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Robert Downey Jr talks about his Hollywood journey after Oscar win

Updated on: 18 March,2024 05:57 AM IST  |  Washington

The 'Oppenheimer' star Robert Downey Jr spoke about his journey from uninsurable actor to Oscar winner

Robert Downey Jr talks about his Hollywood journey after Oscar win

Robert Downey Jr. Pic/AFP

The 'Oppenheimer' star Robert Downey Jr, who will next play four characters in HBO's spy drama The Sympathiser (coming April 14), spoke about his journey from uninsurable actor to Oscar winner, reported People.

Accepting the Best Supporting Actor award, Downey peppered his deadpan speech with emotional moments, addressing the years he spent in the grip of drug addiction in the late '90s and early 2000s. He thanked his wife for "loving me back to life," along with his longtime lawyer, joking that the attorney had spent half of their 40 years together "trying to get me insured and bailing me out."

"I think if you develop a moral psychology, things are a lot easier," Downey, 58, told People in this week's cover story. "And I think it's hard to explain away certain behaviours when there are ways to heal. So I have a lot of empathy for them, and I also am a little bit sceptical about anyone who doesn't lean into what they can do to improve the state of their compass. That's all."

Standing next to him, Downey's wife Susan added, "I feel like anyone's journey, no matter how fraught or positive, whatever it is, it is your journey. There's nothing we would do differently."

Away from the spotlight, people close to Downey say he has retained a low-key emphasis on helping others.

"His ways are heartwarming," said fellow 'Avengers' star Jeremy Renner, who was in the ICU last January following his horrific snowplow accident.

He noted that Downey checked in on him constantly. "We ended up having great chats on FaceTime like we were dating or something," recalled Renner.

The couple, who have been married for 18 years and work together at their producing company Team Downey, have built a strong foundation at home. As a rule, they don't go two weeks without seeing each other, and family dinners are both joyful and punctual. "We all love his playfulness," says Susan, sharing how Downey often leads word or improv games with his kids at the table.

"Here's the interesting thing," she says. "I came from an incredibly stable household and Robert's was, let's say, less than that. And yet he's the one who brings the real kind of homey-ness to it, and I just make sure everything's working and running well."

From equipping the home with pancake art tools to singing loudly at jam sessions with kids Exton (12), Avri (9), and Indio (30), Downey leans in.

"He really cares about whatever they care about," said Susan. "I think that he craves and therefore wants to provide the stability that probably he didn't necessarily have."

Downey told People his home life provides him with focus. "It just gives me, honestly, something to attach my neurosis to that's positive," he says. "And I love when I can ask [Susan] if she thinks we should paint the kitchen a different color or if maybe a new rug in her office, whatever. I'm not saying that I'm like a fledgling interior designer. But there's two kinds of people and I'm the kind that cares about the drapes."

The Academy Awards provided another full-circle experience for Downey when Oppenheimer won Best Picture with a familiar face at the microphone.

"It's crazy that Al Pacino, one of my favourite human beings on earth, presented Best Picture," Downey told People. "And it's also crazy that, I think, deservedly he won the first time I was nominated [in 1993 for Chaplin], for Scent of a Woman," he said, reported People.

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