The Reason Sarah Jessica Parker Was Fuming During Her Relationship With Robert Downy Jr.

Many moons ago, Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert Downey Jr. were a young couple in love. The promising actors met at just 18 while filming the 1984 film "Firstborn" and fell for each other hard. So much so that they took the leap and moved in together two months after going on their first date. However, many in their circles believed they jumped into it too quickly. That included her mother, Barbara Forste. "At their age they should be having fun and trying different relationships instead of getting so serious," Forste told People in 1985.

Parker respectfully disagreed. "Are you not supposed to be serious about anything when you're 20 years old?" she pondered. Parker and Downey certainly knew how to keep their living arrangement interesting — by throwing water balloons at unsuspecting neighbors. After a while, the neighbors caught on and started to use their hoses to get back at the couple. "You have to run to each window and hope you get there in time to close it. It's very immature, I know, but fun," she said.

Despite playfully discussing names for their future children and visions for their perfect Jewish wedding, Parker and Downey broke up in 1991 after almost eight years together. Even though being with Downey had plenty of ups, it also came with pretty difficult downs. As the years went on and the actors grew up, Parker began to feel like the only adult in the relationship. And she had good reasons to feel that way.

Sarah Jessica Parker felt disrespected for trying to help Robert Downey Jr.

That Robert Downey Jr. struggled with drug addiction is no secret. He started smoking pot with his father at age 6, after all. Sarah Jessica Parker tried to help the "Iron Man" star turn his life around, but she felt her efforts were ridiculed. "People around him would be dismissive of me, but I had given him stability and tried to create a steady heartbeat that allowed him to show up on time," the "Sex and the City" alum told The New Yorker in June 2023. "That made me angry and embarrassed me."

Downey admits that his drug use was a big part of the downfall of their relationship. "She provided me a home and understanding," he told Parade in 2008 (via HuffPost). "She tried to help me. She was so miffed when I didn't get my act together." Parker stayed with Downey for so long despite their lifestyles being completely different because she was afraid of what might happen if she left. 

"You love this person, and you're afraid they will die if you aren't there to shore up their base every single solitary day," Parker said on the "WTF with Marc Maron" podcast in 2016. Eventually, Parker realized she had to prioritize herself instead of putting all her energy into fixing Downey's problems. "I learned how to take care of myself," she told People in 2018. "There was a huge amount of time spent making sure he was okay."

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Sarah Jessica Parker has no regrets about the relationship

Even though Sarah Jessica Parker feels her relationship with Robert Downey Jr. put her in the position of a mother when she was in her early 20s, she embraces it as a necessary part of her history. "I will say, I don't regret any of it," Parker said in the 2018 People interview. "I don't resent the time spent." Downey feels similarly, though he seems to regret putting her in that position. "I was so selfish ... Sarah Jessica would pull me out of a hangover, and we'd go pick out furniture together. She is a force of nature!" he told Parade.

But breakups are always hard, and Downey and Parker went their separate ways after closing that chapter of their lives. They didn't reconnect until 2015, when the fellow actors met in New York City for some tapas, which offered an opportunity for them to get closure. "I said everything I want to say," he said on "The Howard Stern Show" (via ET). Downey was surprised to recognize the Parker he knew even after all these years. "There's this familiarity that overtakes it ... and there's enough goodwill left over. You didn't burn that bridge," he told the Stern.

Parker actually felt the same way. "It was really nice," she said also on "The Howard Stern Show" in 2016 (via Us Weekly). "It was surprisingly not weird ... we were 18 when we met and fundamentally we are sort of the same."