper decided to tackle the marriage of Leonard Bernstein and his wife, the actress Felicia Montealegre, in the upcoming biopic Maestro, he wanted to capture it in all its complexity. And that meant not straight-washing Bernstein's legacy.

Bernstein's three children — Jamie, Nina, and Alexander Bernstein — discussed their father's double life, along with the man who's portraying him in Maestro (which Cooper also wrote and directed), in a new interview with CBS News Sunday Morning.

Netflix Carey Mulligan and Bradley Cooper in 'Maestro'
Netflix Carey Mulligan and Bradley Cooper in 'Maestro'

Bernstein wed Montealegre (played in the film by Carey Mulligan) in 1951, but according to their kids she did not go into the marriage under any illusions about her husband's sexuality.

"She knew exactly what the deal was," their eldest child, Jamie Bernstein, told CBS.

"They obviously loved each other to death," Alexander Bernstein added. "They never fought in front of us. We never saw any darkness. We felt a lot. They kept everything very well tidied and pretty well hidden."

In a moment recreated in Maestro, Jamie (Maya Hawke) asks Cooper's Bernstein if "the rumors" about him are true, which he denies.

Felicia Montealegre died in 1978 from lung cancer at the age of 56, which Jamie partly attributes to the stress of staying married to Bernstein.

"I feel like it cost her everything to stick with it," she said. "It was really tough for her, and I think it contributed to her early death, in a way."

Maestro hits theaters Nov. 22 before premiering Dec. 20 on Netflix.

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