Susan Downey is majorly responsible for the success of the ‘Iron Man’ star as her love and her threats enabled Robert to battle his demons resiliently.
Robert Downey Jr. is one of the biggest names in Hollywood. He inaugurated the Marvel Cinematic Universe and carried the franchise to great heights while redeeming himself. His struggle with substance abuse in the past is not unknown to anyone. However, his recovery makes for an even greater story. Behind his legendary comeback, lies the hand of his wife Susan, who saved him from ruining his career.
- RDJ’s harrowing past
- RDJ saved by his wife’s love
RDJ’S ROCK BOTTOM
Throughout the 80s and early 90s, Robert Downey Jr. had been in and out of rehab three times. The actor has been slipping deeper into addiction. But he did not become an addict out of the blue.
Downey was first introduced to marijuana at the age of 8 by his father Robert Downey Sr. Both his father and mother struggled with substance abuse. Such an upbringing inevitably made Downey Jr. vulnerable to the same fate and laid the foundation for much-needed threats by Susan Downey in the future.
In 1992, Robert Downey Jr. delivered one of the best performances of his career in ‘Chaplin’. Things only went downhill from here.
The Marvel star was found in possession of cocaine, heroin, and a gun in his truck in 1996 and subsequently got arrested. The actor was arrested at many other junctures in the future and given several chances by the court to redeem himself. He even spent a year in California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, Corcoran from 1990 to 2000.
In 2001, he found himself on a brilliant TV show ‘Ally McBeal’. After all, everyone still believed in Robert’s impeccable acting skills. As it turned out, the actor violated his parole, got fired from the show, and was ordered to seek rehabilitation by the court. Downey Jr. confessed to “The New York Times”, “’Ally McBeal’ was my bottom”.
Downey Jr. was released from rehab a year later and found himself on film sets once again, thanks to the support of industry colleagues like Mel Gibson. However, the shadow of addiction still hovered around him. That’s when Susan entered and saved him.
After years of break from the showbusiness, Robert Downey Jr. found himself shooting the horror film ‘Gothica’ in 2003. This is when he met his wife Susan, who was a producer for the film.
Robert had begun to do better at that time by giving an appreciable performance in ‘The Singing Detective’. The actor had also taken up Alcoholic Anonymous 12-step therapy and was rewriting his career.
Yet his first meet with Susan was not love at first sight. Initially, she found Robert “strange” even though she considered him a “brilliant actor”. To her, the actor was like a “professor or someone’s older brother”.
However, Downey Jr. found himself liking the producer and asked her out for dinner. Susan could not refuse the sincere offer by a charming RDJ and went out with him. She recalled thinking at the time, “He’s really cute”.
Only a couple of months down the line, the actor went down on his knees and proposed to his producer. But things were not the easiest for the couple. Susan eventually met the “Darth Vader” side of the actor as she expressed to “Harper’s Bazaar”. That was a wake-up call for the producer and she delivered a decisive threat to RDJ,
“’This isn’t gonna work’. I made it clear that to stay with me, nothing could happen”.
This ultimatum propelled Robert to throw all his drugs into the ocean at the Pacific Coast Highway and the duo got engaged and married. Susan Downey also recollected how their love saved Downey from ruining his career once again,
“I think he saw what we had. There was something magical there, something we couldn’t put our finger on. He always says that we became this third thing when we got together — something that neither of us could have become by ourselves — and I think that’s true”.
This is indeed true since the couple came together to birth their production company Team Downey which is behind the actor’s films like ‘The Judge’, ‘Doolittle’, and ‘Sherlock Holmes 3’. Susan saved Robert in both professional and emotional ways. Even Robert Downey Jr. has admitted this,
“The old saying is true — behind every good man, there’s an incredible woman. I owe a huge amount — if not all — of my success to Susan. We make a great team”.
The couple has been happily married for 16 years now with two beautiful children.
Do you believe Susan’s love and ultimatum were a turning point in Robert Downey Jr.’s life? Comment below!