He acknowledged the importance of her presence in his life and pledged to be a new man. They've been married 19 years.
Hollywood love stories with two beautiful people leading a perfect life have always fascinated us. We try to follow in their footsteps to make our life perfect, without realizing that what we need to make our own life perfect can be different from them.
One of the most sought-after and enviable couples of Hollywood, Robert Downey Jr., and Susan (Levin) Downey, were far from being perfect for one another. But there was one thing they knew - that they did not want to give up on each other. And as we know them today, they built a rock-solid relationship out of sheer devotion and support. However, it was Susan who built the foundation of their relationship so strong, there was no looking back.
The couple is enjoying married bliss for almost two decades now and Susan deserves a large chunk of the credit. She met the Ironman hitmaker on a film set and it was not exactly the kind of beginning of a great love story that one expects. Robert was still struggling with drug addiction and had spent a year in jail and then in rehab. His stint with addiction often made headlines back then. So much so, that he was on the verge of losing his career in films.
But he managed to bag a role in the movie Gothika after agreeing to the clause that most of his remuneration will be paid after the shooting is done. Little did he know that this film will be the game-changer of his life, in terms of finding himself and meeting the most supportive person he could ever get. It would not be wrong to submit that Susan changed his life upside down in a positive way and went on to become his partner for life.
When Susan, one of the producers of Gothika saw Robert on set she did not feel sparks flying, in fact, she thought he was "strange." In an interview with Harpers Bazaar, she said, "Not even a little bit. The main thing I remember about meeting him was thinking how strange he was."
She added, “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.”
Much later when she spoke to The Hollywood Reporter, she narrated an incident and reiterated how strange she thought he was. During a particular cast and crew dinner “everybody else ordered Japanese, but Robert told us how oatmeal was the ‘superfood'. He brought his own packets of oatmeal to have at lunch. And he had this box of various herbs and stuff. And then he started doing these yoga moves.”
But the producer's feelings changed over a few weeks and she remembers the exact moment when she felt a little something for him. "One day [after filming], when we were on the treadmills, Robert goes, ‘Levin, you wanna go to dinner?’ and I said, ‘Eh, I’ll grab something to eat.’ So we agreed to go change and meet in the lobby and as he walked down the stairs toward me, I remember looking up at him and suddenly thinking, ‘He’s really cute.’”
While there was an undeniable attraction that they had for each other it was true that they were two very different people. Like The Hollywood Reported opined, Susan was an honor student who graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California while Robert was a high school drop-out and recovering addict who had struggled with substance abuse for years.
Luckily, the differences didn’t phase Susan one bit. “I think there’s something about running toward what scares you,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. She chose to give their love a chance rather than being worried about how incompatible they can be due to their different personas. “More than anything, I never doubted it,” she admitted. “There was something in my gut that knew really quickly. I knew three months in that this was it.”
However, being a woman of grit and substance she knew that there are some things which could be damaging to both of them and she did not want to carry them forward. Robert resorted to his old habits as soon as he was done filming and Susan refused to have any of it. “I did meet Darth Vader, for like a minute, right after the movie wrapped,” Susan recalled of Robert’s addiction problems. “I said immediately, ‘This isn’t gonna work.’ I made it clear that to stay with me, nothing could happen.”
But like it's said, you can let go of everything to hold on to the right person. So strong was their love and Robert's need to have her in his life, he vowed to never go back to his old damaging habits again. In 2003, it was reported that Robert has bid a permanent adieu to drugs.
In August 2005, the couple exchanged vows after two years of being engaged. In 2012, they had their first child, son Exton Elias Downey, then welcomed daughter Avri Roel Downey in 2014, reports Goalcast.
According to Goalcast, Susan modestly transferred all credits to their love saying, “I think he saw what we had. There was something magical there, something we couldn’t put our finger on.”
According to Harper’s Bazaar, Susan’s unofficial nickname in Hollywood is “The Miracle That Saved Robert Downey Jr.” and the actor certainly agrees. As he told the magazine, she inspired him to do better. “I guess the only way to explain it is that I’ve become more like her,” he revealed.
In a 2010 interview with Herald, he admitted, “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.” And he is certainly right, as Susan's love and belief in him helped him back some high-profile parts including the lead in Sherlock Holmes after she told the filmmaker that he would be perfect for the part.
However, as she admits herself, Robert had a very positive impact on her life as well. She had mentioned that she was “very focused, driven, rigid, work-oriented. I didn’t care about having a family or making a home. I didn’t think about kids […] And then I had someone who came in as a tornado, this creative, beautiful ball of insane energy and passion. And it completely opened me up.”
As the boss lady puts it, they are stronger together than they could have been individually. “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.”