Robert Downey, Jr. has cleaned up and turned his life—and career—around in recent years, but before that he’d tangled with the law any number of times. His troubled past and ultimate comeback make him the perfect celeb to shine the spotlight on.
The younger of two children, Robert Downey, Jr. was born to mother Elsie Downey and father Robert Downey, Sr., an actor, producer and writer himself. He gained early exposure to the movie industry, and was just 5-years-old when he made his on-screen debut in his father’s 1970 film Pound. His screen and TV acting career progressed as he entered adolescence and became part of the famed 1980s “Brat Pack.”
Playing roles in “Less Than Zero,” he began to receive commendations by critics. Further appearances in films solidified public opinion that Downey was, indeed, a brilliant actor.
Drug charges, arrests and jail time
Downey’s legal troubles began when he was arrested on drug-related charges in 1996. He was placed in a drug substance abuse facility operated by the state of California, in association with the State Prison in 2000, after facing more charges between 1996 and 2000. He joined the cast of Ally McBeal shortly after being released from a stint in rehab but was fired in 2001 after garnering two more arrests in a relatively short period of time. He was jailed as a result of his arrests and probation violations during this period of time. He undoubtedly worked with an experienced legal team following each arrest—in California, repeated arrests (and convictions) result in substantially increased penalties, as a Vallejo criminal defense attorney would tell his or her clients.
Family legal problems
Downey married Deborah Falconer in 1992 after dating for less than a month and a half. They had son Indio in 1993 but, due to his drug addiction and resulting arrests, the two separated in 1996. The couple did not officially divorce until 2004, when Falconer filed for divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, sought spousal support, and requested that Downey only be allowed to have supervised visitation with Indio.
Success in recent years
Once known for his wild ways and being unreliable on set, Downey has turned his career around. He has starred in hit films and received awards for his portrayal of a range of characters in different movies, including the blockbuster successes Tropic Thunder, Iron Man and Iron Man 2.
Downey’s personal life has also markedly improved. He has successfully dealt with his drug and alcohol addictions and married film producer Susan Downey in 2005. The two have a child together and Downey regularly sees his older son Indio.