Robert Downey Jr. and his father are addressing EVERYTHING in their new documentary.
We all know the 57-year-old Hollywood vet struggled with addiction before his rise to glory as the global, fan favorite Marvel superhero Iron Man. However, in his new Netflix documentary, Sr., which explores his relationship with father Robert Downey Sr., we learn JUST how young the acclaimed actor was inducted into the world of drugs.
In the feature, which premiered on the streaming service early this month, Downey Sr. recalled an evening in their home, playing poker, when he caught his son sneaking a sip of white wine. However, instead of taking the traditional parenting route of reprimanding the child, he instead offered Downey Jr., who was six-years-old at the time, a marijuana joint in its place… He confessed:
“A lot of us thought it would be hypocritical to not have our kids participate in marijuana and stuff like that. It was an idiot move on our parts to share that with our children. I’m just happy he’s here.”
An idiot move to say the least! Your parents are supposed to be there to protect you, and to guide you down the right path — not spiral you down the wrong one. The Avengers star later reflected on the irreversible impact his father’s lapse in judgment had on him and his relationship with recreational drug use, admitting by the time he was 8-years-old, he was an addict. The actor then directly addressed it to his father:
“I think we would be remiss not to discuss its effect on me.”
Downey Sr. regretfully responded:
“Boy, I would sure love to miss that discussion.”
The since-decease filmmaker had previously opened up about the fateful night years ago in a 2000 interview with Vanity Fair, in which he explained:
“We were all sitting around, smoking grass and playing poker down in the old West Village loft, and Robert was staring at me kind of funny. Robert was always an observer of it all, even at a very young age. And I go, ‘You know, you ought to try a little of this instead of drinking.’ I passed him a joint. And suddenly I knew I had made a terrible, stupid mistake… Giving a little kid a toke of grass just to be funny.”
“The story keeps getting repeated. By now you’d think Robert was Jimmy Cliff‘s dealer at age eight. I’ll never forgive myself.”
However, it seems as though the younger Robert doesn’t hold any ill will, as his father revealed in the same interview:
“He’s said to me, ‘I’m not a victim, Dad. I don’t blame anybody.’”
Speaking of his own struggles with addiction, the high-profile A-lister confessed being part of this “drug-culture life that we all got stuck in” back in the late ’80s, specifically around the time of his 1987 movie Less Than Zero:
“It was just a wild era. That whole world, it gets tied into creativity. We were all altering our consciousness with substances. I was just kinda playing a game of just wanting to self-soothe or just stay loaded rather than deal with the fact that things had gone off the tracks a little bit. Honestly, more than anything, I look back and go, ‘It’s shocking that a single movie came out finished.’”
You can catch the full doc on Netflix or check out the trailer (below):
We’re sure the documentary’s release has brought up a lot of emotions for Downey Jr., as the Hugo Pool director passed away in July of last year at 85 years old following a battle with Parkinson’s disease. Sr., in a lot of ways, serves as the late creative’s swan song. Will you be checking it out on Netflix? Let us know in the comments (below).
If you or someone you know is experiencing substance abuse, help is available. Consider checking out the resources SAMHSA provides at https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline.
[Images via Netflix & MEGA/WENN]