Before he saved the world and earned millions on millions as Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. did a boatload of drugs, and the crazy Robert Downy Jr. scandals that came as a result of this do not disappoint. There are many wild RDJ stories to testify to this fact. Growing up with hippie parents and becoming a part of the '80s Hollywood brat pack, it was only expected that RDJ would like to party. He managed to become one of Hollywood's most promising young actors, while recreationally using drugs.
His drug use began to spiral, however, in the 1990s, and Downey Jr. went through a dark phase of drug addiction, jail time, and rehab. He hit rock bottom so hard that nobody ever expected him to make the comeback that he did. Now one of Hollywood's highest paid actors, RDJ has been sober since 2003 and has become a role model and fan favorite of the film industry (just see our list of RDJ movies for proof). Some would even say he's become America's cool uncle. Read on to see just how far he's come.
Robert Downey Sr. made a name for himself in '60s and '70s counterculture as a director of irreverent comedies such as Putney Swope (1969), Greaser's Palace (1972), and Pound (1970). In the latter film, a five-year-old RDJ played a puppy, and from a very early age he was exposed to the drug scene surrounding his father's job. He stated that marijuana and cocaine were "always around" and that doing drugs with his father became their own unique form of family bonding. "It was like him trying to express his love for me in the only way he knew how," said Downey Jr.
While RDJ had partied hard during the '80s, in the '90s his drug use spiraled out of control, and he began to use crack and heroin for the first time. During a particularly bad year, 1996, a concerned Sean Penn and Dennis Quaid knocked on Downey Jr.'s door and put him on a private plane to a rehab center in Tucson.
Three days later, he escaped rehab with only a bottle of water. He called his accountant for a plane ticket home and spent the flight getting drunk.
Shortly after Downey Jr.'s first escape from rehab, he was stopped by police while driving down the Sunset Strip. He was high, naked, and throwing imaginary rats out of his car window. It's a true testament to RDJ's charms that he wasn't charged. This time, at least.
Robert Downey Jr.'s first arrest came in the summer of 1996, after he was stopped by police on the Pacific Coast Highway. He was found in possession of heroin, cocaine, and a .375 magnum. Not even an A-list celebrity could get out that pickle, and he was charged for the first time.