Image via Unsplash.com- Josue Canales Tecuatl

How Burger King Helped Hollywood Icon Robert Downey Jr. Overcome Years Of Addiction

One of the biggest move stars in the world credits a bad meal at a popular fast food location for helping save his life and career

Andrew Martin
3 min readNov 21, 2023

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In the realms of Hollywood and movies, there are few active figures with as large and popular a profile as actor Robert Downey Jr. His affect, which is both acerbic and sardonic, make him an undeniable force that has translated into him becoming one of the most successful in his craft. However, before reaching such lofty heights, he spent years battling addiction and legal troubles. Now sober for more than 20 years, he credits an unlikely source for helping ultimately get clean once and for all — Burger King.

Downey Jr.’s acting career started to take off in the mid 1980s. Over the years, he has appeared in such memorable films as Chaplin, Tropic Thunder, Zodiac, The Marvel Iron Man series; and most recently, Oppenheimer. He has been nominated for two Academy Awards, and won three Gold Globes. This combined with his reported net worth of $300 million makes him an unqualified success. Unfortunately, it was far from an easy road to get there.

In the late 1990s, Downey Jr.’s life was dominated by a severe addiction to crack cocaine and heroin. He had used illicit substances since a shockingly young age. He once revealed that he was first offered marijuana by his father (also an actor) when he was only seven years old.

Within a year of that initial dabbling, Downey Jr. found himself ensnared by addiction. As he grew older, his run-ins with the law, erratic behavior, and a descent into the abyss of drug-induced psychosis all increased.

His struggles included getting caught driving around naked in a Porsche while throwing imaginary rats out of the window. There was also an incident where he broke into a neighbors house, only to take his clothes off and go to sleep in one of their bedrooms. He was arrested numerous times and spent multiple stints in rehab programs, but it did little to change his trajectory.

Things finally came to a head around 2003. After a stint in rehab and a court sentence for more boorish addiction-related behavior, Downey Jr…

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Andrew Martin

Dabbler in history, investing & writing. Master’s degree in baseball history. Passionate about history, diversity, culture, sports, investing and crypto.