While the career of Robert Downey Jr. took a turn for the better over the last few years due to his brilliant interpretation in films like Sherlock Holmes, Iron Man, The Avengers and many more, the shadows of the past are not so easy to escape. With a history of drug abuse, jail time and violence, the actor is trying his best to put his past behind and turn over a new leaf. So far, he is managing this quite well and Hollywood’s favorite black sheep is quickly becoming the star of the flock. But let’s examine a few of the things that are less known about Robert Downey Jr., his acting career and his personal life.
1. Robert Downey Senior was the one who initiated him in the world of drugs
One of the reasons RDJ started out on the downward spiral that is drug abuse stems from his less conscientious parental figure, but not in the way you might think. It wasn’t the neglect on the part of Robert Downey Senior or the need of the teen to rebel against the traditionalist ways of the parent that drove him to narcotics. In fact, his father, who was an underground film producer of the 60s and 70s, actually gave Robert Downey Jr. his first pot cigarette at a very fragile and undiscerning age, more exactly before the age of seven. You cannot blame Robert Downey Senior for not caring about his son, especially since he also constituted the original stepping-stone in the actor’s career by casting him in his first movie, Pound.
Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert Downey Jr. heated it off back in 1984, on the stage of the movie Firstborn. While they seem to go together like a horse and carriage – no pun intended – the romance abruptly ended in 1991 and it was all because RDJ could not keep his drug addiction under control. In spite of the uncannily strong connection between the Hollywood couple, Sarah Jessica Parker eventually gave up on trying to change RDJ and his chaotic lifestyle.
3. Robert Downey Jr. has kept his nose clean since 2003
RDJ made several attempts to give up narcotics and has ended up relapsing numerous times in the process. Having been arrested several times, the year he spent in jail finally caught with him, so when his epiphany in a fast food restaurant in California struck, Robert Downey Jr. decided it was time to put a stop to the addiction once and for all. And of course, he did it in the most dramatic way possible: dumping all the drugs he had in the waters of the Pacific Ocean.
4. Susan Levin Downey helps him stay away from narcotics
RDJ has stated numerous times that he would have never been able to keep his nose clean without the aid of his wife, Susan Levin Downey. Unlike Sarah J. Parker, Susan managed to keep him on the straight path. That of course won’t stop RDJ from sometimes teasing her, like during the speech he gave at the Golden Globe Award ceremony.
5. His political views are conservative
Although you might not expect a party boy like Robert Downey Jr. to uphold the traditionalistic values of the republicans, especially in a city where liberal views abound, this is the actor’s position on the political world. However, he did also state that his political opinion has shifted radically following his incarceration, a tragic experience that makes a person put things in a whole new perspective.
6. RDJ is an expert in Wing Chun martial arts
Numerous Hollywood actors who typically get casted in action movies are only familiar with the basics of martial arts and they learn most of the moves required by the role on the set. The more complex scenes are typically filmed by stunt doubles, using inconspicuous angles. However, Robert Downey Jr. is thoroughly familiar with a rather complex style of martial arts, namely Win Chun. He stated that in addition to the practical utility of knowing combat techniques in the making of action movies, Win Chun has also allowed him to maintain balance and overcome difficult moments of his life.
7. Robert Downey Jr. is a man of many talents
Most of you are familiar exclusively with his acting talent, but the truth is that Robert Downey Jr. is also an astute singer and piano player. His debut album was called “The Futurist” and it was released back in 2004. Moreover, his music talent seems to be genetically transmitted, considering that his 16 year old son, Indio, is also a proficient guitar player with his own band.
8. Mel Gibson is one of his closest friends
The friendship between Mel Gibson and Robert Downey is one of the strongest and most durable ones that Hollywood has ever seen. The two famous actors have always been there for each other in spite of the circumstances. For example, back in 2003 when the drug abuse history prevented RDJ from landing a decent role, Gibson gave him the means to re-launch his career by casting him in “The Singing Detective”. In return, Downey Jr. offered Mel Gibson his unadulterated aid when the latter was arrested on DUI charges.
9. RDJ is planning his retirement from the acting scene
Sad news for worldwide fans, but regardless of his unmatched success his career, Downey Jr. has announced his intention to withdraw from the acting scene of Hollywood in order to dedicate more time to his loving family. Well, it is safe to say that with all the money he earned from highly appreciated motion pictures over the last few years and all the effort he invested, Robert Downey Jr. has earned to right to a quiet, peaceful life.
10. He has a pretty short stature
“Pretty” is the word of the day in this case, because the term short is relevant only to the standard stature of most Hollywood stars. To put it simply, Robert is only 5 foot 9 (1.74 m) and that is one of the main reasons why he always has to check his diet and maintain an exercise routing to avoid gaining weight.