Along came Iron woman! Meet the woman behind The Burger King incident who saved RDJ’s career.
At the peak of his career, Robert Downey Jr. was known to be a talented but problematic celeb. The ‘Iron Man’ star started his acting career in his father’s film titled ‘Pound’. Ever since then, he has had a repertoire of roles that have helped build his fan base, a house full of awards, and a net worth of 300 million dollars.
- Robert Downey Jr struggles with drugs
- RDJ career and struggles
- When RDJ was saved by real-life Iron Woman
With fame and money in hand, RDJ lost himself down the narrow path of substance abuse and legal troubles, which ultimately discouraged new acting roles. After being released from court-ordered rehab in 2002, RDJ suffered a grave period of unemployment. However, it was Mathiew Kossovitz’s Gothika that gave the star not only a reason to begin again but also his future wife that supported him through those dark times. So, what is the Burger King incident all about? Who is the woman who saved RDJ’s career? Read on to know more.
ROBERT DOWNEY JR STRUGGLES WITH DRUGS
Some might believe that RDJ’s fame encouraged him to indulge in drugs but true fans of the actor will know that his drinking and drug problem began much before his career sky-rocketed. The Downey family exhibits business and addiction. Robert Downey Sr. also had an issue with the use of substances which encouraged Downey Jr to use marijuana at the tender age of 8.
According to an article published by People in 1996, narcotics made the emotional tie between the father and son pair easier. This seems to have made Downey a daily drinker. At the end of the 80s, his drug problem became quite evident. In 1996, RDJ was caught by the police for an incident of speeding. Along with that they also found heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, and an unloaded 357 Magnum in his automobile.
RDJ CAREER AND STRUGGLES
Robert Downey Jr. made his cinematic debut at the age of five. During his childhood and youth, he appeared in up to five of his father’s films. The actor reportedly relocated multiple times during his childhood. At the age of 10, it was in London where he began studying classical ballet. He moved to Los Angeles to live with his father when his parents split in 1978.
He dropped out of high school a few years later and returned to New York to pursue a career as an actor. While waiting for his first opportunity, he befriended a young Kiefer Sutherland and worked as a server at a shoe store. RDJ’s first Hollywood role was in ‘Baby It’s You.’ He also appeared in films from the 1980s such as ‘The Explosive Lady’ and ‘Back to School’. These early jobs drew the attention of ‘Saturday Night Live’ producers, who cast him in 18 episodes. His first lead part in the romantic comedy ‘The Girl Hunter’ was based on the popular and long-running show.
Throughout his time in and out of jail, the drug and alcohol abuse was beginning to get worse for the ‘Avenger’ star. In 1999, RDJ was sentenced to three years in prison. After his release, life continued to be sour. Before the end of ‘Ally McBeal’, Downey was arrested again for possession of cocaine and valium, and for being under the influence of a controlled substance. While on parole, the actor was found wandering barefooted in Culver City because of being under the influence of drugs.
In December 2000, People magazine released an article entitled “Bad to Worse” where Downey’s stepmother Rosemary reveals that RDJ had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder “a few years ago”. After nearly 5 years of having, using, and relapsing, Downey was dedicated to taking a step back from his drug use and getting his career back on track. His marriage to actress and singer Deborah Falconer was on the rocks. While dealing with his recovery from drugs and his broken marriage, Downey got his first post-rehabilitation job acting to lip-sync in Elton John’s “I want to Love”.
WHEN RDJ WAS SAVED BY REAL-LIFE IRON WOMAN
In 2003, Robert experienced a dry spell in the acting front until Mel Gibson took a chance on him and paid the former’s insurance bond for the film ‘The Singing Detective’. Post Gibson’s gamble, he returned to mainstream films in the mid-2000s with ‘Gothika’, where he also met his current wife Susan Levin.
In an interview with Harper Bazaar in 2009, the couple described their first impressions about each other and how they ended updating each other. “The main thing I remember about meeting him was thinking how strange he was”, said Susan. “I thought he was a brilliant actor, but it didn’t go beyond that. I saw him more like a professor or someone’s older brother“, she further added. But the narrative changed for Mrs Downey when RDJ asked her out for dinner.
Their relationships progressed rather in a healthy manner until she became aware of his tendencies to relapse. With her faith in him kept intact, she persevered for better days but eventually gave him an ultimatum that if Downey didn’t get his act straight, their relationship wouldn’t last. “’This isn’t gonna work’, I made it clear that to stay with me, nothing could happen“, she exclaimed. It was this ultimatum that pushed RDJ to make the right decision.
“Susan’s ultimatum struck a chord with me.”
Robert stopped at a Burger King on the Pacific Coast Highway about July 4, 2003, dropped his drugs in the ocean and decided he was done for real this time. His career as an actor, musician, writer, and producer saw a drastic change after he signed up for blockbuster films including ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Tropic Thunder’ in 2008. His critical success might have had its ups and downs, but as his fans share on social media, “Robert is the best of the best”.
What do you think about Robert Downey Jr’s career so far? Would you call Susan Levin RDJ’s real-life Iron Woman? Which is your favourite RDJ movie? Let us know in the comment section below.