Robert Downey Jr. was struggling personally when Susan entered his life. And she became "the miracle that saved" him.
Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey are hands down one of the best couples in Hollywood. They've been together for 20 years now but the constant spotlight of being in the glamor world has not changed anything between them. In fact, they work together and are the co-founders of the production company, Team Downey. Today, their marriage might be one of the strongest, but there was a time when the couple was almost on the verge of not existing at all.
If you've followed the actor's life and work, you would know that he went through a lot to reach where he is today. Even though he proved himself as an actor after his memorable roles in 1987's Less Than Zero and 1992's Chaplin, he struggled with addiction to a point where he passed out in his neighbor's child's bedroom, as per Harper's Bazaar.
After being released from a court-ordered rehab in 2002, the whole ordeal tarnished his reputation and he became unemployable. Fortunately, he bagged the movie Gothika (2004) only because he agreed to the production house holding back a good amount of his salary until the film was wrapped up. That's when Susan walked into his life like a fresh breeze.
Gothika was Susan's first solo producing credit and she was far away from the idea of getting hitched. "I was never a girl who thought about getting married. Being in a relationship wasn't my priority," she said. Her opinion about the Iron Man actor wasn't too incredible either, she found him to be "strange". "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." But things changed when Robert asked her out on dinner.
Just three months into dating, Susan knew “that this was it," as the two fell head over heels for each other. Robert too got down on one knee and proposed to her even though his divorce with model Deborah Falconer was still to be finalized. All the while Susan was with Robert, she never noticed his internal struggle with addiction. “He was clean and sober — completely professional when he was working, and then, in the off hours, he was just a fun guy,” she said.
However, it wasn't too long before she saw his other side which Robert calls as his Darth Vader side. “I did meet Darth Vader, for like a minute,” she said, “Right after the movie wrapped." But it wasn't something she was going to put up with. So she honestly told him, "'This isn’t gonna work.' I made it clear that to stay with me, nothing could happen.”
Susan's ultimatum hit Robert hard and the fear of losing her scared him. That's when he realized that it was time to change his old ways and walk on the right path. According to Harper's Bazaar, in 2003, he stopped at a Burger King joint on the Pacific Coast Highway and tossed all his drugs into the flowing ocean.
To Susan, it was love that made him do it. "I think he saw what we had," she said and added, "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."
During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Susan admitted that before meeting the Sherlock Holmes star, she was unaware of anything related to addiction but her husband and his experience educated her. She revealed, “Addiction was so foreign to me. I was incredibly ignorant of the hold it had on people.” Robert on the other hand was thankful for her ignorance because according to him, “If she knew the depths of my depravity, we would not be sitting here.”
According to Goalcast, the adorable couple finally walked down the aisle in August 2005 after being engaged for two years, and in 2012, they welcomed their son Exton Elias Downey, 8. In 2014 they once again became parents to Avri Roel Downey, 6.
Harper's Bazaar reported that Susan has been unofficially nicknamed “The Miracle That Saved Robert Downey Jr." and the Due Date star couldn't agree more. In 2010, Robert admitted that Susan is the reason for his success right now and has made a positive impact on his life. “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,” he said.