Things you don't know about Robert Downey Jr.'s marriage

Movie star Robert Downey Jr. and his Hollywood producer wife, Susan Downey (née Levin), are one of Hollywood's longest-lasting power couples. With a career spanning nearly five decades, the Iron Man actor has cemented his place in pop culture history with his iconic turns as Charlie Chaplin in 1992's Chaplin, Tony Stark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Sherlock Holmes in Guy Ritchie's movie trilogy. Meanwhile, the missus has boasted an equally impressive career of her own behind the scenes, as the former executive vice president of production at Silver Pictures and co-founder of Team Downey.

Since first meeting on the set of Gothika in 2003, the Avengers: Endgame star and film exec have continued to dominate the entertainment industry and seem to share a perfect relationship to boot. But how much do you really know about this sweet celeb pairing? Keep on reading to learn more interesting facts about Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey's marriage.

A third shot at love

When Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey first met in the early 2000s, the actor was given his third shot at love. At the time, he was in the midst of divorcing his first wife, actress-singer Deborah Falconer, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The former couple, who tied the knot after just 42 days together in 1992, officially separated in 2001 over the actor's drug use and subsequent time in prison. They finalized their divorce in 2004.

Prior to this, the Sherlock star was romantically linked with Sex and the City's Sarah Jessica Parker between 1984 and 1991. However, as Downey revealed on The Howard Stern Show in 2016, these two also called it quits due to his longtime battle with drug addiction (via Entertainment Tonight). "We were at a very conservative relationship concerning the fact that she was normal and I was out of my mind," he admitted to the shock jock. "I did the best I could." For her part, Parker later told People magazine, "There was a huge amount of time spent making sure he was okay. At a certain point, I had the courage to say, 'I'm going to walk away and I'm just going to pray that you don't die.'"

Moving at a different pace

While Robert Downey Jr. was immediately smitten with one Susan Levin, the Gothika producer moved at a slightly different pace. "I thought he was a brilliant actor, but it didn't go beyond that," she told Harper's Bazaar in 2009, noting that with eight years between them, "I saw him more like a professor or someone's older brother." She also thought her future husband was "strange" and admitted she didn't see a future in getting romantically involved with an actor. However, Susan began to have second thoughts throughout the shoot. After Robert asked her out for a third time, she said yes, and it wasn't long before these lovebirds were on the same page. 

"She's the real deal, and I just feel like she's my best friend," Robert gushed on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2004. "And it just blows my mind how capable she is and functioning in life." Meanwhile, Susan told Harper's Bazaar, "He's this incredible amalgam of contradictory traits that is never boring. He's completely eccentric but grounded. He's someone who has lived so much life yet has almost a Peter Pan kind of never-grow-up quality."

Opposites attract

At the time of their on-set meet-cute, Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey couldn't have had less in common. The then-troubled actor grew up at the center of the 1970s avant-garde scene with a filmmaker father and writer-actress mother. After dropping out of high school to become the actor who achieved critical acclaim while infamously struggling with drug addiction and doing time in prison. For her part, the budding producer lived a much more structured life. Raised in the suburbs of Chicago, she was her high school's valedictorian, never partied, and studied film production at the University of Southern California (via Harper's Bazaar).

However, as the old saying goes, opposites attract — and, in the case of the Downeys, balance each other out. "[Robert] always says that we became this third thing when we got together — something that neither of us could have become by ourselves," Susan told Harper's Bazaar. "And I think that's true."

A sober ultimatum

During their Gothika shoot, Susan Downey admittedly didn't understand the extent of Robert Downey Jr.'s notorious struggle with drug addiction. While the actor was clean and sober at the time, he unfortunately relapsed and revealed what he calls his "Darth Vader" side. "I did meet Darth Vader, for like a minute, right after the movie wrapped," the producer told Harper's Bazaar. "And I said immediately, 'This isn't gonna work.' I made it clear that to stay with me, nothing could happen."

This sober ultimatum was quickly received. In July 2003, Robert famously stopped to grab a bite at a Burger King on the Pacific Coast Highway, before throwing his drugs into the ocean, as reported by The New York Times. "I think he saw what we had," Susan told Harper's Bazaar. "There was something magical there, something we couldn't put our finger on." Meanwhile, the Avengers star, who's often credited his wife for helping him to finally kick the habit, noted, "I guess the only way to explain it is that I've become more like her. I'm still trying to figure out what happened."

They found what they weren't looking for

When Robert and Susan Downey went into production on Gothika, neither was necessarily expecting to find love and a lifelong partner. "When I used to hear, like, 'It's my parents' 175th wedding anniversary,' I used to think, 'No. I can't. I just can't,'" the Marvel action hero told Harper's Bazaar. "I used to have a bit of disdain for partnership, and I thought that I had carved my path in the other direction." However, as Robert noted, "Whatever I was hungry for when I met Susan, I couldn't have known how much more satisfying what I got would be."

While the actor was pretty much burnt out on the idea of marriage amid his divorce from Falconer, his future wife was so focused on her blossoming career as a film producer that relationships weren't even on her radar. "I was never a girl who thought about getting married," Susan told the magazine. "Being in a relationship wasn't my priority."

A whirlwind romance

After just six months of dating, Robert Downey Jr. proposed to Susan Downey in November 2003, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. Presenting his now-wife with a gorgeous African sapphire-and-diamond engagement ring on her 30th birthday, the actor nervously mumbled, "I was wondering if maybe you'd wanna, like, be my wife one day?" (via The Oprah Winfrey Show) — and, of course, she "immediately" said yes! 

"More than anything, I never doubted it," the bride-to-be later told Harper's Bazaar. "There was something in my gut that knew really quickly. I knew three months in that this was it." Still, the ever-logical producer insisted on a long engagement, adding, "I think there's something about running toward what scares you." Noting her famous husband's past issues, Susan said, "I don't have a history of making bad choices … Also, the guy I met was not that person. He was clean and sober — completely professional when he was working, and then, in the off hours, he was just a fun guy." According to People magazine, the happy couple married in a star-studded ceremony held on Long Island, N.Y. in August 2005 … and the rest, as they say, is history.

Their blended family

While some blended families might struggle to get along, the Downeys seem to be a happy, extended clan. "With stepkids, it's hard at first," said Susan Downey, who is stepmom to Robert Downey Jr.'s son, Indio, from his previous marriage to Falconer (via Harper's Bazaar). "But, like anything, my approach was to just be honest about it and not try and force anything — not act like we were a big family right away." She added, "What's come from that is a really great relationship with Indio, because I didn't try to make it into something it wasn't…until one day, it was."

The married pair are also parents to two children on their own, son Exton Elias (born in 2012) and daughter Avri Roel (born in 2014). While opening up about fatherhood to Extra in 2014, Robert said, "It's always great to be a dad, no matter … where you're at or what else is going on. But it's nice to really be able to show up. Because life now is … I'm either working or I'm with [my kids]."

Team Downey

Early on in their relationship, Robert and Susan Downey often found their time together stymied by various projects. After a two-week rule set up by the married pair did little to keep them from missing each other, they decided to officially mix marriage with business, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In 2010, the Downeys launched their own production company, aptly named Team Downey. "I think our working and our personal relationship, it's all interconnected, which is why we got into business together," Susan told the publication in 2014. "Because what we do takes so much of our time and energy." Meanwhile, Robert said, "It also takes you out of your element together, which is, I think, also just good for any relationship."

At the time of this writing, Team Downey has announced more than 20 upcoming projects. After premiering with The Judge in 2014, their production company is looking to release Sherlock Holmes 3 and The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle in 2020.

Moving house

When going out of town for long shoots, Robert Downey Jr. understandably isn't big on the idea of leaving his loved ones behind in Malibu, Calif., so while filming 2016's Captain America: Civil War alongside Chris Evans in Atlanta, Ga., the movie star shipped the contents of the married pair's West Coast home to a rented house in The Athens of the South. "I didn't do a thing, the moving company did," he later joked on Jimmy Kimmel Live, before explaining, "Lest I be thought of as some self-involved, snarky, 'he's got it all' thing: You know, you're away from home for a long time. And so, we thought … we bring the cats and the kids and … As a matter of fact, let's bring the house."

According to a source cited by Us Weekly, temporarily moving house — literally — has reportedly become a running trend for the Downeys. "Whenever he rents a place, he has all the same furniture sent so there's consistency from rental to rental," the insider claimed. "He does it for a sense of comfort."

Their 'free pass' policy

If there were an award for Most Chill Spouse in Hollywood, Susan Downey would probably win it, hands down. According to the Downeys, the movie producer doesn't mind seeing the leading man in her life share a kiss with actresses on the big screen. "Oddly, there's nothing strange about it," she told Harper's Bazaar, particularly noting that it's a complete nonissue when it comes to pal Gwyneth Paltrow, who's long played Pepper Potts to Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. "Gwyneth is so funny because they have great on-screen chemistry, but afterward, she'd be like, 'Ugh, it's like kissing my brother.'"

Robert even went so far as to call Paltrow his "free pass" during an appearance on The Howard Stern Show in 2016, quipping, "I gotta get her back in [Marvel] movies so I can make out with her on screen again!" (via E! News). When asked whether Susan ever gets jealous, Robert told host Howard Stern, "She could care less!" However, after quickly adding that by "free pass" he merely meant "if we're rolling on a take," the Marvel star clarified, "I am very happily married."

The secret to their success

While the Downeys seem to have tapped into what it takes to maintain a happy, successful relationship, their secret might not be exactly what you're expecting. "This is one of the keys to our relationship," Robert Downey Jr. told People magazine in 2014. "I am so clean you could eat off of me. I think women appreciate that." Good personal hygiene habits aside, there must be more that goes into making this long-lasting marriage work, especially when it comes to balancing their romantic life with work, right? 

According to Susan, getting some "me" time in is "key in any relationship." As she explained to the publication, "Whether you're working together all of the time or not, you always have to give each other space and kind of read it." While embracing his producer wife on the red carpet premiere of their movie The Judge, Robert added, "There is always that thing of love and respect. It is work, but it's just so nice."

Relationship goals

Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey still appear to be as love-struck and perfectly matched as when they first got engaged in 2003. Whether they're collaborating on the next box office hit, spotted holding hands on date nights (via the Daily Mail), or sharing an inside look at their domestic life with Architectural Digest, these lovebirds are known to exhibit total relationship goals.

"A perfect 10," Robert wrote on Instagram in 2015, captioning a cute snapshot of the happy couple to mark their their wedding anniversary. "Happy Anniversary, Mrs. Downey." Fast forward three years, the actor posted a silly pic of the married pair striking a similar Iron Man pose on Twitter, writing, "Pro tip: Marry a marvel fan."

For her part, Susan previously told Harper's Bazaar, "For whatever reason, when we came together, there was a sense of hope and excitement and possibility. If there was no Hollywood, no next movie, no deal at Warner Brothers, no place in Malibu or Venice, I would still be really happy." We can't even handle how sweet these two are — can you?