• Sai Sandhya

Get Inspired Monday – Robert Downey Jr. – Journey from a Drug addict to Iron Man




We all know The Iron Man and the man who plays Iron man – Robert Downey Jr. but not many of us know his life story. When someone is successful, everyone admires them but we also need to look at the back story and where they are coming from. Not many of us know the story of Robert Downey. There is so much to learn from him and get inspired.

For those who don’t know Robert Downey Jr., he is an American actor who is on the list of 100 most influential people according to Times magazine. He plays the role of ‘Iron Man’ in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. From 2013 to 2015 he was named the highest-paid actor by Forbes magazine. His other famous movies include- Sherlock Holmes, The Judge and Chaplin.


Let us go back to the start of his struggles. Robert Downey Jr’s father forced him to have weed when he was at the tender age of 6. His father was a drug addict and a filmmaker. Downey ended up moving out with his father to California after his parent's divorce. Then started the addiction to drugs and alcohol every night.


Talking about it as a successful actor, Robert doesn’t blame his father for anything. This attitude of his inspires me. Talking about his father, Downey says, “When my dad and I would do drugs together, it was like him trying to express his love for me in the only way he knew how."

"When my dad and I would do drugs together, it was like him trying to express his love for me in the only way he knew how"

From early childhood itself, Robert had played small roles in his father’s films. His debut was at the age of five. He attended Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Training Center in New York as a teenager. After moving to California, he knew that he wanted to make acting his career. He knew it was something he loved and was passionate about.

He dropped out of school and started focusing on work. He took up literally any role he was offered. He fell in love with acting and the process.


His first breakthrough according to him was getting hired in the cast for Saturday Night Live. That year, however, the ratings and reviews of Saturday Night Live were poor and he was fired and soon replaced.



Downey’s first real breakthrough was playing the film version of Bret Easton Ellis’s novel Less Than Zero. In the role, he played a drug addict whose life goes out of control and how he deals with it. His performance in the movie was highly praised by critics but deep down Downey knew that it wasn’t acting but his real self. As soon as he realized it, he decided he had to make a change and checked himself into rehab.




After successfully coming out of rehab sober, Downey put all his efforts and energy into the next big film offered to him. He gave his all to the film ‘Chaplin’ in 1992. The film did really well and he was nominated for an Oscar.



You know they say that sometimes your past comes back to haunt you. That’s exactly what happened to Downey. After such a massive success he was again pulled down into the sinkhole of drugs and alcohol. He was even arrested a couple of times during this time. He let his demons take control and hit rock bottom again.


In that phase, his wife left him and along with her took their son. She couldn’t let his addiction ruin both hers and her son's life. That’s when he had a reality check again and decided to check himself into rehab again.



While in rehab, he got into Kung-Fu, yoga, meditation and found this new passion in his life. He got married again and his wife gave him an ultimatum to either stay sober or lose her. This time he was ready to give it all and make it work.

Soon after, he got landed the role of Iron man and he earned lots of money but most importantly the hearts of the people. Now he helps people say no to drugs due to his journey.



This man has gone through it all. Yes for him, his demons were drugs and alcohol but we all have different demons. Let us get inspired by his journey from rock bottom to one of the highest-paid actors, from a drug addict to Iron man his journey is absolutely inspiring.


Get Inspired Monday is the new series I am starting. I will be trying to post every Monday but I am not promising anything. For me personally, Monday is one of those lazy days where I don't feel overly productive or have the mood to do anything. Writing about different people's journey will inspire me and hopefully inspire you too.



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