Bradley Cooper almost turned down the Sexiest Man Alive title as he knew people wouldn't "like it".

The actor was bestowed with the accolade by People magazine last year, with some people unhappy about the choice.

Bradley never expected to win the title and was so astounded when he heard, that he was convinced it was a trick. He was shooting his latest movie Silver Linings Playbook at the time, and suspected his pal Dax Shepard was involved.

"I remember when I got the call, I was in the trailer we were in between shots. I really did think it was a joke… I thought Dax Shepard did it. I was certain," he told Nightline.

"They were like ‘No, it’s real,’ and I thought, ‘People aren’t going to like that.’ I thought, ‘This isn’t a good thing.’ I said, ‘Do I have to do it? Can I say no?’ They’re like, ‘Yeah, you could, but be thankful.’"

Bradley decided to accept the honour, but had no idea how controversial the decision would be. Ryan Gosling appeared in movies such as Crazy, Stupid, Love and Drive last year and his brooding looks and hunky body won him hordes of female fans. Many felt he had been robbed of the prize.

"It was brutal," Bradley laughed. "And yeah there was some cheer they made, and oh my God."

People magazine are due to announce 2012's Sexiest Man Alive on November 14, with Channing Tatum thought to be the frontrunner.