It would be an understatement to say that Robert Downey Jr. has experienced his fair shares of highs and lows in Hollywood during a career in the industry that spans over half a century since he made his big screen debut as a five year-old kid in his father’s comedy Pound all the way back in 1970.
After proving himself in a series of comedies, Downey Jr. scored an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor at the age of just 27 thanks to his performance in Chaplin, and it looked as though he had the world at his feet. Unfortunately, a battle with his demons soon took over his personal life, and after numerous arrests, drug charges, stints in prison and trips to rehab, he was deemed virtually untouchable, especially when he torpedoed his Golden Globe winning comeback in Ally McBeal and wound up getting fired from the show.
Of course, RDJ has been clean and sober since 2003, and his role as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Tony Stark turned him from an also-ran into one of the biggest stars of the modern era, but in a recent interview, he admitted that things might have been a lot different had the internet and social media been around during his troubled years.
“I was fortunate in that I was pre-Internet with much of my misbehavior, but I think I always had a bit of a moral psychology and I always wanted to kinda do the right thing, which doesn’t count for much, and then I kinda took it on the chin. It’s a very American thing to build up and break down and come back. It is in its own weird way the heroes journey.”
Any public figure now has their life placed under a microscope, with even the merest transgression or indiscretion snowballing into a scandal as both facts and misinformation spread like wildfire at the push of a button. Luckily for Robert Downey Jr., he managed to avoid the rise of the internet shining an even brighter spotlight on his darkest moments, but things unfortunately aren’t so easy these days, as many of his contemporaries have been finding out on a regular basis.