Robert Downey Jr. is now one of the most influential actors in the world. Today, his face is often synonymous with Tony Stark and Iron Man. However, he wasn’t always the international superstar he is today. Downey had struggles with addiction and substance abuse that nearly killed his career with his time in prison. His father was not a good influence as he faced the lows of his life. However, Downey Jr.’s redemption has made him one of the most inspirational actors of the generation.
Born in New York, Downey’s parents were both actors. His father, Robert Downey Sr., was not a good influence, and he even allowed his son to try drugs at a very young age. Downey Sr. fell into the habit of drug use early, which contributed to a rough upbringing for his son. Drugs and alcohol played a huge factor in how the father and son bonded. Even though he was dealing with personal drug and alcohol abuse issues, Downey Jr. was sent to Hollywood to start his own acting career, following in his parent’s footsteps.
The Redemption Story
Downey Jr’s. career started off pretty well, starring in a few different movies. Even though all seemed well in the movies, he was still struggling alcohol and drug addiction behind the scenes. As the story often goes, his drug use soon escalated to include cocaine and heroin.
His addiction was starting to catch up to him as he began getting arrested. With more and more problems of running into authorities, soon came jail time. In 1999, Downey Jr. was finally sent to prison, sentenced for nearly 3 years for breaking parole. He was eventually paroled after only spending a year behind bars, but this was a horrible look for the Downey family.
Downey Jr. was very disliked at this point and seemed like a pretty big loser, and production companies refused to work with him. Along with rehab and many court visits, he soon split from his wife. Downey Jr. was now at the very bottom, losing everything around him. The good news was that at this point, it was only uphill. He decided to steadily recover and reconsider his lifestyle.
Downey Jr. then worked with Elton John in a music video in the early 2000s, performing very well to great reviews. He also starred in an episode of Family Guy. With his appearance in the film Zodiac, his name became much more relevant. Downey Jr. was then cast as the well-known Iron Man with director Jon Favreau stating, “Downey wasn’t the most obvious choice, but he understood what makes the character tick.” After this, his career exploded.
Iron Man/Robert Downey Jr. Today
Many of us may know Downey Jr. today as Tony Stark or Iron Man. He has been able to bounce back his career after getting married in the early 2000s and eventually becoming an Avenger. Behind the scenes, Downey Jr. is still in the process of rehab. He credits his wife and family for being a big influence in breaking his bad habits and becoming the man he is today. He is also very active with his acting career, coming out with many different movies every year. Downey Jr. stated in an interview recently, “For some folks, it’s just a function of age. It’s perfectly normal for people to be obsessive about something for a period of time, then leave it alone.”
Colin Berry, a senior at Lebanon Highschool, shared some of his thoughts about the famous actor. “Your past should not define who you are today. It’s the actions you took to become a better person that should define who you are,” Berry said.
Robert Downey Jr. is a great example of no matter what your past looks like, you can always act in the present and change your future.
Media by Parker Grob.